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Baptism Never Saves Anyone

Baptism Is Not Required for Salvation

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Section One

Introduction

1.1 Introduction. Some people from various groups teach that you must be baptized to go to heaven. They may also claim that you must be born again by faith, but they insist that you must also be baptized for salvation. For example, the group calling themselves “Church of Christ” proclaims a false gospel. The Church of Christ is not a Christian denomination, but a cult masquerading as believers. They are not a part of the true church of Jesus Christ because they proclaim a false gospel, requiring water baptism for salvation. In other words, they falsely declare that you must be baptized to get into heaven. Some people refer to that practice as baptismal regeneration, meaning that you must be baptized to be born again and your sins forgiven. In this article, we will review some Bible passages which show that salvation comes by grace through faith, without baptism. Jesus certainly commanded all His disciples to be baptized, but Jesus taught that faith saves you, not baptism. So, we will review several Bible passages that show that baptism never saved anyone. Jesus said that anyone proclaiming a false gospel is accursed. To all people proclaiming that you must be baptized to go to heaven, we urge you to examine the Scriptures, repent of your false teaching concerning salvation and baptism, and receive Jesus as Savior by faith grace through faith. 

Section Two

Acts 2:38

2.1 Acts 2:38. Many people claim that Acts 2:38 shows that you must be baptized to go to heaven. Luke wrote: “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). In order to understand the meaning of the verse, let us start with the Greek text. Several points from the Greek text provide insight into baptism, repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

2.2 Repent. Parsing for the word “repent” (“μετανοήσατε”) shows: present, active, imperative, second person plural. Therefore, we know that Peter was issuing a command for you (plural–the people cut to the quick by Peter’s sermon) to be baptized. Jesus issued a similar command in Matthew 28:19, “baptizing them.” 

2.3 Be Baptized. Parsing for the word “be baptized” (“βαπτισθήτω”) shows: aorist, passive, imperative, third person singular. Therefore, we know that Peter was issuing a different command in the passive voice for the audience to be baptized. In this case, baptism follows repentance, and baptism is directly related to repentance. So, all the people were to repent, and each one was to be baptized. What about forgiveness of sins?

2.4 For the Forgiveness of Sins. The prepositional phrase “for the forgiveness of your sins” (“εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν”) deserves careful attention. The phrase “for forgiveness” (“εἰς ἄφεσιν”) occurs in several other passages and provides help for understanding its use in Acts 2:38.

2.4.1 Matthew 26:28. When Jesus inaugurated the Lord’s supper, Jesus said that the cup was the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins (“ἐκχυννόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν”). The blood of Jesus was poured out for sins, explaining the process of salvation.

2.4.2 Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3. John the Baptist was preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (“κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν”).  We know for sure that baptism by John the Baptist saved no one, because Jesus still had to shed His blood to purchase salvation (Matthew 26:28; compare Galatians 2:21–if baptism saves, then Christ died needlessly). John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins looking forward to Jesus dying and saving people. If John’s baptism was effective for the forgiveness of sins, then Jesus did not need to die on the cross. Therefore, we have strong evidence in Mark 1:4 that the phrase “for forgiveness of sins” does not mean that sin is removed by John’s baptism, or any other baptism.

2.4.3 Luke 24:46-47. Jesus opened the minds of two travelers heading to Emmaus: He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins “>would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'”  In this passage, Jesus prophesied that His disciples would preach in His name repentance for the forgiveness of sins (“μετάνοιαν εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν”). Therefore, the preaching of repentance would be tied directly to forgiveness of sins. Repentance and forgiveness of sins are entirely different things, but both related to salvation. Now, to summarize the evidence from the other uses of the phrase “for the forgiveness of sins,” please take notice:

The blood of  Jesus was poured out for the forgiveness of sins.

John the Baptist preached the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus prophesied that His disciples would preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Based upon those other uses, we know that the blood of Jesus was poured out for the purpose of forgiving sins.

