Let us understand first, that the Greek word for baptize simply means to immerse, so that would exclude such things as sprinkling or pouring. Secondly, to be baptized is not an option, but is a commandment.

Acts 10:48

“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”

There is no question that baptism is commanded. But what is its purpose? Is it necessary for salvation? Peter explained its purpose to the Jews on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:38

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.”

Peter explained that repentance and baptism are both “for the remission of sins”. Baptism is the point where a man’s sins are forgiven. Paul was told the same thing about why he needed to be baptized.

Acts 22:16

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

The figure “wash” conveys the idea of sin that will be forgiven. Notice how this is explained by Peter.

1 Peter 3:20-21 (KJV)

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

Peter compared those who were saved in the ark to the salvation in Christ. He said of Noah’s time, “eight souls were saved by water.” He next says, “the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” He explains that he is using a “figure” when describing those eight souls as being saved “by water”. The water represented how God separated them from the sinful world outside the ark. Baptism corresponds to the figure of Noah’s time. Baptism is not just a bath (the putting away of the filth of the flesh), but it “also” saves us. Baptism saves because it is a part of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus himself clearly stated the importance of baptism during his ministry.

Mark 16:16

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Ask yourself this question: What does Jesus say a man must do in order to be saved? He must believe and be baptized. But what if a person chooses not to be baptized? Listen again to Jesus.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

The point is clear. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, “he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

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