Bible References About
The Necessity of Baptism for Salvation
One of the most fundamental yet controversial rites in the Christian world is the practice of baptism. Some churches teach that it is necessary while others are adamant that it is a shadow, merely symbolic and has no substance on salvation.
The doctrine of the LDS church is that baptism by immersion for the remission of sins performed by someone holding proper priesthood authority is a mandatory and required step for salvation and reentry into the Kingdom of God.
Here are the passages in the Bible that reinforce and testify to this belief.
"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."
Jesus went out of His way to John the Baptist to be baptized and said it was necessary for Him to fulfill all righteousness. Are we better than Jesus that we don't need baptism? And some people believe baptism isn't necessary? I'm thinking Jesus would highly disagree.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Jesus is speaking to His Apostle's after He was resurrected. He is commissioning them to do their apostolic duties and be special witnesses of Him to the world. And pay close attention what He told them. He said that people must believe AND be baptized to be saved. Once again, I think Jesus disagrees with the whole baptism isn't necessary idea.
"For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
I know this verse doesn't directly speak of baptism, but think about it. Jesus just said that out of all the prophets there was none greater than John. All John did was baptize Jesus. But to Jesus, that baptism was more important that Moses parting the Red Sea, or Elijah calling down fire from heaven! What does that tell you?
"But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him."
How many people today are rejecting the counsel of God by preaching that baptism isn't necessary? Baptism not being a necessary saving ordinance is a doctrine of man, not of the Bible or of God.
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
Christ is teaching Nicodemus what it means to be born again. When we're baptized we are buried in the water, symbolizing death and going into the grave with Jesus. When we are brought up out of the water, it symbolizes rebirth and rising again with Jesus. Being born of the spirit refers to receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism. Hence, we are born again of water and of the Spirit. Since we're born again, we're clean again as we were when we were born. Our previous sins are in remission, but can come back again through transgression if we don't repent.
If we aren't baptized after the order and pattern set by Jesus Christ, by one having proper authority like John the Baptist and the Apostles had, then we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. It's as simple as that. According to Jesus Christ, no other wild interpretations, such as those involving amniotic fluid, are necessary.
"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."
The Apostle Peter is teaching the first principles and ordinances of the gospel: Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, and Baptism for the remission of sins, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Hmmm...who's articles of faith does this sound like? Anyway, even Peter says we need baptism.
"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
This one teaches the requirements for baptism. You need to have a testimony of the Lord, Jesus Christ and a desire to take his name upon you and do his will. And notice, they both went down into the water. This suggests baptism by immersion.
"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. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days."
In this passage, Peter was teaching a group of Jews and Gentiles the gospel of Jesus Christ. The people felt the Spirit, which bore witness of the truth to them, (just as it does today.) They were converted by the Spirit, which is the Holy Ghost, and Peter taught that since they received a witness of the truth they needed to be baptized.
Notice Peter asked who would deny these people baptism? I think he would be surprised if he saw what has been taught in Christendom the last 500 years.
"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."
I love this passage for several reasons. It illustrates the necessity of baptism. It shows that baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost must be performed by one holding the proper Priesthood authority, as Paul did. These 12 people had been baptized by John the Baptist who held the Levitical (or Aaronic) Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood has the authority to baptize, but it does not hold the authority to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost. That's why the people didn't receive it. Paul, who held the Melchizedek Priesthood, rebaptized and then confirmed the group. They then received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, because Paul had the authority to confer it.
When reading this Bible passage something occurred to me. There are millions of good Christians that have been baptized. Yet they don't feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost. LDS members are mocked by Protestant Christians because of their testimony of feeling the promptings and companionship of the Holy Ghost after baptism. If these good Christians aren't feeling the Holy Ghost, or are being told that these promptings and inspirations aren't needed because of they have the bible, maybe they should question the authority in which they were baptized, just like Paul did.
"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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
This passage confirms what I spoke of earlier about baptism being symbolic of death and rebirth. This passage also alludes through it's symbolism that immersion is the proper method of baptism. Being buried in the water as you would be in a grave, and coming out of the water as though you were being resurrected. Immersion is more consistent with this than baptism by sprinkling. The importance of the ordinance of baptism has to do with the covenant we make with Jesus, taking His name upon us, and He promising His spirit will always be with us.
"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
This verse gives a second witness to my analysis above. That baptism by immersion is a similitude to death and rebirth.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Once again we are being taught it isn't by what good deeds we do that we are saved, it's by faith in Jesus and obedience to the gospel, which included baptism, the washing of regeneration.
1 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:"
Once again, the Apostle, Peter teaches that we now gain salvation through baptism.