The Necessity of Baptism for Salvation (Part 2)

Last updated on October 10th, 2019


Today I thought I’d go through some more common arguments used against baptism being a necessity for salvation. I’ve already went over a few of the most common ones, which you’re welcome to read in my post titled “The Necessity of Baptism for Salvation” on my home page. It’s a very important issue given that if those who’ve deceived people into believing it’s not necessary are wrong, millions of souls hang in the balance. So in doing my part to continue to advance the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, I’m prepared to debunk any and all arguments that have no Scriptural validity.

Thief on the cross false equivalence

A common argument used against the necessity of Baptism for salvation is the thief on the cross argument. People state that because the thief on the cross was never baptized, and Jesus stated that he would come to paradise with Him, that proves baptism is not necessary for salvation. Once again, this is picking and choosing verses based on one’s own traditional biases, and failure to read Scripture as a whole. Jesus did not state the Gospel to be preached being belief and baptism for salvation prior to dying on the Cross, but AFTER dying on the Cross. Therefore, the thief was under no obligation to obey the Gospel given it had not been stated to be preached yet.

Once the statement is given by Jesus to the Apostles of what the Gospel is that should be preached, then all people after that statement were under the obligation to obey the Gospel for salvation. It’s exactly what the Apostles preached (Acts 2:38), and exactly what the Jews obeyed (Acts 2:41). If we look at every individual who was saved in Acts, baptism was a part of the process of salvation in each case. So the necessity of baptism for salvation could not be doubted unless one could find an example of a person who was saved in Scripture without having to be baptized after Jesus gave the statement that it was necessary.

Are you really saying unbaptized believers go to hell?

Another common argument is really not an appeal to Scripture, but more so an appeal to emotion. What if a person dies before they get baptized, but they believed in Jesus Christ? Are you really saying that person who did not get baptized will be spending eternity separated from God and in hell? Well one, we should recall when belief is accomplished according to the sequence of occurrence in Acts 16:31-34 as I stated in my previous baptism post. But also my fellow students of the Word, obviously none of us want to see anyone spend eternity away from God and in everlasting destruction. It’s why we make it urgent that people obey the Gospel in order to be saved, in the same way that the people who protest against the necessity of baptism for salvation stress the urgency of belief before someone dies.

So one could easily turn this flawed emotional argument around and ask the protester, which atheists use this similar flawed logic to protest God’s goodness, are you really saying a person who dies not believing in Jesus in spite of how good and caring they were, they will spend eternity away from God and in hell? This is the same argument of emotion that the baptism protesters don’t fall for, and in the same instance, when they turn it around on those of us preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we should not fall for either. Let’s recall what we actually know about God through Scripture. Consider these descriptions in the following verses.

God is righteous

Psalm 145:17 states, “The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds.” Psalm 18:30 states, “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 119:137 states, “You are righteous, LORD, and your laws are right.” Romans 2:5 states, “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” I think you get the gist here. God is perfectly righteous in who He is, what He commands in His Word, and how He judges. Therefore, God being the all righteous perfect distributor of judgment, would set up the most righteous perfect system for one to be fairly judged for eternity with Him or separated from Him, and thus found the belief and baptism formula to be a part of that perfect system.

If God concluded belief and baptism was best to be a part of the process of the perfect right way for one to be judged on whether they were saved or not, then we need not feel too saddened by certain circumstances or situations. We can trust that in God concluding this would be the fairest perfect right way for salvation to be obtained, belief and baptism a part of the process (Mark 16:16), that He knew this would be the fairest way for everyone to have an opportunity to receive it. The harsh reality is, some people are going to be separated from God for eternity because they didn’t do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21-23). But we all will hopefully be a part of the cause in trying to help get as many people as we can to become saved according to Scripture, and committed to the faith according to Scripture, in order for as many of us to eventually reach the hope of eternity we’ve been promised through Jesus Christ.

Peace to all those who are in Christ.



