Is water baptism necessary to salvation?

By carefully considering what the Bible teaches, this should be a fairly straightforward question that is easy to answer.

First, consider Hebrews 6:1, 2,

Heb 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Heb 6:2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Notice carefully that in Hebrews 6:2 the word “baptisms” is a plural word, which indicates that there is more than one kind of baptism spoken of in the New Testament.

Second, consider Matthew 3:11,

Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Notice carefully that there are two different baptisms mentioned here:  (1) the baptism of John the Baptist specifically stated to be “with water”;  (2) the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, specifically stated to be “with the Holy Ghost.”

Throughout the New Testament record reference is made to both “baptism with water” and “baptism with the Holy Ghost.”

See these passages among several which could be given:

Mar 1:8  I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Luk 3:16  John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Joh 1:33  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

Act 1:5  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Notice carefully that the two baptisms mentioned in all the above texts of Scripture are (1) water baptism and (2) baptism with the Holy Ghost.

Many careful students and scholars have pointed out that these two baptisms are distinct. They refer to water baptism as “ritual water baptism.” They refer to baptism with the Holy Ghost as “real baptism.”

Careful Bible readers can tell which of these two types of baptisms are referred to in any Bible context by observing that ritual water baptism requires a human administrator but real baptism does not involve a human administrator.

In the Bible, “real baptism” with the Holy Ghost is required for salvation:

Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

1Co 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

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1 Response to Is water baptism necessary to salvation?

  1. “Careful Bible readers can tell which of these two types of baptisms are referred to in any Bible context by observing that ritual water baptism requires a human administrator but real baptism does not involve a human administrator.”

    Ah, but baptism with the Holy Spirit did require a human administrator in at least two cases that I have found:

    Acts 8:14-17 (RSV) Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Sama’ria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, [15] who came down and ***prayed for them that they might receive*** the Holy Spirit; [16] for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
    [17] Then ***they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.***

    Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

    In other cases (e.g., Peter, Ananias), God used at least the preaching or admonitions of people in conjunction with someone receiving the Holy Spirit.

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