Ask Alex

Is baptism necessary for salvation?


The Bible is clear that baptism, while important, is not necessary for salvation. Physical baptism is something men do, and God made it clear that all are saved by faith in Jesus’ finished work and not by works (Eph. 2:9), which means nothing can be added by man to the work of Christ. We have a righteousness earned by Christ alone (Phil. 3:9), and He Himself becomes our righteousness by faith (1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21).

And when we determine whether something is necessary for salvation, there can be no other Scripture that disagrees with what we find in a given Scripture passage. The fact is, the Bible has clear examples of believers who are saved without baptism. In Acts 10, we witness Peter visiting the home of Cornelius where that man and a house full of people are saved and receive the Holy Spirit without having yet been baptized, which we are sure of because Peter says they ought to be baptized afterwards. And before Jesus died, he hung next to a thief with no chance to be baptized: Jesus told the thief he would be with Jesus that day in paradise. Baptism, therefore, cannot be necessary. And, more importantly, choosing to say so ruins the reality of our need for Christ’s work alone for salvation.

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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