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Is It By Faith or Baptism That Christians Are Saved?

It seems to be a debate that just keeps circling around in Christian Debate. Is it “Faith” or is it “Baptism” that Christians are saved? Let’s define the two words; “Faith” is a Biblical word that refers to intellectual belief, or to a commitment of relational trust.“Baptism” is a Christian ordinance or sacrament using total immersion of the body in water. It is basically a ceremony or covenantal sign.

Biblically we see that regeneration is by faith;

Romans 5: 1-2 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

After regeneration we get baptized as an outward sign of the cleansing of a person’s sin. The blood of Christ washing the soul!

Acts 22: 16, 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Baptism is NOT a requirement for salvation. It is the faith in Christ. It is a sign of a united church, and is a sign of the Covenant of Grace given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6: 4, 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

We must be careful to not add baptism as a requirement for salvation as it is a “works”. Baptism is a circumcision of the flesh as a sign of the circumcision of the heart!

Col 2: 11-12 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

God Bless

Brian Mason

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About beaconapologetics

A Christian Apologist. A follower of Jesus. A defender of the Christian Faith

9 responses to “Is It By Faith or Baptism That Christians Are Saved?

  1. beaconapologetics ⋅

    Spiritual Baptism is also known as Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3: 11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” All Christians receive the Spirit upon conversion and in this sense, all Christians have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
    I heard a great analogy; Water Baptism is like a Wedding Ring, as in Marriage the ring is not the Marriage but a symbol of your love and commitment, just the total immersion is not your salvation but a sign of your love for the Lord!
    Thanks for your words Tracey! God Bless!

  2. One quick note.

    I know I am very late on the subject (a few months), just web surfing the net about God and stumbled upon your page.

    It seems pretty obvious the above arguement about baptism is not needed. You both seem to be saying the same thing, just different ways (for the most part).

    The article itself is referring to Baptism as the WATER VERSION of baptism, correct? This can be (and is) viewed as a sacrament, in the Catholic church i believe (? Dont quote me). But there is also a “spiritual” baptism (initiated by faith), of the Holy Ghost, which has nothing to do with water or man made deeds.

    Some would say that “spiritual” baptism IS BAPTISM BY FAITH (not water).
    Or in other words, the Grace of God that comes upon the true believer at the moment of true faith in the bible (Word of God) and Jesus as Lord. Water baptism is not needed for salvation, but faith (Spiritual baptism) is needed.

    Faith in Jesus Christ is the beginning of the “spiritual” baptism that is initiated in this belief that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior. Repentence should go hand in hand with this spiritual baptism, b/c it is saying “I AGREE WITH THE WORD” declaring I am a sinner and in need of Salvation (turning from sin). It is believing that you are a sinner, AND that Jesus is the means and the way to turn from sin to salvation.

    Having faith in Jesus as our savior is believing we have a NEED for salvation, a need to turn from sin to Him (repentance). And this salvation comes free of works (flesh) and/or “water” baptism–it comes through the belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and died for my sins. God Bless

  3. Just as a follow up to the previous comments etc. It makes me wonder how baptism would be necessary for salvation. I wonder if someone that accepts Christ on their deathbed who believes that Jesus is God in flesh, who died and rose from the dead, would go to eternal hell if they didn’t get baptized before he expired? Also would not all babies go to hell if they were not baptized?
    The Bible also says that we are saved by the gospel; 1 cor 15:1-4 Paul came tp preach the gospel, and not to baptize.
    In John 3:5 it is thought that Jesus when he said that” no one can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he is born of the water” Some may think that he is speaking of baptism, however Christian baptism had not been institutionalized at that time in history.
    The water spoken of there is sensible if you think of the water of the womb. the natural birth process.
    Scripture that refers to salvation is very clear that salvation is not attained by baptism. That is to say that baptism is good, but not necessary.
    Amen, now on to the next blog!
    God Bless!

  4. Sorry Eugene however I really don’t want to get into a spiritual argument over salvation. We have both provided our argument rationally via Bible scripture. I see that we will disagree to the end. I hope you find what you are looking for and I hope God continues to bless you. To drag out this debate is fruitless.

  5. Hey Brian,

    I just talked about the thief on the cross the other day with someone else when we were talking about the necessity of baptism. Trying to use the thief on the cross as an example of what a person today must do to become a Christian won’t work.

    First – the thief lived under a different covenant than we do (Hebrews 9:16,17). Second – the thief did not have to confess that Jesus was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9,10). Third – the thief was not saved by faith alone; he reviled Jesus at first but repented (Matthew 27:41-44; Luke 23:39-41). Lastly, Jesus gave the command for baptism for the remission of sins after the thief was dead (Mark 16:15,16).

