Baptism continues to be one of the most controversial points of salvation, but baptism is also the simplest. One simply gets into the water and allows God to wash aways the sins of the past, nothing more to it. Preparing for baptism mentally and emotional and continuing to walk in the light of the Lord after baptism requires so much more effort than the act of baptism itself.
Of the steps of salvation discussed in Scripture, baptism is the only passive verb. “Hear” is an active verb. “Believe” is an active verb. “Repent” is an active verb. “Confess” is an active verb. “Be baptized” is a passive verb. Active verbs require the subject to perform the action, whereas a passive verb requires the subject to receive the action, the action is done to the subject.
One must make an effort to hear and understand those things that can change a world view, something hard to accept and hear. Faith in what a person cannot see, hear, or touch can be difficult, believing in what is old and unpopular is not easy. Repentance requires a person to change their whole life and way of thinking, rearranging one’s mind and life is a very complicated matter. Giving a confession that few understand or want to hear makes it hard to be a Christian; it is one thing to accept the truth personally, but it is another to let the world know.
If one can get through the first four steps of salvation, then the fifth is easy, the person gets into the water and allows God’s grace to wash clean all the sins of the past to be remembered no more (Rom. 6:1-6; Acts 22:16). Nevertheless, many churches require and teach the four most complicated and difficult steps, but the act of letting God wash away a person’s sins and add the individual to the church is ignored or manipulated against Scripture (Acts 2:47; Gal. 1:7). People get so close to the truth, but then falter at the final and easiest step to save their soul.
Christ initially taught the necessity of baptism to the world, and His apostles continued to teach the doctrine of saving, water baptism to the church. Christ stated just before He ascended to the right hand of God, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16). If Christ’s statement wasn’t obvious enough, his apostles made it even more blatant. Peter said, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…” (1 Peter 3:21). The apostle likewise told the household of Cornelius, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized…” (Acts 10:47). Paul told Titus, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration…” (Titus 3:5). The washing of regeneration, baptism, was taught and continues to be required by God for salvation.
When a person accepts the truth of baptism and obeys the gospel, God washes away all sin and creates a new creature in Christ, one of purity and grace (2 Cor. 5:17). Hearing the Word, believing the Word, repenting based of the Word, and confessing the Word is taught by almost every church, but only the church of the Lord will teach the final step of salvation, baptism. If one can accept the true teachings of Christ on baptism, then it will set the tone for the person’s future walk in the Lord. Being baptized is the result of a faith founded on truth and not on what people have said or what is popular (John 17:17). Accepting and following saving, water baptism will result in a strong walk in the Lord (Phil. 4:13).