10 thoughts on “The Necessity of Baptism for Salvation (Part 2)


    A tradition that could cost you your salvation is the one that states that “for”(eis in Greek) in Acts 2:38 should have been translated, “because of.”

    Let us compare “for” (eis) found in Acts 2:38 and Matthew 26:28.

    New American Standard Bible: Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    New American Standard Bible: Matthew 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

    Jesus did not shed His blood because the people already had their sins forgiven. Jesus shed His blood for (in order to) the remission of sins.

    Those three thousand on the Day of Pentecost were not baptized in water because their sins were already forgiven. They were baptized for (in order to) the remission of their sins.


    How did the following translations translate “eis” in Acts 2:38?

    NEW KING JAMES VERSION: Acts 2:38 ……for the remission of sins..

    NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE: Acts 2:38…for the forgiveness of your sins…

    ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION: Acts 2:38…for the forgiveness of your sins….

    AMERICAN KING JAMES VERSION: Acts 2:38…for the remission of sins…

    KING JAMES BIBLE: Acts 2:38….for the remission of sins…

    THE BETTER VERSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT by Chester Estes: Acts 2:38…in order to the remission of your sins…

    THE AMPLIFIED NEW TESTAMENT: …Acts 2:38…for the forgiveness of and release from your sins….

    THE NEW TESTAMENT IN MODERN ENGLISH by J.B. Phillips: Acts 2:38….so that you may have your sins forgiven….

    NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION: Acts 2:38…for the forgiveness of your sins…..

    NEW LIVING TRANSLATION: Acts 2:38….for the forgiveness of your sins….

    INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION: Acts 2:38…for the forgiveness of your sins…

    ARAMAIC BIBLE IN PLAIN ENGLISH: Acts 2:38…for release from sin…

    AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION: Acts 2:38…unto the remission of your sins…

    DARBY BIBLE TRANSLATION: Acts 2:38…for remission of sins….

    ENGLISH REVISED VERSION: Acts 2:38 ……unto the the remission of your sins….

    WEBSTER’S BIBLE TRANSLATION: Acts 2:38…for the remission of sins….

    WEYMOUTH NEW TESTAMENT: Acts 2:38 …with a view to the remission of your sins…

    WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE: Acts 2:38…for the forgiveness of sins….

    YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION: Acts 2:38…to the remission of sins…

    THE THOMPSON CHAIN-REFERENCE BIBLE (NIV): Acts 2:38…so that your sins may be forgiven…

    There is no translation of the Bible that translates “eis” in Act 2:38 as “BECAUSE OF” NOR DOES “EIS” IN ACTS 2:38 MEAN “BECAUSE OF”.

    If ‘eis” in Acts 2:38 meant “because of”, it would have been translated as such.

    The shed blood of Jesus is the reason we receive forgiveness from sins. We contact that blood after faith John 3:16-repentance Acts 2:38-confession Romans 10:9-10 and water baptism Acts 2:38. Water baptism is the point of contact. Water baptism is the last act of a sinner, it not the first act of a Christian.



  2. Have you heard of the Catholic ideas of “invincible ignorance” and “baptism of desire”?
    We can’t know for certain who will end up in heaven and who will end up in hell but God is just and merciful, and we should trust that all those who love and obey the Lord will be saved. You’re right, baptism is necessary for those who believe, but Catholics trust that allowances will be made for those who could not get baptised before they died.

    1. Hi Sarah. Thank you for your comment. I believe recall seeing the phrase “baptism of desire” when reading of the Catholic’s view of salvation. I have two questions I’m curious for your answer in light of your state view of not knowing. Do you think one could think this belief negates the point of commanding baptism for salvation in the first place? Secondly, if you agree that a person who does not believe in Jesus will go to heaven, what makes the Catholic position stop short of saying “we can’t say for certain who will end up in heaven or hell based on belief or non belief in Jesus”?

