DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO BE BAPTIZED TO BECOME A CHILD OF GOD?
YES! Now when I give this direct answer, I realize the prejudice that surrounds this question. I have been accused of teaching water salvation. I believe in salvation through Christ. The Bible teaches that salvation comes through obedience to the gospel of Christ. Jesus said ... "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Therefore, I believe baptism is necessary because Christ commanded it as a pre-requisite to salvation. It is so strange that people will accept some of our Lord’s teachings and reject others. I know this happens because I grew up in a religion that taught and practiced this very thing.
There has to be some clear line of demarcation that separates a child of God from a child of the Devil. Are we to listen to man or God? If we could be judged by man’s teachings on the great judgment day, it might be safe to follow man. But Jesus said that His word will judge us. "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). When the Holy Spirit guided the apostle Peter to answer the question, “...What shall we do? (Acts 2:37). Peter was authorized to say, “Repent and be baptized...for the remission of sins...” (Acts 2:38). Would one deny that the Holy Spirit knew what was required. Later when this same apostle wrote, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us...” (I Peter 3:21), the Holy Spirit was again guiding Peter. Don’t you think the Holy Spirit knew what was required for salvation? Someone says, “but baptism is a work and you can’t be saved by works”. The Bible nowhere says baptism is a work, in fact the one being baptized is very passive. The Bible, God’s inspired word, commands baptism as an act of obedience. Paul said, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3). Paul used the word “US” which included him. If baptism was un-necessary Paul, an inspired apostle did not know it. There are many other scripture that set forth baptism as a pre-requisite to salvation. Who will you believe, man or God? ---Charles E. Burch