Do I need baptism?


Do believers need baptism? The answer is yes, because baptism testifies of our salvation experience, and it also reveals a few additional points.

Do you require baptism for salvation?

In Luke 12:50. Messiah said: “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is completed.” When Yeshua spoke about this baptism he was not speaking about what had happened to Him three and a half years earlier – when He was immersed in the Jordan River. When He said that He had “a baptism to go through” He was  talking about His death, burial and resurrection. There is an inherent relationship between Messiah’s work, His death, His burial, and how He rose on the third day. This is all directly related to baptism.

A practical example

Here is an example: The gospel of Matthew speaks about Yeshua arriving at the Jordan River. John was confused by this, and said, “You know I have need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14) Then Messiah said, “Permit it to be so…to fulfill all righteousness”. What does He mean? When Messiah was baptized – when He came up from the water after having been immersed by John—a voice from heaven, God’s voice, was heard. The heavens opened up and a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son”. Son, often times Biblically, is related to the concept of servant.

Why is God pleased with Yeshua?

Matthew 3:17 reveals to us that God the Father said this of Yeshua as Yeshua came up out of the water after His baptism: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Why was the Father pleased with Yeshua? Yeshua’s baptism conveyed to God the Father that His Son was going to submit to His purposes. Yeshua’s baptism demonstrated obedience – He was going to obey God’s will for His life. He was going to go to  Jerusalem. Furthermore, He was going to die on Passover. Not only was he going to die, but he was also going to be buried and on the third day rise from the dead.

Two important aspects of baptism

There are two things we learn based upon Luke 12:50, as well as from all the passages that deal with Yeshua’s baptism. Baptism identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah. Yeshua is testifying of His faith. He first needed faith to believe and then baptism followed. It is believing in our hearts that God raised Yeshua from the dead and confessing with our mouths that Yeshua is Lord (Romans 10:9-10) that saves us, and it is our baptism that testifies of this salvation.

Secondly, there’s something else we need to deal with, and that is the motivation for baptism. In Acts 2:37 Peter had been  teaching a group of people. When they heard the message, it pierced their hearts. Then they said to Peter and to the other apostles, “What shall we do now?” The question, in effect, was how they could obtain salvation. Then Peter revealed what was  the normative thing to do when someone wants to respond to the gospel. Peter answered, “You repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the Name of Messiah Yeshua for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is the  normative response to God’s work of salvation! He has already done the work, and we receive it by faith.

Is baptism part of the means of salvation? 

Mark 16:16 says: “The one having believed and who has received baptism, shall obtain salvation”. If this was how the verse ended, we would have to say: YES, baptism is necessary. However, notice what follows… It says: “But the one who does not believe, is condemned”. It does not say that the one who is not baptized will be condemned (The thief on the cross was not baptized but Yeshua told him that he would be with Him in paradise because he believed – Luke 23:42-43). When we put that whole statement together, however, it teaches us that although we are not going to be condemned if we are not baptized it is never-the-less a normative behavior that accompanies salvation. 

What does this tell us? It is belief, and only belief, that is necessary to be saved. Failure to believe will bring about condemnation.


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