      Peace in Christ. 🙂

      1. Gosh, where to start, I think I opened a can of worms! Please bear in mind that I only converted to Catholicism last year so I may not get everything perfectly right.
        Regarding your first question, I’m not quite sure which belief you are referring to: “baptism of desire” or not knowing. As regards “baptism of desire” this doesn’t negate the point of commanding baptism because if the person does not die then they must get baptised. If they keep putting it off because they think the desire is sufficient then they are not being obedient and are also being presumptuous which is a big no-no in Catholicism. As regards not knowing, I don’t think that makes any difference. We don’t do the right thing to get certain rewards, we do it because it’s the right thing.
        Secondly, I don’t agree that a person who does not believe in Jesus will certainly go to heaven. A person who deliberately and with full knowledge does not believe in Jesus will probably not get to Heaven. (I don’t know if God’s mercy would extend to such a person – that’s up to God – but it’s hard to see how a person who actively rejects Jesus could get to Heaven.) However, people who have never heard the gospel or who have only heard distorted propaganda against the Church have not been given the proper opportunity to believe or not believe. All people in a state of grace when they die (i.e. those who haven’t committed a mortal sin which hasn’t been repented of and forgiven) will get to Heaven. It is difficult for a person to sin mortally if they don’t know all the rules. A sin is only mortal if the person has full knowledge of the serious wrong being done (or omitted) and does it (or omits it) deliberately and with full consent.

        1. Thank you for answering my questions, Sarah. I can understand the desire not to say this person is going to heaven or that person is going to hell. I suppose from my position I don’t necessarily see myself as concluding that of someone, but God seeming to give us that conclusion through the Word. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 states that those who don’t know God and don’t obey the Gospel of Christ will meet an eternal destruction. At least to my eyes reading that, it seems pretty definitive. The knowing God part, some would suggest Romans 1:20 shows that people are able to know God exists without being told because of the things created. The obeying gospel part, well, as we can see in all of these comments, it seems to be up for more debate then it really should be. I believe I’m understanding the right conclusion on what obedience to the Gospel means, but I hope we can all come to whatever conclusion God expects of us to have on these points.

          Peace in Christ. 🙂

          1. In the general sense, yes, we know that those who reject Jesus and the Gospel will go to hell. However, when it comes down to the particular, we can never know for sure whether a particular individual will go to Heaven or hell because we cannot see the state of their souls like God can. It is not our place to judge another person. We can only warn people when they seem to be on the road to destruction, and pray for them of course.
            The Catholic Church also holds that it is possible for a person to use their reason to work out that God exists. It’s just that some people never do it. They’re too busy surviving to think about the transcendent. Also, if it were easy, there wouldn’t be so many intelligent atheists out there, plus we wouldn’t need to evangelise – people would find their own way to the Truth. Some people (like me) need to let others, like C.S. Lewis do the hard work for us, then we can read their work and be convinced by following _their_ reasoning.
            I haven’t read the other comments you got because there are a lot and I don’t have the time, sorry. For Catholics, obedience to the gospel is mediated through the Church. We (try to 😉 ) obey the 10 commandments, Christ’s commandments and the Church rules about attending Mass, confession, fasting and so on. We do not interpret scripture for ourselves – the Church governs how it is to be interpreted.

          2. Fair enough. We have an agree to disagree on whether my conclusions are judgments or just simply following what the Word states. Indeed, it can be helpful sometimes to see the reasoning of others and find agreement that leads us to the truth. No worries, it’s very time consuming for me to respond to all of these comments thoroughly. 😉

            Ah, I see. I think that’s another matter we’ll agree to disagree on as well. I believe individuals have the ability and the freedom to interpret scripture for themselves. But definitely important for their to be unity in those interpretations on the most important matters.

            Peace in Christ. 🙂

          3. Thanks for taking the time to reply, I can see you’ve got a lot on your plate there. 🙂
            Yes, it’s helpful to talk through these things.

      2. Sorry, my last sentence is a bit wrong. I didn’t mean serious wrongs being omitted are sinful, I obviously meant that some sins involve things not being done which should be done.

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