John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance, for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.

Jesus prophesied that His disciples would preach repentance for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.

Neither the blood, nor the baptism, nor the repentance, saved anyone. They were all related to salvation, but they did not provide salvation. They were related to the purpose of salvation.

For example, Jesus shed His blood for the sins of the whole world, but the whole world was not saved. Likewise, John the Baptist baptized many people with the Baptism of Repentance, but they were not all saved. 

The disciples preached repentance for the purpose of forgiveness of sins, but not everyone who repented of their sins was saved. Baptism alone never saved anyone in any of the other uses of the phrase “for the forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 2:38 would be the exception if it used the same Greek phrase “for the forgiveness of sins” in a way it was not used in any of the other four occurrences in the New Testament. Three of the other four verses linked repentance to the forgiveness of sins, not baptism. The fourth verse is silent on baptism. Proving causality between adjacent phrases requires clear textual support.

Baptism and salvation are not causally related in Acts 2:38, based upon the other uses of the same phrase “for the forgiveness of sins” in the only other places it is used in the New Testament, as more fully described below.

2.5 Relationships. In Acts 2:38, how do the terms “Repent,” “Be Baptized” and “for the forgiveness of sins” relate to one another? To answer that question, we can look at other uses of those terms in Acts and elsewhere.

Section Three

Repent in Acts

3.1 Repent.  The term “Repent” occurred Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, 26:20. We can focus now upon those other uses of that term.

3.2 Acts 5:31. Luke wrote: “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31). Peter and the apostles declared that Jesus was a Prince and a Savior, and He granted repentance (“μετάνοιαν”) to Israel and forgiveness of sins (“ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν”). The two gifts from God, repentance and forgiveness of sins, were related, but distinct, gifts from God. One should not assume in Acts that if two things appear together, they necessarily mean the same thing or have the same relationship to something else. In particular, this verse illustrates the difference in gifts from God, and that both gifts relate to salvation, but they are not the same gifts. Repentance does not produce salvation, but is related to salvation. We must be very careful about assuming causation, which means that one thing caused the other thing. Just because two things are related in a verse does not mean one caused the other.

3.3  Acts 3:19. Luke wrote: “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Notice that the commands “repent” (“μετανοήσατε”–aorist active imperative)  and “return” (“ἐπιστρέψατε”–aorist active imperative) were linked to each other, and together they were then linked “to the wipe away” (“εἰς τὸ ἐξαλειφθῆναι”–present passive infinitive) “of your sins” (“ὑμῶν τὰς ἁμαρτίας”). This verse does not directly link baptism to the wiping away of sins, but it does link two commands: repent and return. Therefore, we see Acts has a pattern joining two words related to salvation that describe the purpose and process of salvation, but those commands do not form the essential basis for salvation. Be careful not to assume causation.

3.4 Acts 8:22. Peter said to Simon the Sorcerer, “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the higher reasoning of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22). This verse does not link repentance with salvation, but it does link “repent” (“μετανόησον”–aorist, active, imperative, second person singular) with “wickedness” (“κακίας“–genitive, singular, noun); then it describes the further process to be forgiven (“ἀφεθήσεταί “) through “request of the Lord” (“δεήθητι τοῦ κυρίου”).

3.5 Acts 11:18. Luke wrote: “When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, ‘Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life'” (Acts 11:18). In this verse, God gave Gentiles repentance to life (“μετάνοιαν εἰς ζωὴν ἔδωκεν”). Just as the prepositional phrase in Acts 2:38 (“εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν“) does not prove that baptism saves anyone, so also the prepositional phrase in Acts 11:18 (“εἰς ζωὴν ἔδωκεν”) does not prove that repentance saves anyone. One cannot assume that the preposition “εἰς” always means to result in something. In Acts, the preposition describes a relationship, but does not always describe causality, as the examples in this article show.

