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Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
Source of this article is https://carm.org/is-baptism-necessary-salvation by Matt Slick
One of the most nagging questions in Christianity is whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. The answer is a simple, "No, water baptism is not necessary for salvation."
But you might ask, "If the answer is no, then why are there verses that say things like ' . . . baptism that now saves you . . . ' (1 Pet. 3:21) and ' . . . Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . . ' (Acts 2:38)?" These are good questions, and they deserve a good answer so we will look at these verses later. But for now, the reason baptism is not necessary for salvation is that we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8) and not by faith and a ceremony (Rom. 4:1-11). You see, a religious ceremony is a set of activities or forms peformed by someone. In the Bible circumcision was a ceremony where one person performed a religious rite on another person. Likewise, baptism is also a ceremony where one person performs a religious rite on another person; but, we are saved by faith alone, and anything else we do, including ceremonies, will not help.
If we are saved by faith, then we are saved by faith when we believe and not when we get baptized, otherwise, we are not saved by faith. Furthermore, if baptism is necessary for salvation, then anyone who receives Christ on his deathbed in a hospital and who also believes Jesus is God in the flesh, who died and rose from the dead for his sins, etc., would go to hell if he doesn't get baptized before he died. This would mean that we were not justified by faith because if we were, then the person would be saved. Also, if baptism is necessary for salvation, then all babies who die go to hell since they weren't baptized. Remember, when someone says that baptism is necessary, there can be no exceptions--otherwise it isn't necessary.
Now, in order to more thoroughly look at this issue, I need to lay a foundation of proper theology; and then I'll address some of those verses that are commonly used to support the idea that baptism is necessary for salvation.