Yes, sinners are saved by water baptism. “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (I Peter 3:21).
Baptism washes away sins in the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5). “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’” (Acts 22:16). If baptism has nothing to do with salvation as so many contend, why is this verse in the Bible? Maybe they just skip over this verse when they come to it!
Romans 6:1-18 gives a beautiful picture of the relationship between salvation and water baptism. When the question of “dying to sin” and living according to the former way of life was addressed in verse 2, water baptism was the act referred to as the turning point from sin to salvation. Notice the phrases connected with baptism and salvation “ baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. . . baptism into death . . . walk in newness of life. . . united with him in a death like his . . . united with him in a resurrection like his. . . our old self was crucified with him . . the body of sin might be brought to nothing. . . so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. . . we have died with Christ . . . also live with him. . . dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (verses 3-11) Verse 17 and 18 pinpoint the moment one is forgiven of sins. “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” The “form of doctrine” they had obeyed was the doctrine of water baptism under discussion in verses 3-6.
Salvation is IN Christ (II Timothy 2:10). We are “new creatures” IN Christ (II Corinthians 5:17). There is no condemnation IN Christ (Romans 8:1). Therefore, one must be IN Christ to be saved. Water baptism is the action which puts one INTO Christ. Only two verses speak of HOW and WHEN one gets INTO Christ: How – Galatians 3:27 “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” and WHEN – Romans 6:3 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” How can anyone say it has nothing to do with salvation? How?
Baptism alone, though, will not save. But it is an essential part! It is an act of faith and obedience – a command of God (Acts 10:48). Why be a member of a church that does not believe in and practice baptism for the remissions of sins as Jesus taught? WHY?
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