Question: Is baptism for salvation necessary or is it just a public, outward proclamation of one’s inner repentance and faith?

Is baptism for salvation necessary or is it just a public, outward proclamation of one’s inner repentance and  faith? Mark 16:16 mentions the need both to believe and to be baptized for salvation; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.

Many believe that baptism is not necessary for salvation, but merely a public, outward proclamation of one’s inner repentance and their faith because the latter part of the verse seems to indicate that the only basis for condemnation is unbelief. So is baptism for salvation necessary?

If it is assumed that the baptism mentioned here, has no saving effect, then why did Jesus say, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved”? Wouldn’t this be redundant? This very statement by the Lord is clear proof that a person must receive the instructed biblical baptism to be saved.

Baptism is not just an expression of salvation

If baptism is an expression of salvation, why didn’t the Lord say, “He who believes will be saved, and his baptism expresses that salvation”?

The logic should instead be applied to the second phrase, “He that believeth not shall be condemned.” It is assumed that if a person does not believe in Christ, he will not be baptized. A person who does not believe obviously would not want to be baptized. So to say, “He who believeth not and is not baptized shall be condemned” would be redundant.

Baptism is far more than just an expression of salvation. Rather, according to the Bible, believers are saved through baptism (1 Pet 3:20-21; Tit 3:5).

Baptism for salvation is necessary

The Bible makes it clear that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16, 2:38). If believers ‘ sins are forgiven before baptism, then the command to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins would be misleading. If baptism is only an expression, why then does the Bible repeatedly emphasize its effect?

Baptism is not simply a public expression of salvation. We receive God’s saving effect through baptism (1Pet 3:20-21; Col 2:11-12; Rom 6:3-4; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Gal 3:26-27).

Having read the importance of baptism for salvation, let us believe and be baptized in the name of Jesus to truly receive His salvation.

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baptism for salvation

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