Being baptized is an essential part of salvation. Jesus defined the terms for entrance into His Kingdom: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Here are presented two requirements made of those who accept the gospel proclamation—faith in Jesus, and baptism. The first is the inward acceptance of the salvation so graciously provided by the vicarious death of the world’s Redeemer; the second is the outward token of an inward change of life (Romans 6:3-6).
Jesus also added, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Therefore, lack of baptism would simply be an outward token of an inward disbelief, which disbelief, of itself, is sufficient to bar a man from the blessings of salvation. A believer must be baptized to be saved unless baptism is not possible as in the case of the thief on the cross, who was sincere in his faith, but due to his death sentence was unable to receive the service of baptism.
Getting baptized in water without the transformation of life does not save anyone. Those who are born from above have God as their Father and resemble Him in character (1 John 3:1–3; John 8:39, 44). Henceforth, they aspire, by the grace of Christ, to live above sin (Romans 6:12–16) and do not yield their wills to commit sin (1 John 3:9; 5:18). Thus, a person must believe in Jesus as his personal Savior from sin and this faith in God will bring the fruits of obedience to God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17) because faith alone is not enough “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
Baptism does not insure that we are saved but its repentance from sin that does. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Salvation comes only as a free gift from Jesus Christ when one experiences the new birth. Baptism is a symbol of true conversion, and unless conversion precedes baptism, the ceremony is meaningless.
In His service,