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What Is Water Baptism According To The Bible

Have you ever wondered what Water Baptism is? What is it for and if you need it to be saved? Well friend, you have come to the right place, we have covered this topic pretty in-depth, as it is often taught incorrectly in the church today. So read on to find out what water baptism is according to the Bible.

What is water baptism

Water baptism comes after a person comes to Christ, confesses with their mouth and believes in their heart and makes Jesus Lord and Savior. Then, after they are saved, the newly saved person makes the decision following Biblical commandment to get immersed in water as a sign to themselves, friends, family and the world their old ways and their old life is buried with Christ. This only takes place because they have already been changed and reborn of the Spirit.

It is not the action of being water baptized that gets you saved. It is the change of nature. It is having your sin nature removed and then coming alive in Christ by the blood of the Lamb, not water baptism. You are saved by grace through faith in what Jesus did on the cross, not water baptism. To say anything else is an insult to the cross and takes away power (at least to a degree) of the blood of Christ.

I have never believed or was ever taught water baptism was necessary for salvation. I'm surprised by how many people believe this despite the small number of people who teach it. False doctrine is always designed to lead people astray from the truth.


How Many Baptisms Are There?

There are Three Baptisms for New Covenant Believers:

1.     The first baptism is being baptized into Christ or into his body at the time of repentance and new birth. This is called “one baptism” (Eph 4:5) because everyone who believes is baptized into Christ known as the body of Christ. This is the only baptism that saves and brings one into the body of Christ.

This has nothing to do with water baptism. When a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and repents from their sin, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into Christ Jesus (1 Cor 12:13). This is where salvation happens.

2.     The second baptism is the baptism in water. This comes after a person has asked for forgiveness, made Jesus Lord and therefore is already saved. Water baptism takes place because somebody has already received salvation and has been baptized into Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

In no way is water baptism necessary for salvation, but rather because of salvation. It is symbolic of what has already taken place in one's life by the cross and the blood thereof.

Any believer in Christ can water baptize another believer (Matt 28:19). One does not have to be a leader in a church or some sort of special baptizer.

Water baptism is an outward sign of the change that has already happened inwardly by the Spirit of God.

3.     Last, we have baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is where a born-again Christian receives miraculous ability by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). This can take place before water baptism or after water baptism but certainly not because of water baptism. Christ is the one who baptizes you in the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11, John 1:31-33).

When it comes to baptism you must know who is doing the baptizing, what baptism is taking place and why it is taking place. When you are born-again the Holy Spirit baptizes you into Christ Jesus which is the body of Christ. This is the new birth. After you are born-again a person is baptized in water.

This is performed by another person. It is Jesus Himself that baptizes you with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. All can happen close together but are all separate events. The first is for salvation, the second is symbolic of the first, and the third is for power (miraculous ability).

Is Water Baptism Needed For Salvation?

Simply put, no!

Redeemed by the Blood

You are saved by the blood of the Lamb, not water baptism. To teach anything different takes away from the sacrifice of what Jesus did on the cross. If water baptism makes you one with the Father and Christ Jesus, why did Jesus hang on a cross?

Ephesians 1:5-14

5    He predestined us to adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace which He graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved. 

7    In Him we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace,

We have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins through the same, not water baptism.

8    Which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight, 9 making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, which are in heaven and on earth.

11  In Him also we have received an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will, 12 that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, should live for the praise of His glory. 

13  In Him you also, after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and after believing in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

This tells us after hearing the word of truth and believing in Him you were sealed with the promised Holy Ghost. Redemption comes by the way of the blood not water baptism.

14  Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

We as believers in Jesus have been adopted into the family of God by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross not water baptism. 

Water Baptism Verses

Acts 2:37-41

37  When they heard this, they were stung in the heart and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38  Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

39  For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

 40  With many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

The hearers were cut to the heart because of the word spoken. Then they asked, “What shall we do.” Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized for the remission of sin.”

This is where studying the Bible and not just reading the Bible plays a major part of understanding Scripture. If you just read this at face value, it looks like it is saying that baptizing is for remission of sin.

The word “for” in this case represents something that has been done not something that will be done. The word “for” is the Greek word “Eis” and it is a preposition meaning the remission of sin was already there.

The word “for” signifies an action in the past. So, verse 38 should read “Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ because of the remission of sin.” This gives us a true understanding of what was being said.

Let us look at the same verses in the Wuest translation. The Wuest translation is the closest translation we have for the Greek.

Acts 2:37-41 - Wuest

Now, having heard this, they were stung to the heart with poignant sorrow. And they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, What shall we do, men, brothers?

And Peter said to them, Have a change of mind, that change of mind being accompanied by abhorrence of and sorrow for your deed, and let each one of you be baptized upon the ground of your confession of belief in the sum total of all that Jesus Christ is in His glorious Person, this baptismal testimony being in relation to the fact that your sins have been put away, and you shall receive the gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit, for to you is the promise and to your children and to all who are at a distance, as many as the Lord our God shall with a divine summons call to himself.

And with many other words he solemnly affirmed, and kept on exhorting them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who received his word with approval were immersed. And there were added to their number on that day about three thousand souls.

Repentance is a total change of mind and ways not just a sorry feeling. As you can see it says, “Be baptized upon your confession of belief.” It also says, “This baptismal testimony being in relation to the fact that your sins have been put away.” 

Water baptism takes place as a testimony to what the Lord has already done in a person not for it. Therefore, water baptism is a symbol of what has already taken place.

Acts 2:38 - Amplified Bible

38  And Peter said to them, “Repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways, accept and follow Jesus as the Messiah] and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Here again you see “Because of the forgiveness of your sins.” Meaning a person's sins were removed before water baptism not because of water baptism.

Acts 2:41 - Amplified Bible

41  So then, those who accepted his message were baptized; and on that day about 3,000 souls were added [to the body of believers].

Because people received (accepted) the Word they were baptized. Again, we see a “because of.”

Acts 8:12-13

12  But when they believed Philip preaching about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 

13  Even Simon himself believed. And when he was baptized, he continued with Philip and was amazed as he watched the miracles and signs which were done.

People were baptized because they believed. It is in the believing that gets a person saved.

Water Baptism according to the Bible

Is water baptism commanded? Yes! Should all believers be water baptized? Yes, but water baptism does not get you saved. You get water baptized because you are saved.

If you would like to find out more about Water Baptism, you can find a whole book Marty wrote here, which goes even more into depth about it and answers many other questions.

If you have recently accepted Jesus in your life and are looking to connect with liked minded people, please reach out. Here at R.A.I.S.E. Ministries International, we would love to pray with you and for you on this new chapter of your life. You can get in touch with our prayer team here.

Be whole, be healed, and be blessed to be a blessing.

R.A.I.S.E. Ministries International


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