Do I Have To Be Baptized

Disclaimerthis post by no means is meant to down baptism. This post is written to share that many people put a lot of faith, and hope into the act of baptism itself. It is not about the act but about Jesus Christ, above all. Baptism is nothing without Him being the reason and desire we decide to be baptized. 

If you were a Jewish man in the Old Testament it was required you be circumcised. Now, if you are Christian, there is the push for being baptized.

Last week I talked about church, and this week is baptism. The timing of things God puts on my heart. Readers, get ready. Also, hear me out first. 🙂

I am aware many believers believe as a Christian you must be baptized, sometimes in order to get to Heaven.

If you have been around my blog for a bit, you may have picked up on the fact I am very open on discussing how Christians still make a lot of things in the Bible, or how our walk with Christ should be, extremely legalistic. Ways we can honor God by giving up certain behaviors or choices are stripped from believers and turned into requirements.

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In this manner, believers try to step between the relationship of a fellow believer or sinner who is considering Christ and try to intervene and dictate what must be done. This way of thinking by Christians is the same way of thinking Christian Jews struggled with. 

They believed a man still had to be circumcised even after receiving the salvation of Christ. People believed they were righteous through works (of their own doing). Circumcision represented being righteous in the law. But Paul points out how easy it is to fall by the law as well, making the act of circumcision pointless.

(NIV) Romans 2:25, “Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.”

Paul also points out how by following the law, which acknowledged we are full of sin, we cannot be justified by this law.

(NLT) Romans 3:20, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”

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Simply put, just because we do something that by itself is righteous or holy, that does not make us righteous or holy. It does not strengthen our bond with Christ. 

Baptism is often looked in the eyes of other believers like circumcision. It is a requirement, like circumcision used to be. It is viewed as a way to receive salvation/entry to Heaven like circumcision showed a person was righteous and connected to God.

First things first. Baptism will not get you to God. Baptism is not salvation, it is separate. Jesus Christ is the only One who can connect us to God and give us salvation.

(NIV) John 14:06, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Notice, it does not say “Water is the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through water.” 

Which leads me to the next point. To be baptized is the baptism of water. It makes no sense to believe that water itself can save us and place us in Heaven. Even John the Baptist talks about this.

(NIV) Matthew 3:11,”I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

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John was baptizing people before the death and resurrection of Christ. He introduced baptism because he was preparing the way for Christ. The washing of water is symbolic of Christ washing away our sins, there was no power in the act itself yet people treat it as such, like circumcision. 

There is a reason why Christ is the Living Water.

(NLT) John 7:38-39, “Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'(When He said “living water,” He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into His glory.)

When Jesus Christ died and resurrected on the third day He fulfilled the Law, becoming the Law, and He became our way to not only repentance but also salvation and redemption. (Romans 3:21-26)

True baptism is in His spirit, not physical water.

(NIV) 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

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(NLT) Romans 3:22, 24, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. (Jew or Gentile) Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Being baptized does not guarantee an entry to Heaven. It is not the way to salvation. It does not make us righteous or holy. Baptism often times is used for approval among man, like circumcision once was.

(NIV) Romans 2:28, “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.”

If all we have is an outward form of baptism of water, that does not make us a follower of Christ. It does not mean anything except maybe to people feeling justified by man and man’s law.

As stated in the 1 Corinthians scripture, we are baptized by the Spirit. Our hearts need to reflect this baptism of the Holy Spirit we received after repenting of our sins, following Christ, and turning away from the flesh desires of this world.

(NIV) Romans 2:26, “So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?”

If a believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit because of salvation and reflects a change because of Jesus Christ, does that not show a person is baptized through Jesus Christ? 

Our salvation is so much more than a priest (a mortal) dunking us in water.

(NLT) Romans 2:29, “No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”

If a believer/nonbeliever is baptized by water, but inwardly their heart is hollow, and they do not have a true relationship with Jesus Christ, does this not show that they have not been baptized by Jesus Christ? 

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Do we really want to face God on judgment day, and say, “Sure, I did not talk to You daily. I did not understand Your word or seek Your guidance. But I was baptized.”

It has NOTHING to do with our works, but everything to do with Him. Baptism is a beautiful way to say to the Lord, and to be accountable in the presence of others, that you want your life to be about Christ. Baptism is something we get to do. It is something special. A very symbolic and outward way to show your devotion. But that’s all it is.

Our walk with Him comes from our heart and daily interaction.

We need to stop making assumptions about a person’s walk and daily relationship with Christ, and we need to stop playing God and making judgments because we will be held accountable.

(NLT) Romans 2:09, “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.”

And Remember...Be The Salt Of The earthAnd The Light On The HillWe Are His Branches1

Monthly Scripture- (NIV) Psalms 62:01-02, 05, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.”

