Sunday, March 09, 2014
Do I need to be baptized to go to heaven?
Q: Do I need to be baptized to go to heaven?
A: No! There are a lot of people who are trusting baptism to get them to Heaven. These people teach what is known as baptismal regeneration, that is, one is saved or will go to heaven by being baptized.
Biblical truth is baptism is a public expression of an inward change. Baptism is the first act of obedience in service to the Lord. God commanded two things, love and Baptism. Baptism shows people that you confessed that Jesus is your Lord and personal Savior. You have surrendered your life to Him. Baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a testimony of you identifying with Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. In Matthew 3:13-15 it says, "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him saying, 'I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?' But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him." It is clear that Jesus was baptized in obedience to God’s plan.
Baptism is not essential for salvation. In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
So if we believe salvation is also through water baptism then grace is no longer grace. This verse makes it clear a man is saved by grace through faith without any works, including baptism. If a man trusts Jesus Christ 90% and his baptism 10%, then the 10% destroys the 90% because it indicates that the person is not fully trusting Jesus Christ.
There were other people in the Bible who submitted to baptism after salvation, the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), the apostle Paul (Acts 9:18), the Philippian jailer and his house (Acts 16:25-33).
One must remember that the Bible never contradicts itself. Over and over the Scriptures make it plain that one is saved by grace through faith alone. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Also, in Romans 10:9 it says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In both verses it says nothing about baptism. We could fill this page with passages that state we are saved simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
Some people use Acts 2:38 to justify you need to be baptized to forgive your sins or to be saved. Acts 2:38 says,Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In the last part of Acts 2:38 it can not be water or the act of Baptism that forgives our sins.
Baptism is an outward expression of an inner transformation. It symbolizes the washing away of sin. First they believed, and then they were baptized.
Let’s look at it this way; no one can enter the kingdom of God or heaven with sin. So if one repents and asks Jesus into their lives at that time our sins our forgiven. So if one believes they have to be baptized to have their sins forgiven after they have asked Jesus into their lives I believe there is a problem with that. What if you ask Jesus into your life and cannot get baptized for another month and you die before you get baptized. This means you cannot enter the kingdom of God or heaven because you still have sin that has not been forgiven from the blood of Jesus Christ.
We have to ask ourselves, is it the water or the act of Baptism that forgives our sins or is it the blood of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for us? Check these next verses out. In Colossians 1:14 it says, “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins”. And in Colossians 1:20 says, “having made peace through the blood of His cross. So here it clearly says it is the blood of Jesus who forgives our sin’s not the water or the act of Baptism. As you can see here it is the blood of Jesus.
Again, if we are saved by the water or the act of being water baptized (as certain Scriptures seem to imply here), then we are saved by works and not by grace. The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentles before they were baptized. This means they were saved (by God’s grace) before they went near water. Paul said that Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach (1 Corinthians 1:17). That’s because it is the gospel that saves us, not our works in response to it. As this verse shows, baptism is an act of obedience aftersalvation.
In conclusion: If justification (salvation) is by baptism, why didn’t Jesus baptize anyone? If we look at John 4:2 it says, "although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but His disciples." Why did Jesus tell the repentant thief on the cross, who was never baptized, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43)? What happens when there is no water available for baptism? Suppose a lost soul brings Jesus into his life on his deathbed; could he be baptized with something other than water, such as milk, wine, or saliva? Would the unbaptized soul not go to heaven for the absence of water? Or what about the wounded soldier in a foxhole or a sailor facing certain death on a sinking ship? If he cries out with his dying breath, "Lord, have mercy on me; forgive my sins," but cannot be baptized, is he doomed to go to Hell? Why is baptism left out of so many verses explaining salvation? For example, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everone who believes" (Romans 1:16), does not mention baptism.
Remember that one is saved and will go to heaven, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
If you would like to make a decision for Christ right now, go to "How can I have a relationship with God?" page.
We at Reach Ministry would love to hear from you if this information has helped you out. Contact us