Is Baptism Essential?

Is Baptism Essential?

Calvary Apostolic Tabernacle
Pastor James L. Groce

What about baptism? Is it necessary for one to be baptized to be saved; to be forgiven of our sins? This study is devoted to answering these questions by simply allowing the Bible to speak for itself on the subject of baptism and what bearing, if any, baptism may have on being saved from our sins.


A. In two gospel accounts, Jesus mentions baptism.
1. “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them….” (Mt 28:19).
2. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 16:15-16).
B. From Jesus Himself, we learn that baptism is somehow involved in the process of

(1) becoming a disciple and

(2) in salvation.


A. The preaching of Peter.

1. In Acts 2:38, Peter commanded people to be baptized “for the remission of sins.”

a. Does “for” mean “in order to” or “because of”?

b. Note that we find the same grammatical construction in Mt 26:28.

1) Where Jesus said His blood would be shed for many “for the remission of sins.”

2) Clearly Jesus meant “in order to” provide remission of sins, and not “because” remission of sins had already occurred.

c. Note also that in Acts 2:38 baptism is joined by the conjunction “and” to the command “repent.”

1) Both are commanded “for the remission of sins.”

2) Just as people were commanded to repent “for” (in order to) the remission of sins, so they were commanded to be baptized “for” (in order to) the remission of sins.

2. In Acts 10:44-48, Peter clearly commanded baptism (in water). Peter’s preaching is in harmony with the statements of Jesus in the great commission.

B. The preaching of Philip.

1. Examine carefully the two accounts of Philip’s preaching.

a. The Samaritans–Acts 8:5, 12.

b. The Ethiopian–Acts 8:35-38.

2. In both cases, Philip “preached Christ.”

a. Yet baptism was an immediate result of such preaching.

b. Is there any surprise in light of Jesus’ statements in Mt 28:19 and Mk 16:15-16?

C. The preaching of Paul.

1. Consider the conversion of Lydia–Acts 16:13-15.

a. Lydia gave heed to the things spoken by Paul, by being baptized!
b. Notice her comment in Acts 16:15.

1) Be faithful to the Lord?

2) One clear way was by her response to the command of the Lord concerning baptism!

2. The conversion of the Phillippian jailer�Acts 16:29-33.

a. In response to the word of the Lord, the jailer and his house, were immediately baptized!

b. Evidently the need to be baptized quickly was tressed, in fact, in every detailed example of conversion found in the book of Acts, people were baptized after only one lesson!

3. Paul’s account of his own conversion�Acts 22:10-16.

a. He was told to go to Damascus to learn what he must do

b. One of the things he was told was to be baptized without delay (V.16).

1) Notice the words “WASH AWAY YOUR SINS,” calling on the name of the Lord (Paul had learned the name of the Lord on the Damascus road).

2) Note Well: That despite seeing the Lord on the road to Damascus and having spent three days fasting and praying (Acts 9:9-11), he was STILL IN HIS SINS!

c. Clearly Paul believed that baptism was essential to salvation.

D. Read carefully these scriptures.

1. Acts 2:14-41.

2. Acts 8:5-13.

3. Acts 8:35-39.

4. Acts 9:17-18.

5. Acts 10:34-48.

6. Acts 16:13-15.

7. Acts 16: 30-34.

8. Acts 22:16.

a. Preaching + Faith + Repentance + Baptism + Holy Ghost = Salvation.

E. In every case of conversion, baptism in Jesus Name is involved in the process of becoming a true disciple of Christ, which agrees with Jesus’ words in Mat 28:19. In every case of conversion, baptism in Jesus Name, precedes salvation which is in agreement with Mk 16:16.


A. In the teaching of Paul.

1. In Rom 6:3-8, we learn that baptism:

a. Is a baptism into the death of Christ (V. 3).

b. Is a burial with Him into death (V. 4).

c. Is done in order to walk in newness of life (V. 4).

d. Is a type of the resurrection (Holy Ghost baptism).

e. Frees us from sin (V. 6-7).

f. Note Paul’s preface to these remarks: “as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were….”

1) What blessings he discusses pertains only to those who had been baptized!

2. From Gal 3:26-27 we learn that baptism is:

a. Involved in the process of becoming sons of God.

b. The means by which we “put on Christ.”

3. In Col 2:11-13, Paul taught that baptism is:

a. A “spiritual circumcision,” in which sins are “cut off.”
b. A burial with Christ, and a resurrection with Him.

c. If by the working of God, baptism in Jesus’ Name accomplishes all these things, how could anyone say it is not necessary?

B. The teaching of Peter:

1. In 1 Pet 3:20-21, Peter makes a comparison between Noah’s salvation and our own.

a. Noah was saved by:

1) Grace (Gen 6:8).

2) Faith (Heb 11:7).

3) Water.

b. Likewise our salvation includes water.

1) Not that there is any cleansing power in the water!

2) But God has chosen the act of baptismin His Nameas the place of the application of His blood!

2. Perhaps we can now see why Peter said, “Baptism doth now also save us.”


A. Is baptism essential to salvation? Let the words of Jesus Christ, the preaching and teaching of His apostles provide the answer!

B. All the rationalization that can be done by man cannot escape the fact that man must respond in baptism as well as in faith and repentance if he is going to receive God’s salvation.

C. Clearly, God’s plan, in Acts 2:38 is the only way (for there is only one) to salvation.

1. Repentance.

2. Water baptism in Jesus’ Name.

3. Gift of the Holy Ghost.

D. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized,and wash away your sins, calling on the Name of the Lord.”(Acts 22:16).