3.6 Acts 13:24. Luke wrote: “after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel” (Acts 13:24). In this verse, Paul declared that John had proclaimed before the coming of Jesus a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. Paul emphasized that John the Baptist proclaimed a baptism of repentance, not for salvation, but to prepare the way for Jesus, of Whom John the Baptist said he was unworthy to untie His sandals. The baptism of John the Baptist was not about salvation, but repentance. Therefore, John the Baptist made no claim that the baptism of repentance brought salvation, because John the Baptist explicitly declared that Jesus was the coming Savior; the baptism of John was about repentance, and preparation to receive Jesus as Savior. John the Baptist never indicated that baptism was essential for salvation, which was not mentioned in Acts 13:24.

3.7 Acts 17:30. Paul preached: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now proclaiming to all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Paul explained the pressing need for everyone to repent, because judgment from God is coming at the day fixed by God for all the world to be judged in righteousness by Jesus, raised from the dead as living proof to all men. Paul did not mention “baptism” in this verse, but he did urge all men everywhere “to repent” (“μετανοεῖν”–present active infinitive) with judgment coming.

3.8 Acts 19:4. Luke wrote: “Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’” (Acts 19:4). Similar to Acts 13:24, Paul described the baptism of John the Baptist as a baptism of repentance, which was not essential for salvation; such baptism did not remove sins, but prepared hearts to receive Jesus by faith.

3.9 Acts 20:21. Luke wrote: “solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21). Paul told the Ephesian elders that he testified to Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul did not say or imply that baptism was essential to salvation or that repentance was necessary for salvation. Paul preached repentance and faith, but they were not the same thing, but separate things. Only faith was essential to salvation.

3.10 Acts 22:16. Paul recounted the words Ananias spoke to him: “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” In this verse, God related a command (with a participle), “get up” (“ἀναστὰς”–aorist, active, participle, nominative singular–verbal relationship here) and “be baptized” (“βάπτισαι”–aorist, middle, imperative, second person plural) with two phrases: (1) “wash away” (“ἀπόλουσαι”–aorist, middle, imperative, second person plural) “your sins” (τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου”); and (2) calling on His name (“ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ”). In this case, the participle “calling” (“ἐπικαλεσάμενος”–aorist, middle, participle, nominative singular) relates to both of the imperatives, “be baptized” and “wash away your sins.” With the birth of Enosh, men began calling upon the name of Yahweh for spiritual help and salvation (Genesis 4:26).  Therefore, the concept of calling upon the name of the Lord coincided with the actions of “be baptized” and “wash away.” Notice that Acts has a now familiar pattern of relating two things about salvation, with salvation itself. In this case, the act of calling upon the Lord brings salvation. The two imperatives “be baptized” and  “wash away” relate to the process and purpose of salvation, but they are not involved in salvation itself. In other words, Acts shows a way of gathering together two commands that are associated with salvation, but distinct from salvation. If physical baptism (immersion in water) actually washed away sins, then it would not be necessary to call upon the name of the Lord. In fact, as above, Jesus did not need to die if baptism saved you. Actually, the washing away of sins relates directly to calling upon the name of the Lord. Ananias also assumed that every new believer would be immediately baptized, as witnessed by many verses, described below. 

3.11 Acts 26:20. Paul told King Agrippa that God commanded all people to repent (“μετανοεῖν”) and turn to God (καὶ ἐπιστρέφειν ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν), performing deeds appropriate to repentance (“μετανοίας”). Therefore, this use of the commands to repent and to turn follows the pattern of Acts in linking two commands related to a single purpose or process, as in Acts 3:19. Conversely, in neither Acts 26:20 nor in Acts 3:19 was baptism linked with salvation or repentance. In Acts, linking two commands to one purpose or process forms a pattern, but does not prove causation.

3.12 Summary of Repent. We can summarize several important features of Luke’s use of the term “repent” in  Acts.

Based upon the other uses in Acts of the term “repent,” we have strong reason to believe that in Acts 2:38, the two commands, “repent” and “be baptized” are linked together to each other and related to the purpose and process of salvation, but they are distinct from salvation, as they are in the other verses in Acts.