*** Community Prayer Request | August ’18 – Join Me In Praying For Each Other And If You Have A Request To Add Let Me Know. A New Prayer Request Post Comes Out Every Month And Is Updated As Requests And Updates Come In. 

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48 thoughts on “Do I Have To Be Baptized

  1. Poignant as always. Love the bluntness of this piece–Do we really want to face God on judgment day, and say, “Sure, I did not talk to You daily. I did not understand Your word or seek Your guidance. But I was baptized.” I have a post scheduled for tomorrow about love, mercy, and peace, and I think you fit the definition of a peacemaker–as someone who pursues truth and shines light in dark corners. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In the end, our personal relationship with Christ and how we allowed His light in us shine our to others is all that counts. Most of the other things we do are beautiful but they are not the main thing. We get to do them because we are saved. We don’t do them to get saved.

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  3. I agree that baptism with water cannot save or deliver anyone from sin. Only Jesus Christ can do that. Baptism with water is symbolic of our death with Christ to sin and of our resurrection with Christ to new life in him, and it serves as a testimony of that having taken place in our hearts, if truly we did die with Jesus to sin and we have been reborn of the Spirit to new lives in Him.

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      1. My understanding is that we are instructed to do it and we should do it as an outward sign of an inward faith, but it is not what saves us. We can be saved and filled with the Spirit prior to the waters of baptism, but being baptized in water guarantees no one eternal life with God. I also believe that the baptism of the Spirit is what takes place when we are saved and that it is not separate from our salvation, but being filled with the Spirit is an ongoing part of a Christian’s life.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think there is an encouragement for it. It is an outward way to show others and the Lord we want to draw close to Him. That is what my baptism meant to me when I choose to do it at 13. I view it almost as a personal vow. A way for others to keep us accountable. A way we show the Lord symbolically we want to have our life connected to Him, and being thankful for what He did for us. I agree I think we receive the baptism of the Spirit when first receiving salvation. And having a daily walk with Him allows us to be filled with the Spirit.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I never thought of this, but wondered. You are so right! Thank you for posting this! Have you read anything by Eugene Peterson? He is up your alley. I’ve been reading his “Conversations” series and it’s very enlightening. The first one I read was “ Eat This Book”. And it was excellent. Just began “ Tell it Slant”. Check them out!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If I understand correctly, the denomination known as the “Churches of Christ” and possibly some other groups make Baptism a 100% salvation issue. At one point, a man who I’m all but certain was into time-setting [attempting to predict the date of the second coming] arrived at my Church, urgently requesting Baptism. Apparently he hadn’t been baptised yet and looked at it as something which needed to happen immediately in view of what he deemed to be incoming final events. Apparently he was also of a non-trinitarian sort, holding to Arian views of Jesus [Arianism is the belief that Jesus is a created being.] My first encounter with baptism-or-else-hell type thinking was with a person who had other strange theological ideas, and even heresy, mixed in with his thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is interesting to note that having read some Christian history, or seen a documentary somewhere, I had come across some information which suggested that Constantine the great waited to get Baptised until he was near-death. Apparently he must have thought the Baptism itself would save him, without there really being any real change in the way he carried about his habits of life and practice. I’ve just begun studying Christian church history though, so don’t quote me on it. This approach to Baptism would ignore incidents in Scripture such as the thief on the cross, who was told by Jesus directly that he would be saved and yet was never Baptised. The opposite extreme would be totally removing Baptism from the equation, and stating that we shouldn’t even bother with it at all and should just get rid of it as an ordinance. I look at Baptism as a public statement that you have begun your Christian walk or accepted Christ. In some cases Scripture connects it to salvation [John 3:5, Mark 16:16], but I’m not convinced these verses should be read as though Baptism itself saves you [Ezekiel 18:20-32].

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    1. Yes, I believe baptism is something we get to do but not required as Christ is the only way to Salvation and God as He stated. The man on the cross is a perfect example as well. I was waiting for someone to point that out. John 3:05 being born of water highly could be reflected in that when we are born we come from our mother’s womb which we are surrounded by water. As the next statement Christ makes is the flesh is the flesh and the Spirit being the Spirit. He does not talk about water anymore but I think referring to our first birth as Nicomdemus was confused on what it meant to be reborn. The second birth comes from the Spirit when we receive salvation.