    The thief found forgiveness like all others who Jesus met during His earthly ministry found forgiveness, and that was through Jesus’ power to speak sins forgiven while here on the Earth (Mark 2:10). Today we live under the New Covenant that has conditions we must meet. That’s why to simply say that all a person has to do is believe to be saved isn’t true.

    Two easy examples:

    “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 5:15-15; and also Matthew 18:35)

    “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Calling on the name of the Lord is not the same thing as believing. Look at the next verse – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” (Romans 10:14) What does part of calling upon the name of the Lord include under the New Covenant? Read Acts 22:16 for the answer.

    Both of these examples show that their more to being saved by faith than simply believing. A saving faith is a faith that obeys (Hebrews 5:9, Hebrews 11).

    Have a good night man.

  6. Eugene, Eph 2: 8-10 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    Is very clear also.
    Tell me…was the thief on the cross saved?

  7. Thanks for the reply, Brian.

    The word “sacrament” makes it the water/act alone that saves. That’s why Catholics and others baptize babies; because they think the act alone will do something. Baptism for the remission of sins is predicated upon a person’s willingness to believe (Mark 16:16); a person’s willingness to repent (Acts 2:38) and person’s willingness to confess Jesus (Acts 8:36-37) and the sin forgiving power of the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5; Acts 22:16).

    That’s why an “unbeliever” is not saved simply by undergoing the “sacrament” of baptism. Baptism for the proper canidate is a command of God and not a “sacrament” and one reason I replied to your post (Matthew 28:18-19).

    When is a person is dead in sins you bury them in the waters of baptism, through the death of Jesus (Romans 6:1-3), and THEN they are raised up to walk in newness of life (i.e. born again) through faith in the working of God (Romans 6:4-5; Colossians 2:11-13).

    No where in the scriptures can it be shown that submitting to God’s commands makes us earn our salvation and submitting to water baptism for the remission of sins does not violate being saved through grace or faith (1 Peter 3:21).

    The Spirit of God is active in water baptism – again, read Titus 3:5 again. Now, when is a person washed according to the scriptures? Ephesians 5:26, Acts 22:16 are too plain to ignore.

  8. Eugene thanks for the comments. I know that the “word” Sacrament in reference to baptism is not in the Bible, however Baptism is known as “a prescribed usage, practice, or ceremony” by definition and Baptism fits that description.
    Are you also saying that an unbeliever is saved if he is baptized? He must be “born again” through the Holy Spirit. He must be dead in his sins. Eph 2:1 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
    Thanks for the blessings, but Baptism is not a salvation issue. Eph 2: 8-10 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    I too wish you the best in your studies!
    God Bless!

  9. Hi Brian,

    Just wanted to say a couple of things.

    First, no where in the scriptures is baptism called a “sacrament” or a “sign.” The words are manmade and so is the tradition of applying them to baptism.

    Second, you said, “After regeneration we get baptized as an outward sign of the cleansing of a person’s sin.”

    Again, no where in the scriptures is this taught. It is during baptism that a person is regenerated (born again – John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:4) Read Titus 3:5 again. Now, when is a person washed according to the scriptures? Ephesians 5:26, Acts 22:16 are too plain to ignore.

    Third, you said, “Baptism is NOT a requirement for salvation. It is the faith in Christ.”

    The same Christ said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16) In what order were these things placed? Faith – baptism – then salvation.

    Lastly you said, “We must be careful to not add baptism as a requirement for salvation as it is a “works”.”

    So is repentance. So is confession. As a matter of fact so is faith. They are all something that we must do. But we don’t earn salvation by doing them. Water baptism is a not a work of man, which is probably what you were saying. Baptism, when properly submitted to, is a work of God. Look at Romans 6 again. Who rose us up to walk in newness of life from baptism? It is God. Look at Colossians 2:11-13. There it plainly says, “…you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God….” When is a person made alive (born again) according to 13? When a person is raised from the waters of baptism. Look at verse 12 again – “buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised….”

    Baptism in no way earns God’s grace. It in no way violates being saved by faith. It is in no way a work of man when one submits to God’s command.

    “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ” (Galatians 3:26-28)

    The church is united in one body when a person is placed into the body of Christ by the Spirit of God in the waters of baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13).

    Remember, no where does the scriptures call baptism anything than what it is – a command of God and the time when finds forgiveness through the blood of Jesus (Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:38, 22:16; Revelation 1:5).

    God bless in your studies.

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