When anyone claims you must be baptized to be saved, they overlook the other verses in Acts that show how Luke used the term “repent” and “be baptized” to describe events separate from salvation.

Section Four

Be Baptized

4.1. Be Baptized. The term “baptism” occurs frequently in Acts. The question remains: “Is baptism essential to salvation, so that without baptism, no one goes to heaven?” We can look at the use of the term “baptism” in Acts to answer that question.

4.2 Acts 1:5. Luke wrote: “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). In the Book of Acts, baptism includes both water baptism and baptism with the Holy Spirit.

4.3. Acts 1:22. Luke wrote: “beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:22). The disciples picked a replacement for Judas to hold the office of apostle, distinct from the spiritual gift of apostle. One of the qualifications to hold the office of apostle was presence with the other disciples since the baptism of John.

4.4 Acts 10:37. Luke wrote: “you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed” (Acts 10:37). Peter recounted to the people the public ministry of Jesus beginning with the baptism of John.

4.5 Acts 13:24. Luke wrote: “after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel” (Acts 13:24). Paul also referenced John the Baptist and his proclamation of a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 

4.6 Acts 18:25. Luke wrote: “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John” (Acts 18:25). Apollos, mighty in the Scriptures, was only acquainted with the baptism of John. Priscilla and Aquilla explained the way of God more accurately to him (Acts 18:26).

4.7 Acts 19:3. Luke wrote: “And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism’” (Acts 19:3). When Paul came to Ephesus, he found twelve disciples, and they had not heard about the Holy Spirit. They had only been baptized into John’s baptism.

4.8 Acts 19:4. Luke wrote: “Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.'” (Acts 19:4). Paul then explained that John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus. John the Baptist never taught that baptism was necessary for salvation.

4.9 Acts 19:5. Luke wrote: “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5). After hearing about Jesus, the disciples were baptized in the name of Jesus. Then Paul laid hands upon them, and the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying (Acts 19:6). This passage, often referred to as the Ephesian Pentecost, showed the relationship of the baptism of John the Baptist to the fulfillment of his ministry with the arrival of Jesus, and subsequent faith and baptism in the name of Jesus.

4.10 All Believers Baptized. In Acts, believers were immediately baptized (Acts 2:41 (three thousand in Jerusalem); Acts 8:12-13 (Samaritans); Acts 8:36-38 (Ethiopian); Acts 9:18; 22:16 (Saul of Tarsus); Acts 10:47-48 (Gentiles); Acts 11:16 (Caesarea); Acts 16:15 (Lydia and her household in Philippi); Acts 16:33 (Philippian jailer and his household); Acts 18:8 (Crispus and many other Corinthians); Acts 19:3-5 (Ephesian disciples). Therefore, it would be unusual for any believer not to have been baptized. So, in Acts, the relationship between baptism and salvation is one to one, every person saved was baptized immediately. Yet, such a close correspondence has nothing to do with baptism saving anyone, but highlights the relationship between baptism and salvation as joined together in the believers in Acts. Nothing in Acts proves causality between baptism and salvation.

4.11 Summary of Baptism in Acts. The concept of baptism in Acts affirms that baptism always followed salvation, so that only believers were baptized in Acts. Nothing in Acts shows that you must be baptized to get into heaven.

Jesus promised believers would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not with the baptism of John the Baptist.

John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance, looking forward to Jesus, and faith in Him alone for salvation.

In Acts 10, when people believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they then spoke in tongues, evidencing their salvation. After they received the free gift of salvation, only then were they baptized as evidence of their salvation.

Nowhere in Acts does salvation save anyone.

Salvation never requires baptism.

