WOTD (Word of the Day): For some reason lately, I have been fielding questions about baptism. Do I need to be baptized in order to be saved? Should we baptize our children and when? Do I go to heaven only if I get baptized? These are all important questions that need to be addressed.
In Colossians, Paul develops a theology for baptism. Speaking about Jesus he writes, “9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Col. 2:9-12”
If faith is responding to God’s promises through our actions, Paul here is linking circumcision (law) to baptism (grace). In both cases, the act done in faith is credited as righteousness. What is the first act of faith a believer in Christ should do? In faith, we are called to act on the knowledge of what we have received by responding in repentance of our sins to receive forgiveness. As an outward sign of the confession of our sins and acceptance of His grace and mercy, we should get baptized in a local church fellowship.
Baptism then is not a work of yourself, it is a response to the grace of God so no man can boast. So do I really need to get baptized to be saved? If after reading the scriptures you feel compelled to question if baptism is really needed in your own life in order to have a saving faith, I would argue that (like Eve in the garden) perhaps you are listening to the wrong spirit.