      1. My view of things is that a person could be seeking to give their life over to God, and not have been Baptized yet. Supposing they were hit by a car and killed shortly before they were due to be Baptized, or they had made a decision for Christ and hadn’t been Baptized yet before they were killed, I believe they would still be saved.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I believe you’re onto something here. Baptism traditionally performed, but I can’t think of a single place in scripture making it a requirement for salvation. As with many things, that’s an inference popularized dish through the years by the church.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I’ve been battling a lot of mental thoughts lately, and I really feel like God is bringing to light what I need to focus on which is Him, not these negative thoughts of accusation against myself which are not Biblical, and Christ has broken me free of.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for your encouragement and kindness. I think when I take a step forward in where He wants me to be darkness tries to cloak me with deceitfulness. I’m so thankful He guides me!!! I’m thankful in these trials He is with me! God is with you too my friend! He is good, amen!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! And I’m not saying of course for people not to take the wonderful opportunity to be baptized 🙂 I think some readers misunderstood that. But too often than not people are taking away things we GET to do, and that’s really sad. I agree. I think the structured church has turned certain things into idols, routines, or requirements and believers are continuing these ideas without really looking at what scripture says.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have studied this for years and appreciate reading others studies. I don’t think the Bible should be so difficult to comprehend, though we all make it out to be because we so earnestly want to glorify God. As far as baptism, I truly believe the steps of salvation include it. The Bible is clear of it putting us into Christ and His burial and resurrection. I have never read into it compared to them being circumcised so that was very interesting and I’ll have to read more regarding that. Christ died on the cross and fulfilled the old law Matthew 5:17 and Matthew 26:17 says his blood is shed for the remission of sins, which leads me to Acts 2:38, Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ The word ‘for’ in Greek is “unto; in order to”. My studies led me to be baptized for the remission of my sins, to come in contact with the blood of Christ. Yes, that is something we get to do, but I think it is just as important as our confession. Of course, this is said in respect to your studies and in love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate how you explained your view because I know it can be easy to write emotionally. I do think baptism is important, for sure. I know the man on the cross who was not baptized got to live with Christ in Heaven. And looking at Christ as an example that’s where I take my lead. As John said Jesus baptized with Spirit and fire. I think baptism is an amazing expression of saying, agreed, we want His salvation, and we want to follow Him. I dont think if people are not given the opportunity to be baptized that will be held against them in relation to salvation, as again, Christ did not require the man on the cross to be baptized. Though I do feel the need to add for discussion this did of course happen before Christ died. But again I also feel this shows how important and amazing the baptism of the Spirit is. I wonder if this is also important for the Jews to be baptized in the name of Christ as this is a big step. I think Peter was reaching the Jews at this point. Cause I believe they first started with the Jews then Gentiles. The vision of meat for example aside from physical food also meant that Gentiles under Christ can also be considered pure and Peter struggled with this. Great points brought up!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Okay, firstly well done in going in-depth and yes Baptism and Circumcision can never be compared together because they are two separate things. I agree with almost everything you said but would like to emphsize one thing. Although baptism of the Spirit is important too but our symbolic representation of being dunked into the water can’t be ignored either. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” If it’s red-lettered, it can’t be avoided. No matter what “I” think. I can have opinions about God’s word but it is what Jesus said that stands and that should always be the basis of our response when someone question’s us about baptism.

    Earlier, baptism was merely ritualistic but now its relational due to the revelation that God has given to those who believe. It’s an experience that truly enlightens our minds that yes, we’re now dead to sin and alive with the resurrection of Christ.

    Water and Fire, both are important. In case of the sinner on the cross, yes there can be genuine exceptions. But merely avoiding to take baptism because “I” don’t think it’s important is not the right mindset. There are some absolutes in the Word of God that can’t be made void. Hope I was able to convey my line of thought. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You totally got your point across. The main reason I wrote this was not to take away its importance because it is. It is special. It is important. But other believers condemning others because they are not baptized I do not believe is Christlike either, thus this perspective of the post.

      Believers easily judge and condemn when we will be judged as we judge and that was why I try to explain how easily it is to take something special and important we get to do and make it legalistic. Many have only been baptized for a ticket to heaven and this is wrong. This is what I tried to explain and convey. Not that I do not think it is important, I never said that. It is not the water itself but Whose name we are baptized in and all the more reason we should want to be baptized. But the action itself is nothing. All the importance comes from Jesus Christ and our connection to Him. Else we live by works and I’m sure you are familiar how often that is warned against in the Bible. 🙂 Thanks for adding more to the discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, baptism is not a ticket to Heaven and people often misunderstand that. But like I said, in exceptional cases (the man on the cross or someone on his death bed) it is okay not be baptized. But when we’re consciously ignoring this commandment then we’re living in disobedience. Jesus said, “If you love me obey my commandments”. Baptism is merely an act of obedience. In such cases we need to lovingly make the person understand the importance and significance of water baptism. It’s not about being a judge but being good steward.

        Too often we confuse these two terms. I also agree that people should not be condemned but yes, they should be conveyed the above mentioned importance.