Section Five

Forgiveness of Sin

5.1 Forgiveness of Sins. In Acts 2:38,  we read about the forgiveness (“ἄφεσιν”) of sins, related to the commands “Repent” and “Be Baptized.” In addition to the passages described above outside of Acts describing the phrase “for forgiveness” (“εἰς ἄφεσιν“), now we can review the use of the term “forgiveness” in Acts 5:31; 10:43; and 26:18.

5.2 Acts 5:31. Luke wrote: “>He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). Notice the connection between “repentance” (“μετάνοιαν “) and forgiveness of sins (“ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν”) in this verse. God gives both repentance and forgiveness through Jesus, Prince and Savior. They are related in this verse, but they are not the same thing. God did not mention baptism in this verse.

5.3 Acts 13:38-39. Luke wrote: “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins (“ἄφεσις ἁμαρτιῶν”) is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes (“πιστεύων”) is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39). Forgiveness of sins, again here, is linked to faith, and not to baptism or the Mosaic Law. Furthermore, just as the prophets of the Old Testament never mentioned baptism as essential for salvation, so also the Mosaic Law did not describe baptism as essential for salvation. Only faith provides forgiveness of sins in the Old Testament.

5.4 Acts 10:43. Luke wrote: “‘Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.'” (Acts 10:43). Peter declared that all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes (“πιστεύοντα”) in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins (“ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν”). The Old Testament prophets never mentioned baptism as essential to salvation, but they did bear witness to faith being essential to salvation.

5.5 Acts 26:18. Luke wrote: “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’” (Acts 26:18). Similar to Acts 10:43, Paul was commissioned by Jesus to proclaim to the Gentiles the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins (“ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν”) and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith (“τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις πίστει”) in Christ. Therefore, we know that here Paul did not mention baptism as related to salvation or sanctification, but he did describe sanctification by faith in Christ.

5.6 Summary of Forgiveness in Acts. The other uses of the term “forgiveness” in Acts do not support a causal link between salvation and baptism.

In Acts, salvation was linked to faith in Jesus for forgiveness of sins.

The Old Testament prophets did not mention baptism as essential to salvation, nor did the Law of Moses; they did emphasize  salvation by faith alone.

When people today impose an obligation to be baptized as a requirement for salvation, they have fallen into the error of people in the New Testament requiring believers to keep the law as essential to salvation. God condemned all teaching that added anything to faith in Christ as Savior.

Section Six

Salvation without Baptism

6.1 Examples. Some examples from the New Testament show that salvation did not require baptism.

6.2 Luke 23:43. As Jesus hung on the cross, He said to one of the thieves crucified next to Him: “And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:43).  Consider the thief on the cross next to Jesus Christ. After that thief made a profession of faith while hanging on the cross, Jesus promised him that he would be with Jesus in paradise the same day. Of course the thief never received baptism, but went to paradise with Jesus.  This verse alone proves that salvation does not depend upon baptism, because the thief was never baptized, but was saved.

6.3 Acts 10:48. The Gentiles believed in the name of Jesus Christ, and they received forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43). The Holy Spirit then fell upon those believers, and the new believers began speaking in known tongues, exalting God (Acts 10:46). Notice that these believers received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues before they were baptized. Therefore, because the people had received the Holy Spirit and were already speaking in tongues, we know from the text that they were already saved. In Acts, only believers have the Holy Spirit poured out upon them.  Only believers speak in known tongues, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, exalting God. Notice, they were saved before they were baptized in this passage. Therefore, salvation came before baptism, and baptism remains related to salvation, but distinct from salvation. The people were not baptized until Acts 10:48, after they were already saved. People today do not argue that the lack of baptism destroys your salvation already obtained, but rather that without baptism, you cannot be saved. The Bible affirms the eternal security of all people born again by faith in Christ. Therefore, Acts 10:48 should silence all those people who promulgate the heresy of baptismal regeneration.

