Baptism is a wonderful thing. We publicly proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ when we are baptized. As we are lowered into the water, we testify of our faith in His death as full payment for our sin. As we go under the water, we testify of our belief that He died a full, physical, bodily death and was placed into a sealed tomb. And as we are raised back up out of the water, we are testifying of our trust in His bodily resurrection as a guarantee that just as He raised His own body from the grave, He has the power to raise OUR bodies from the grave on that day of final resurrection!
But baptism is not a means to salvation. It is a response to being saved. Paul described it in Romans 6:4 this way, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Baptism is a beginning act in your new life in Christ. But that new life does not come from getting wet in a baptismal, river, lake, etc. The new life comes by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and His victory over sin and death at the empty tomb! Confusing these facts can be DETRIMENAL?
Getting the Cart Before the Horse What happens if you hook a horse up at the rear of a cart and the try to get the horse to move the cart forward? Nothing happens. The horses will look at you like you are dumb!
Well, so it is with baptism and salvation. Baptism is a wonderful testimony that salvation has taken place in the life of the new believer. But if you put baptism in place of simple faith, then you have the cart before the horse, so to speak, and you aren’t going anywhere with God.
Over and over again, baptism is presented as the response of those who were saved by believing the Gospel. Read the following texts and you will see this clearly:
These are just a few examples that could be given which demonstrate that you must believe and be born again in order to be saved, and that baptism is the correct response in obedience to Jesus, once you ARE saved.
Jesus made it clear that believing the Gospel is what saves and that baptism is a necessary confirmation. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned..” (Mark 16:15-16 kjv) It is clear that Jesus taught that baptism was necessary as confirmation of salvation, but that believing is what produces the new birth and brings about salvation in our lives.
Trust In Christ, Not In Religious Ceremony
So, the question is, “Did you believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and THEN follow the Lord’s commandment to be baptized as a public declaration of your faith? Or did you mistakenly enter into water baptism thinking that the very act of being baptized would save you?”
Of you got the cart before the horse, simply unhook the old horse and get things lined up properly. “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house..” (Acts 16:31 kjv)