What is the importance of baptism in a person’s salvation?
Baptism is the first command AFTER a person is saved. Acts 2:41 says, “Then they that gladly received his word were BAPTIZED: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 10:47,48 says, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And HE COMMANDED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded that we baptize. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, BAPTIZING THEM in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Baptism does not save a person, and cannot even be done until AFTER a person is saved. Acts 8:35-38 says, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; WHAT DOTH HINDER ME TO BE BAPTIZED? And Philip said, IF THOU BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART, THOU MAYEST. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
Baptism is be be an OUTWARD PICTURE of what has taken place in our hearts INWARDLY. It is to picture our new life in Christ. Colossians 2:12 says, “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Romans 6:4,5 says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that LIKE as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, EVEN SO WE ALSO SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”
For a further study of this subject, please see the Baptism Bible Course.