6.4 Acts 15:1.  Luke wrote: “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). The early church dealt with people who sought to impose additional requirements beyond faith for salvation. In Acts 15, some people said you have to be circumcised according to the custom of Moses, or you cannot be saved. People today substitute the word “baptism” into that verse, and claim that you have to be baptized, or you cannot be saved.  Anyone who adds further requirements to salvation, such as circumcision, keeping the Law of Moses, or baptism, makes the same error. Only faith in Jesus brings salvation, and adding anything else to it pollutes the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

6.5 Summary of Examples. The examples above show that salvation never required baptism.

No one can argue truthfully that you must be baptized to be saved, because the thief on the cross was saved, but never baptized.

The believers in Acts 10:44-48 were saved and then baptized. Unless someone wants to argue you lose your salvation if you are not baptized, which is nonsense because believers have eternal security, then baptism never saves you, but only saved people should be baptized.

Section Seven 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Did Not Include Baptism

7.1 1 Corinthians 1:17. Paul wrote that “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void” (1 Corinthians 1:17).  Paul distinguished the Gospel of Jesus Christ from baptism. The Gospel of Jesus Christ saved people from their sins; baptism never saved anyone. 

7.2 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Paul described the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Paul never included baptism as part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

7.3 Galatians 1:8. Paul warned about distortions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8). When anyone adds the requirement of baptism for salvation, then they have distorted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Paul faithfully preached (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). It did not include baptism and requiring baptism for salvation distorts the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God called accursed all beings who preach anything contrary to Gospel of Jesus Christ.

7.4  1 Peter 3:21. Peter likewise explained that baptism never saved anyone: “Corresponding to that [ark], baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). God revealed that an appeal to God for a good conscience now saves you, but not water baptism. Peter plainly stated that Christ died for sins once for all, so that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Water baptism never saved anyone.

7.5 Ephesians 2:8-9. Paul declared: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, the gift of God;not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Paul preached salvation by grace through faith, without works. Anyone who proclaims that you must be baptized to go to heaven has added the work of baptism to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which does not include any works by man to obtain salvation.

7.6 Romans 4:5. Paul taught: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,” (Romans 4:5).  Paul emphasized faith alone as the basis for salvation, without works. In Romans 4, Paul demonstrated that Abraham and David were saved by faith, not by any form of works, including circumcision, which amounted to a human work. While circumcision was commanded in the Old Testament, and penalties attached for disobedience, circumcision was never essential for salvation in the Old Testament or elsewhere.  When people today try to make baptism essential for salvation, they should learn the lesson taught in the New Testament about how faith alone saves people, not baptism, not circumcision, nor anything else added to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By some counts, over one hundred verses in the New Testament show that faith brings salvation.

7.7 Summary of The Gospel of Jesus Christ and Baptism. No writer of the Old Testament or the New Testament ever taught that water baptism saves anyone, or that it was required for salvation. 

 Paul did not come to baptize, but to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ never included baptism. 

Any being who distorts the Gospel of Jesus Christ shall be accursed by God.

Baptism never saved anyone.

Salvation comes by grace through faith, without works.

Baptism amounts to a work like circumcision; commanded by God, but not essential to salvation. In the Old Testament, people were saved by faith alone, and circumcision played no role in salvation. In the New Testament, people demanding circumcision for salvation were accursed by God.

From cover to cover, the Bible provides that salvation only comes by faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross and resurrection; our works never play a part in salvation. God commanded many things, but only tied the command to “Believe” as essential to salvation.  

Conclusion

Baptism never saves anyone. Neither Acts 2:38 nor any other verse in the Bible supports the view that salvation requires baptism. Anyone proclaiming that only people baptized go to heaven distorts the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and God calls such people accursed. We pray that God will bless His inspired word to teach, reprove, correct and train people in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Please recognize that the Church of Christ, and all other beings who proclaim that salvation requires baptism, oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which only requires saving faith. Our faith, a gift of God, brings salvation, and faith does include works like baptism, so that no one may boast.

HALLELUJAH !