Do You Need to Be Baptized to Be Saved?

There are some who teach that baptism is  essential for salvation and if you are  not baptized or specifically if you are  not baptized in the name of Jesus, then  you are not saved. And they would point  to verses like Acts 2:38  Peter preaching to the Jewish crowd says  “Repent and be baptized every one of you  in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the  forgiveness of your sins and you will  receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Is  baptism essential for salvation? There  are scenarios you can genuinely ask  about. Someone receiving the Lord,  maybe they hear the gospel in a plane,  they truly repent of their sins, they cry  out for mercy, that plane crashes, they  never have an opportunity to be baptized. Are they saved?

Some would point to the  thief on the cross and say he obviously  wasn’t baptized. Baptism was being  practiced before the cross as well as  after the cross. Was he not saved? Jesus  said “You’ll be with me today in paradise.” What about Acts 10? As  Peter is preaching to Cornelius and his  Gentile family and friends, they believed and the  Holy Spirit fills them and they began to  speak in new tongues. And then Peter said  “Can any forbid them from being  baptized since God already gave him the  Holy Spirit? If God already gave him the  Holy Spirit, they  are already saved. The Holy Spirit does  not indwell and fill an unsaved vessel. That was God saying “I put my stamp of  approval on you. Now have your outward  public confession.”

Baptism is required by  God. Baptism is very important. Baptism speaks  of a public declaration of faith. Baptism  speaks of a public dying to sin and  rising a new life in Jesus. It symbolizes  the washing away of our sins. Acts 22:16  speaks about that with Paul saying “Arise to  be baptized, washing away your sins.” 1 Peter 3:21 speaks about that as well “Baptism  serves as the outer sign of the cleansing of conscience. “ But no, baptism is not  required for salvation (meaning if  someone is born again and it’s not yet  been baptized, they were therefore  hellbound)  and speaking of “in the name of Jesus”, it really means being baptized into Jesus  the Messiah or being baptized while  calling on the name of Jesus because we  know elsewhere Jesus speaks of baptism  in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. We know from early church documents that that was the formula that they used. I believe  we have fallen away from recognizing the  importance of baptism and we shouldn’t  be waiting six, eight months, a  year and still talking about it. No, the  moment someone’s brought to the Lord and  generally born again, we need to talk  about the what comes next and what comes  next is water baptism.