Bible Question:

I am having a problem with family and friends saying that if you are not baptized in Jesus' name and filled with the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) then you are not saved and are going to hell! I believe that Jesus is God and came to earth to save us from our sins. I believe that He died on the cross for that sole purpose. I love the Lord, and I can't seem to find a true Bible believing church that teaches the whole Bible and not just what they think is right. I have children, and I know we should be going to church; but I don't know where. Please help me understand better on this situation? Thank you very much. These teachings have helped me understand my Bible studies so much better!

Bible Answer:

The Bible indicates that baptism is not required in order to have your sins forgiven (“to be saved”) and spend eternity with God. If we were to look at all of the passages in the New Testament that discuss “being saved” or “salvation,” we would discover that only five of twenty-seven mention baptism in the passage. Not one of those five teach that baptism is required in order to be saved.

Five Passages

The five references to baptism are found in Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38 and 1 Pet. 3:21. When only five out of twenty-seven passages refer to baptism, we must ask, “Is baptism required in order to have our sins forgiven?” If baptism is essential for salvation, why was it not mentioned in the other twenty-two passages? Why would God allow that to happen? If it is needed to be saved, then very important information was left out.

Baptism Not Required

If we look at the five passages closely, we discover that the passages do not teach that baptism is required in order to be saved, that is, to have our sins forgiven. We would encourage you to read the study titled, “Baptism and Salvation.” It explains that those five passages do not teach that baptism is necessary. Baptism is only a symbol of your faith. Being baptized is an act of an inner submission to Jesus. It is a sign that you are willing to submit to Jesus Christ.

Baptism does not save you. The Apostle Paul tells us that we are not saved by doing things for God. That would include getting baptized.

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (NASB) Rom. 4:2-3

Baptism is a form of works. The only thing that saves us is faith in Jesus Christ. The evidence of true faith is a willingness to submit to Jesus (1 Cor. 12:3).

Filled With the Holy Ghost

The Bible teaches that if one is saved, that is, one’s sins are forgiven, the Holy Spirit lives inside of them. I assume that when you say “filled with the Holy Ghost” you are referring to the obvious display of tongues and other manifestations of the Spirit. But the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16-22 that if we are led by the Spirit, if the Holy Spirit is living in us, and if we are walking in the Spirit, then the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh . . . But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gal. 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law . . . If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (NASB) Gal. 5:16, 18, 22, 25

He never mentions the gifts of the Spirit. The real proof that the Holy Spirit is inside you is the presence of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness . . . There are other spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to believers besides tongues. He gives the gifts of teaching, mercy, administration, and giving. They prove that a person is Spirit filled too!

Conclusion:

The apostles never commanded us to find a spiritual gift to prove that we are followers of Jesus. They never told us that baptism saves us. But if one is a Christian, one will get baptized as an act of obedience; and the Holy Spirit will do a work in one’s life to make one more like Jesus. Then we will see the fruit of the Spirit.

Related Links:

Baptism and Salvation
Do you believe that baptism is a part of salvation?
Is baptism (immersion) essential for salvation?
Is baptism symbolic?
How can I know the Spirit of God has come on me?
The Holy Spirit
Power Living