Baptism in water has long been a topic of debate among Christians, with some believing it to be necessary for salvation while others believe it is simply an outward symbol of an inward faith. However, it is important to note that baptism in water is not required for salvation. The Bible never says that if one is not baptized then he is not saved. Here are several reasons why:
Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone
The Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift of God, received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is not something that can be earned or attained by any human effort, including baptism in water. Therefore, baptism in water is not a requirement for salvation. The Bible is very clear that we are saved by faith alone and nothing els. Abraham was saved by faith, and we are saved by faith (Romans 4:1-25; Galatians 3:6-22)
Baptism in water is a symbol of salvation, not a requirement for it.
The act of baptism in water is a symbolic representation of the inward change that takes place when a person places their faith in Jesus Christ. It is an outward expression of an inward faith, declaring publicly that one has been united with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection (Gal 3:27, Col 2:12). While baptism in water is an important step of obedience for the believer, it does not contribute to one’s salvation.
The thief on the cross was not baptized in water, yet was saved.
In Luke 23:39-43, we read the account of the thief on the cross who believed in Jesus and was promised by Him to be with Him in paradise that day. The thief had no opportunity to be baptized in water, yet he was saved by his faith in Jesus Christ. This account clearly demonstrates that baptism in water is not a requirement for salvation.
The Bible records instances of people receiving the Holy Spirit before being baptized in water.
In the book of Acts, we read several accounts of people receiving the Holy Spirit before being baptized in water (Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7). These instances demonstrate that baptism in water is not a prerequisite for receiving the Holy Spirit, and by extension, for salvation.
All the blessings and benefits of salvation come before water baptism
Throughout the Bible we see that at the point of faith a believer possesses all the promises and blessings of salvation (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 20:31; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31). When one believes, he has eternal life, does not come under judgment, and has passed from death into life (John 5:24)—all before he or she is baptized.
In conclusion, while baptism in water is an important step of obedience for the believer, it is not a requirement for salvation. Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and baptism in water is simply an outward symbol of the inward faith that has already taken place.