How can baptism save?


I’m confused. You said on your website that baptism is required for a person to be saved. How can this be so?


Because the Bible states: "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you -- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21).

When discussing salvation, you need to address the question: "From what are you being saved?" Many people think of salvation as a right to enter heaven, but it is much more than this. It is a rescue from danger -- the danger of sin. If you understand this, then notice what Ananias told Saul, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). There are several implications in this statement.

  1. Up to this point, Saul was still in his sins.
  2. By being baptized, those sins would be removed.
  3. Saul then would be rescued from his sins (i.e. saved).

Saul later wrote about this after he changed his name to Paul. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7). Paul said that all of us were slaves of sin, but through the burial of baptism, we contact the death of Christ and thus die to sin. Being freed from sin is what is meant by being saved.

Notice also that Paul said, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3). Every Christian is baptized. In another place, Paul said, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:26). Baptism was universally practiced by the first-century church. That constitutes a requirement or a commandment. And that also explains Peter's command, ""Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:47-48).

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