DOES BAPTISM SAVE?
Q. Does baptism save? A. Yes. That was easy huh? The hard part is to the question is how. There is a term out there called ďbaptismal regenerationĒ.† What it means is that you are not saved until or unless you have been baptized. To some it involves an act of obedience of the one who is to be baptized, and that obedience along with the baptism is the process that saves. You may hear of a five step process involving baptism that is practiced by some as the their road to salvation. The process involves hearing the word, believing the word, repenting, confessing your belief, and then being baptized. Others donít go for a process but just hold on to the baptismal act as the saving process. All who hold on to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration (though they may not call it by that name if they call it any name at all) believe that if you are not baptized, you are not saved. Others look at these doctrines and perceive errors and fall into their own errors by calling baptism purely symbolic and denying any role of baptism in the saving process.† So letís get back to our question. Does baptism save? I would say that there are too many Scriptures in which baptism is an integral part of salvation to deny this assertion.
Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. I Corinthians 12:13
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27
I think what we need is a perspective on salvation.† If you look at all the different verses in Scripture that testify about salvation, you will find that there are many different mediums and instruments that are used in bringing about salvation. One of which is baptism.† Other tools for salvation are belief, faith, hope, endurance, childbirth, being handed over to Satan, losing your life, calling on the name of the Lord, confessing with your mouth, foolishness of preaching, fire, the Gospel, etc. etc. but the pivotal means of salvation is in Godís election and Christís sacrifice on cross.† Consider this analogy.
A man has a heart attack while walking down the street. You could say he is in a deprived state and needs to be saved.† Letís say a kindly person pulls him to the side and administers CPR. Another person calls 911.† The ambulance arrives and the paramedics prep him for transportation and rush him to the hospital where the surgeon operates on his heart. The man is sent to the recovery room with a good prognosis for survival.† He could look back on the incident and rightly say that any one of the people mentioned saved him. But the truth is that without the surgeon no 911 call or ambulance ride can save him, only help him be saved.† Likewise our salvation rests in God who uses many instruments in saving us, but without God, there can be no salvation. I can say that baptism saved me because when I was baptized, those in the Church who received me promised to teach me the Gospel. It also showed Godís grace in my life by placing me in communion with those who believed and practiced the Gospel. It also assuredly connected me with the action of the Holy Spirit in my life that brought me knowledge and faith in God.
How about those folks who say that if you are not baptized you are not saved? I would say in a general sense they are right, but in a specific sense their theology is nearsighted and leaves much to be desired.† If a man were truly saved, it would be hard for me to imagine such a person would refuse baptism if he hasnít already been baptized.† Without baptism, we do not have biblical Christianity. The problem with baptism and salvation is that we humans like to put things on a time line and we like to determine at exactly what time we are saved.† So some will say they were saved when they believed, others say when they were baptized, others will say when they were born again, or asked Jesus into their heart, or received the Holy Spirit. Salvation rests in and is determined by God who exists in the eternal and not the temporal, so to try to pinpoint a specific time of salvation is somewhat futile.† I think baptism is shrouded in mystery and few, if any, people have ever understood the full extent of it.† It concerns me, though, when I see it being somewhat cast aside and many so called evangelist never even mention it at all when they are preaching salvation.† The sinnerís prayer* has become a sacrament and has unofficially replaced baptism. Read your Scripture. You will never see anyone ever led in a sinnerís prayer, but you will see baptism after baptism.† So letís not make baptism what it is not nor should we forget about it or discount it but keep it in a proper perspective.
*Here are some typical sinnerís prayers.
"Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died to forgive me of my sins. I now accept
Your offer of eternal life. Thank You for forgiving me of all my sin. Thank you for my new life.
From this day forward, I will choose to follow You."
"Lord Jesus, I need you, I have sinned against you.† Forgive me of my sins.† I receive you now as my Saviour and Lord.†† Make me the kind of person you want me to be.† Thank you for giving me the gift of eternal life.† Amen."
Lord, Jesus Christ, I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. But I believe You died and rose from the grave to purchase a place in heaven for me. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control of my life; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now place my trust in you for my salvation. I accept the free gift of eternal life.