OceanSide church of Christ

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The Necessity of Baptism to Salvation

Victor M. Eskew




A.      In Acts 2:37, the Jews who heard Peter’s sermon posed a very important question.


Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?


1.       Peter’s answer to the question was crystal clear (Acts 2:38).


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.


2.       In Acts 2:41, we read of the response of many

a.       “Then they that gladly received his words said:  “You want us to do what?”

b.       This was not the actual response, but it is the response of many in the world today.


B.      Many religious teachers of today tell us that baptism has absolutely nothing to do with salvation.

1.       They do not completely reject baptism.

a.       It is a command to be obeyed.

b.       It is an outward sign of an inwrought grace.

c.        It is an act whereby a person “comes out.”

d.       It is an action necessary to “join” their denomination.

2.       But, it is NOT, they say, an act that saves.


C.      We deny this teaching wholeheartedly.  In this lesson, we want to stress the absolute necessity of baptism in God’s plan of salvation.




A.      Mark 16:16


He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.


B.      Acts 22:16


And now why tarriest thou?  Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.


C.      I Peter 3:21


The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.




A.      Two types of commercials are prominent on TV today.

1.       Diet plans and exercise equipment or programs

2.       Both use a similar play:  this is what one looks like before and this is what one looks like afterward.

3.       What is being advertised stand between the before and after.  It is responsible for the results.


B.      The Bible presents a similar picture.

1.       Baptism stands between being lost and being saved (Mark 16:16).


He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…


2.       Baptism stands between sin and the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.


3.       Baptism stands between a stained soul and a cleansed soul (Acts 22:16).


And now why tarriest thou?  Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.


4.       Baptism stands between the old life and the new life (Rom. 6:3-4).


Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


5.       Baptism stands between being out of Christ and in Christ (Gal. 3:27).


For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.


C.      With these thoughts in mind, shouldn’t we be seeking to push the need for all to be baptized as hard, or harder, than people push diets or exercise programs on TV?




A.      Two verses teach that baptism puts one into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27).


For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.


B.      This is important because of the things that are found in Christ.

1.       Redemption and forgiveness (Eph. 1:7)


In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.


2.       Grace is in Christ (II Tim. 2:1).


Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.


3.       Salvation is in Christ (II Tim. 2:10).


Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is Christ Jesus with eternal glory.


4.       All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Eph. 1:3).


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.


C.      If a person is not “in Christ,” he does not have these blessings.  NOTE:  The only way to get into Christ is to be baptized into Him.




A.      In I Corinthians 10:1-13, Paul uses the Israelites as a type of the Christian life.  In the text, he speaks of the baptism of Moses (I Cor. 10:1-2).


Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.


B.      The comparison between the type and the anti-type.


Type                                                                            Anti-type


            Pharaoh                                                                       Satan

            Bondage                                                                       Sin

            Moses                                                                          Jesus Christ

            Passing through the Red Sea                                        Baptism

            Wandering                                                                  The Christian life

            Crossing the Jordan River                                            Death  

            Canaan                                                                                    Heaven


C.      Question:  When was Israel freed from the grip of Pharaoh?

1.       It was when they finally crossed the Red Sea.

2.       Exodus 14:9-10 tells about Pharaoh’s army overcoming Israel before they crossed the Red Sea and the fear that came on the Israelites.

3.       Deliverance was obtained when they crossed the Red Sea.  Israel was then free and the army of Pharaoh was destroyed.

a.       This is referred to as a baptism because water completely surrounded them:  a wall of water on each side and water in a cloud over them.

b.       Exodus 14:30a


Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians…


c.        This act was a type of our baptism.

1)      In the waters of baptism we are freed from Satan and delivered from sin.

2)      We are covered in water just as the Israelites were.


V.                 A FAITH RESPONSE


A.      The denominational world has been taught that baptism is a work.


B.      Baptism is a faith response to the commands of God.

1.       Faith is an essential element in the salvation process (Heb. 11:6).


But without faith it is impossible to please him…


2.       This faith is not merely a mental assent, but something that is living and active.

a.       James 2:18


Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.


b.       Faith must respond to three things in the Word of God.

1)      It must believe facts.

2)      It must embrace promises.

3)      It must obey commands.

c.        NOTE:  The Bible commands baptism (Acts 10:47-48).


Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord…


1)      Obedience to the command to be baptized is a faith response.

2)      Failure to obey manifests a lack of faith.


C.      Faith responses have always been required of God’s people.

1.       Noah built an ark.

2.       Abraham offered his son Isaac.

3.       Israel looked upon the brazen serpent.

4.       The Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho seven days.

5.       Naaman dipped seven times in the Jordan River.

6.       The blind man washed his eyes in the pool of Siloam.

7.       Today, God asks us to be immersed in water for the remission of our sins.




A.      Four statements:

1.       When a person dies, the normal thing to do is bury him.

a.       This is what we are telling people to do in the spiritual realm.

b.       In repentance, they die to their sins.  The old man of sin is put to death.

c.        He needs to be buried so the new man can be brought forth (Col. 2:12).


Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God.


2.       When God issues a command, the right thing to do is obey it (Heb. 5:9).


And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.


a.       Baptism is a command.

b.       Shouldn’t it be obeyed?

3.       When a man is lost, it is normal for him to do all that is necessary to be saved.

a.       A man holding on to a tree in a raging river.  Take the rope, put on the harness, let go of the tree, and make sure to keep your head up as we pull you in.  What person would refuse to do these simple things in order to be saved?

b.       The Bible tells us to hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believe in Christ as the Son of God (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3, 5), confess the precious name of Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), and be immersed into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).

4.       When man’s wisdom collides with God’s wisdom, the right thing to do is to embrace the wisdom of God.

a.       I Corinthians 1:25


Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men…


b.       I Corinthians 1:27


But God hath chosen the foolish things of this world (baptism) to confound the wise...


B.      Questions

1.       Will you not bury the old man of sin in the waters of baptism?

2.       Will you not obey God’s command to be baptized?

3.       Will you not do all that you need to do to be saved?

4.       Will you not put away your wisdom and submit to the wisdom of God?