Is Water Baptism Required For Salvation?
No, water baptism is not a requirement for salvation. We believe that water baptism is a symbol of the cleansing power of God and a testimony of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12). Water baptism symbolizes the believer’s total trust in and total reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as a commitment to live obediently to Him. It also expresses unity with all the saints (Ephesians 2:19), that is, with every person in every nation on earth who is a member of the Body of Christ (Galatians 3:27-28). Water baptism conveys this and more, but it is not what saves us. Instead, we are saved by grace through faith, apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are baptized because our Lord commanded it: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Water baptism is for believers. Before we are baptized, we must come to believe that we are sinners in need of salvation (Romans 3:23). We must also believe that Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins, that He was buried, and that He was resurrected to assure our place in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). When we turn to Jesus, asking Him to forgive our sins and be our Lord and Savior, we are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our eternal salvation is guaranteed, and we begin to die to ourselves and live for Christ (1 Peter 1:3-5). At that time we are qualified to be baptized, according to scripture.