Many within the religious world will say that baptism is not necessary for our salvation. Most will say that you are saved when you say the sinner’s prayer or ask Jesus into your heart, then to show that you are now saved, you get baptized at some later date. Is that consistent with what the Bible says? We recently considered this important subject at our church. I would like to share with you some things that happens at our baptism to show how important it really is.
The Forgiveness of Sins
The first sermon ever preached is recorded in Acts chapter two. Peter was the one doing the speaking and he was telling the audience that they were the Ones who had crucified Jesus. It seems as if they stopped him during his sermon to ask “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” What did Peter instruct them to do? How were they to have their sins forgiven? Verse 38 says “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Our sins are forgiven at baptism. That sounds very important to me!
Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
Also within this verse we see that we receive the Holy Spirit at our baptism. I don’t know of anywhere else, that this gift is promised to us. Jesus told His followers in John 14 that He was going to pray to His Father and that God would give them another Helper- the Holy Spirit. He was going to be leaving them soon and He didn’t want them to be left alone. We, as Christians, have the Holy Spirit living within us! Where did that take place? At baptism.
Our sins are washed away
This is one is very similar to our first point. In Acts 22:16 Saul (later to be called Paul) was told “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Again, I know of no where else in the Bible that tells us that our sins are washed away.
Our conscience becomes clear
Another great thing that happens directly at baptism is that our conscience becomes clear. I Peter 3:21 “There is also an anti type which now saves us -baptism (Not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” I can remember the person that I used to be, before I was a Christian, all the sins that I committed against God, but they no longer affect my conscience. Why? Because I know at my baptism my sins were washed away. God forgave them and He never holds those things against me any longer. Also in this verse it specifically states that baptism saves us! How does the religious world get this messed up?
God adds us to the church
The last one that we will consider is that at our baptism God adds us to the church. Acts 2: 47 “….. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” How was one saved? It goes back to verse 38. Those who were baptized had their sins forgiven.
Is baptism really essential for salvation? The Bible says YES! Without it, you are still in your sins, you haven’t received the gift of the Holy Spirit, your conscience has not been cleared, and God has not added you to the church. But I have great news, you can change all of that! God has done His part when it comes to our salvation, but we must be willing to do our part.
The writer is an evangelist with the North Broadway Church of Christ in Sidney.