        And as for being Christlike goes, our God is not only a God of mercy but also justice. He obeyed the Father without a question and expects the same obedience from us. But when we disobey (even a single commandment), this sets a bad example for other new believers and may become a stumbling block for them. Jesus says in Matt 5:19 (ESV), ” Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

        When Jesus saw people buying and selling in the temple, He was enraged. I don’t suggest turning the tables in anyone’s home but our God is also a God of correction. Let’s not separate correction from God’s character for we all make mistakes and God in His mercy does sends His correction to put us on the right path.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I understand where you are coming from. What I said in my post was not to deter people away from baptism, in the same way my posts about church are not to deter people from attending church. I want people to understand the true reason why baptism is important. As Christ said He encouraged the disciples to baptize in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whether this baptism is done in water, or people place their hands on someone and say, “You are baptized.” Be it through water being present or not. I don’t think it is about the water or the symbolism by itself. It is about that connection with Christ above all else. You are right, this is how and why we should talk about baptism.

        And I did. I never said not to get baptized. I do not feel like this post is a stumbling block in the same way I do not believe I am “relaxing” any commandment. I say it is important to be baptized. I say it is a special. It is important because our connection and desire for Him. But the act itself is not. And I do not believe saying that is bad, nor goes against Christ. He openly rebuked people who used prayer as a way to look good. I am rebuking people for using baptism as a way to look like a perfect Christian. and accusing others of not being saved. It is not about us, or what we do, but it is about Him.

        This is the reason why we should be baptized because we want to do it. That is the whole point of the post. I go over how important it is we do this because of our relationship with Christ. That is why baptism is important.

        My post was definitely a warning for believers who are legalistic because this same manner is a stumbling block to new believers.

        I wrote this post because a fellow believer opened up about how they did not have access to a priest, or water, and wondered about baptism being a requirement. They had someone basically judge their walk with Christ and salvation because this action had not yet taken place.

        I am grateful for the discussion and the urgency you have about baptism and the importance it is we talk about it. I see a lot of people be hurt because believers tell others what to do, like being baptized, but they are not good examples. They do not follow what it means to be Christlike. I want to point others to Christ before they choose to get baptized so they know Him. I don’t want people to get baptized before knowing Him.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I totally understand why you wanted to write this post, I do. And to those people who don’t have access to a priest, you can easily specify that since we’re all disciples of Christ, we are eligible to give baptism. Bust the myth there.

        Also, and I mean this out of love, just because you don’t believe in the symbolise of “water” doesn’t change the fact that Jesus too was baptised by water.

        As a matter of fact Jesus didn’t need to take water baptism or fast in the wilderness before starting His ministry.Yet He did all those things simply to show us how things need to go hence forth.

        That being said, yes water in itself doesn’t make any difference but it’s simply an act of faith. The reason why we should be baptized is because Jesus said so. It should not have my own opinion coated around it. Let’s keep it simple.

        And yes, I too agree with you that baptism or anything else for that matter should not be used to portray oneself as a “perfect christian”. People should not condemn others, rather led them with love.

        I understand what you were trying to convey but I guess it got a little lost somewhere. (I don’t believe in legalism either but by “relaxing” I simply meant that sometimes people coat the word of God with their own opinions and we’ve got to be careful with that). I do hope that the fellow believer finds and opportunity to take water baptism soon. I’m just concerned so that we avoid a dominio effect with certain perspectives on this topic. You never know who might misunderstand.

        Please know, these thoughts are no way meant to hurt or be little you. If I’ve don’t that, I apologise. But I just had to get it across. These days I’m learning to keep God’s word simple. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I do not recall Jesus’ walk in the wilderness prophesied in the OT. What I meant by that was that Jesus Himself fulfilled all that He taught the disciples. When He taught about forgiveness, He practised that on the cross. When He spoke of serving other, he first Himself washed the feet of the disciples. Jesus Himself acted out the commandments He gave the disciples and told them to teach others.

        All I’m saying is that baptism should not be considered optional according to our understanding. Not legalistically speaking but on the basis of Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 which I feel is direct enough. There might me genuine cases where people are unable to take baptism for various reasons and God understands that too. Our job as stewards is to led them in the right direction with love.

        Once again I do agree with you that it’s our relation with Christ that is key and yes merely a dunk in water cannot save us. Don’t get me wrong. You are correct when you say people should not get baptized for the wrong reason nor see baptism as ticket to heaven.

        Waiting to read you new post on Thursday. As always, I look forward to it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I want to add too, I do think multiple people have misunderstood this post, or portions of what I was trying to say, and I don’t want people to be confused. I’ve written up a clarity post on this topic, and it will appear on Thursday 🙂 I hope it is helpful, even if people do not agree.

        Liked by 1 person

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