Is baptism just a ceremony, or is it a crucial step in the process of your salvation?
[Darris McNeely] Occasionally someone will write in and ask us whether or not baptism is required for salvation. Salvation is the essence of being saved, eternal life, the promise, the gift of eternal life that scripture talks about. The short answer to this question is “yes”. Baptism is a part of the process that leads to salvation, as the Bible teaches, and it is important that that baptism be done correctly, in the right way at every step of the way for everyone. But the Bible does show that it is necessary. There’s a scripture in Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×– it is the first great sermon in the Bible, in the New Testament. The apostle Peter gives it and he comes to a point where people want to know what they should do to be forgiven, and he says, “Repent and be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In that, he shows that through the baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, that begins the process of salvation.
Jesus Christ Himself was baptized. He was baptized by John the Baptist. Christ never sinned. Christ lived a perfect life. He came as God in the flesh to show us the kingdom and to die for our sins, and to be resurrected, that we might have the hope of eternal life or therefore salvation. But He was baptized. And so, we must follow that example and also follow the example that is set in scripture.
The gift of the Holy Spirit that Peter talks about here in verse 38 of Acts 2 is what begins this process of conversion and growth and development that leads to the point where then salvation is possible.
If there’s one other scripture to look at that helps us to understand this, it is 1 Corinthians 15 and in a passage from verses 51 to 54. This is where the apostle Paul talks about the resurrection. And the resurrection in this case is to eternal life, to a changed life as a spirit being, and that again is what salvation is all about – the end result of salvation. Let’s read what he says. Paul writes, “Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” And so the dead will rise – they will be changed. “For this corruptible” – which is speaking about this flesh, this physical life that we have – “must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54 1 Corinthians 15:51-54  Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
American King James Version×). The change to spirit that Paul writes about here in 1 Corinthians 15 is the essence of salvation, which – it means we are saved from eternal death, and that is the process that people fail to properly understand today, as good, well-meaning people seek to do what is right, seek to know God and to follow God, want to live forever and they want to escape the penalty of eternal death, but do not understand the essence of the steps leading up to a proper baptism, and then the process of change and growth that comes about and leads to the process of salvation. It all begins with baptism. And so the answer is yes, baptism is a crucial step in that process of salvation.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.