The next step on the road to salvation is to be baptized for the remission of sins. This is the most controversial step in the plan of salvation with many people saying that baptism is not necessary to salvation. It should not really be an issue. In every case of conversion in the book of Acts the new converts were immediately baptized upon their repentance and confession of faith.
Jesus Himself said in Mark 16:16. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Note, He did not say only He that believeth will be saved, but “He that believeth and is baptized.” Both are included before one is saved.
We are saved by faith, but not faith only because our faith must be an obedient faith in that we obey Jesus in all things. He commands us to be baptized for the remission of our sins and we must do so before we are saved. The scriptures could not be any more clear on this point.
I should include here what baptism is and what it is not. The word baptize came into use when the translators of the King James BIble transliterated the Greek word baptizo to make a new english word. The greek word should be translated immersion, which means to fully cover the body with water.
Baptism is not the sprinkling of water or pouring of water on the head, but involves fully immersing the body in water as in being “buried” (Romans 6:4). It represents a burial with Christ into His death and so pouring and sprinkling cannot be substituted instead if the baptism is to be according to God’s word.
It should also be noted that children (especially infants) cannot follow the other steps in the plan of salvation as they are not born into sin as some believe, but rather are innocent and cannot be convicted of sin until they are old enough to understand it and see the need to be forgiven of them. To be baptized for any reason, but the forgiveness of sin is to be baptized contrary to the will of God as outlined in the scriptures and would thus not save the soul involved.
1 Peter 3:21 says “baptism does now also save us” and James 2:24 says “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” There is some dispute whether baptism is a work or not because the bible teaches that it is through no work of our own that we are saved, but by the grace of God.
The point is, we must do something, whether it is called a work or not, to be saved. When we are baptized we come in contact with the blood of Christ and are buried with Him so that we may rise to newness of life (Romans 6:3-6). Acts 10:43 says “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
So we see we must believe in Him (which is step 2 in the plan of salvation) or have faith before we receive the remission of our sins, but too many stop there before considering that it is through baptism that we have remission of sins (Acts 2:38). I don’t think anyone would argue that we can be saved without having our sins remitted, because we must be forgiven of our sins to be acceptable to God (Isaiah 59:2).
To leave out baptism is to leave out an important step that the scriptures teach us we must do to be saved. We must all come into contact with the blood of Christ by being buried with Him in baptism and thus have our sins remitted and be once again clean, Holy and acceptable to God.
This is the primary reason Christ came to this world that we may be saved from our sins and reconciled to God. To leave out baptism is to negate the whole process. Remember, Jesus Himself said “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” To leave out what Jesus has commanded us to do is just wrong and will result in our being lost come the judgment day because we did not obey Him.
Baptism is just the beginning of our obedience to Christ. Once we are saved, we must continue in the faith and keep all His commandments, because it is possible to fall away and be lost again (Acts 8:13-24). Here we have the example of Simon who, once He was saved, sinned and coveted that which he could not have and so was told to repent.
So we see that when we do sin after our baptism that we must repent of that sin and turn back to God to remain in a saved state in which the grace of God can save us. We are not being saved again, but are rather remaining in that state of forgiveness that makes us right with God. Se also Hebrews 10:36-38, Revelation 2:10 and 2 Peter 2:20-22.
It is quite possible to lose our soul after once being saved, so we should ever be diligent to walk in the way of Christ and be faithful until the end of our lives so that we may be taken home to heaven to be with God and Jesus and the angels and those who are saved to live eternally. This is step 6 on the plan of salvation and is as important as the rest.
If we think we are saved and cannot be lost we will do whatever we want and expect to go to heaven, but the truth is that we can be lost again by falling away or falling from grace, so we must continue in the faith and serve God throughout our lives, doing what He wants us to do, to be saved in the last day.We will discuss this more in future post.
May God bless and keep you until next time.