Water baptism is an outward testimony to others that you have been saved, and the first act of obedience to Christ.
Romans 6:4 “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.”
Water baptism is a picture of salvation. It shows that we have died to sin, our old man of sin is buried, and we have been raised again to live a new life in Christ. Baptism should only be done by immersion, to show being buried with Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
However, since water baptism is the first act of obedience to Christ after salvation, then anyone who refuses to be baptized did not truly get saved, because in order to get saved you must commit to obeying Christ.
Therefore, baptism does not save anyone, but anyone who refuses to be baptized shows that they did not truly get saved.
That is why Jesus said in Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Some people, like the thief on the cross next to Jesus, never have the opportunity to be baptized, but he would have been if he had had the opportunity.
Salvation is of the heart not physical actions.
If someone, has it in their heart that they would be baptized, but never gets the opportunity, then God accepts the intent of their heart.
The Apostle Paul said this in 2 Corinthians 8:12 “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”
Now I know that the Apostle Paul was not specifically talking about baptism in 2 Corinthians 8:12, but it establishes the principle that God does not hold it against us if we cannot do something, as long as our hearts are yielded to doing it if we had the opportunity. And that can be applied to baptism.
If people had to get baptized in order to get saved, then Jesus would not have told the thief next to Him that he would go to paradise.
Only saved people are to be baptized. The Bible never says that babies are to be baptized.
John the Baptist said that people had to repent before they could be baptized, and Phillip told the Ethiopian Eunuch that he had to believe in Jesus with all of his heart before he could be baptized.
Acts 8:36-38 “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.”
Even in acts 2:38 the Apostle Peter said “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 word “for” in this verse means “backward” and “of” which means “because of”( Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries #1519 in the Greek.)
Furthermore, there is a comma after the word repent and the whole phrase “and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” is in between 2 commas. This means this is a parenthetical phrase. This shows that a person is baptized because their sins were remitted by the repentance. This means a person receives remission of sins when they repent (turning away from sin to obedience to Christ), and then they are baptized because they have already received the remission of their sins, when they repented.
It also shows that a person receives the indwelling of the Holy Ghost when they repent before baptism, because the whole baptism phrase is parenthetical. This means that if the whole parenthetical phrase about baptism is removed, it still shows that a person gets saved (receives the indwelling of the Holy Ghost) when they repent.
In addition, the word baptism in 1 Peter 3:21 is figurative, not literal baptism in water (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries #908 in the Greek). This is speaking of baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is the same thing as being indwelt by the Holy Ghost.
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:
Remember John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
Luke 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:”
Salvation is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
Since a person receives the Holy Spirit when they repent and believe in Jesus, then they are saved when they repent and believe in Jesus. Water baptism is a picture of salvation. It does not save anyone.
People have to make the decision to repent before they could be baptized, and then them being baptized in water showed that they believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A baby cannot make the decision to repent and believe in Jesus, and all babies are protected by God and not held accountable for sin.
Therefore, there is no reason to baptize a baby, and nowhere in the Bible does it say to baptize a baby.
Salvation is a decision, those who have never been capable of making that decision are protected and not held accountable to God for sin. If they die they go to heaven.
Furthermore, children are not held accountable to God for their sins, only adults are.
You can learn more about this from my blog post “The Age of Accountability” at
In closing, a person is not baptized in order to receive salvation, but to show that they have already received salvation,