After inviting Jesus as personal Savior, the next essential step is baptism. Initially, this ceremony is a proclamation that Jesus is Lord, then dunking under water symbolizes death of our old nature, and rising out of the water symbolizes new life in Jesus.
“When we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.”
Rom 6:3-6 NLT
Baptism isn’t exclusively required to be saved, but in order to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, it is essential. If someone prefers to be released from the honor of baptism, this indicates the heart is not with Jesus. Someone who loves the Lord and wants to be right with him, surely wants the benefits of being baptized.
“Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 11:16 NLT
If someone on their deathbed heard and received the Good News, then genuinely invited Jesus as Savior, but death arrived before having an opportunity to be baptized, salvation would still be realized. The thief on the cross wasn’t baptized, and Jesus told him he would be in paradise that very day. But, according to the New Covenant, we would be disobedient not to be baptized, so trying to slip in without baptism is not wise.
“Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away —all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
Acts 2:38-39 NLT
Concerning someone who has invited Jesus as Savior, but is not interested in being baptized, salvation is in question. This indicates the person does not have a relationship with Jesus, otherwise they would want the benefits of baptism. A Christian who conducts their life in a manner that reflects worldly values, in other words, not living under the leadership of Jesus, is taking a risk of hearing him say, “I don’t know you“.
“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’”
Matthew 25:7-12 NLT
In that excerpt, the foolish bridesmaids indicate people who are intending to someday draw close to the Lord, but never got around to it. Those who had plenty of oil indicate people who did draw close to the Lord and followed his leadership.
Baptism unites us with Jesus, he is always with us by the Holy Spirit, and will be our best friend if we allow him to be. Nothing compares to having a close relationship with the Lord, he has all the answers and wants the best for us. As we draw near to him, obedience and faithfulness naturally become part of who we are, and we are also given God’s inner peace, which cannot be doused by anything short of sin.
“And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.”
Gal 3:27 NLT
There are many benefits connected with baptism, such as the Holy Spirit empowering us as we work in the **Lord’s vineyard**. Spiritual gifts are part of the benefits, and the Spirit chooses which gifts to give each individual.
The concept of being saved is for forgiveness, allowing us to be eternally right with God, whereas the alternative is to be imprisoned in a place completely void of love. And, even if someone ends up in the horrible prison, existence of the soul is still eternal, always being conscious and aware. The place is filled with regret of past choices and pain that cannot be relieved. That horrible existence is what Jesus saves us from.
“Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.”
1 Cor 12:13 NLT
“Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.”
John 3:5-6 NLT
Who Is Jesus 2 - After Crucifixion
Fall and Rise of Man 2 - Born Again