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Is Water Baptism Essential for Salvation?

The Word on the Street

From Ray Comfort’s book, The Word on the Street.

Some believe that water baptism is essential to be saved. However, the Scriptures tell us that the Gentiles were saved before they were baptized in water:

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. (Acts 10:44–46)

Notice that Scripture says “the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.” They had already received the gift of salvation. They had been saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit. They weren’t saved by being baptized; it was God’s grace alone that saved them:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

“To maintain that baptism is a requirement for salvation is to add to the grace of God. It is to preach that grace isn’t enough, and that flies directly in the face of Scripture.”

The thief on the cross simply repented and believed. He couldn’t get baptized in water, nor did he need to, because grace was enough to save him.

It was only after the Gentiles had been saved that they were then baptized in water. After acknowledging that they had already received salvation, Peter said,

“Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:47)

If water baptism were essential for salvation, the apostle Paul would have clearly said so, and would have no doubt made sure he baptized people to save them. But he didn’t. He instead said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:17). That’s because it is the gospel that is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

To maintain that baptism is a requirement for salvation is to add to the grace of God. It is to preach that grace isn’t enough, and that flies directly in the face of Scripture.

From Ray Comfort’s book, The Word on the Street.

The Word on the Street
1. Why This Controversial Open-Air Preaching Tactic Is Actually Biblical
2. Want to Open-Air Preach? Use a Talent to Draw a Crowd
3. Without Repentance, Sinners Will Perish
4. How Should Open-Air Preachers Handle Hecklers?
5. Should a Woman Open-Air Preach?
6. How to Share the Gospel with a Muslim… WITHOUT Offending Them
7. Overcoming Fear When Sharing Your Faith
8. These Bible Verses Prove a Literal Hell
9. Is Water Baptism Essential for Salvation?
10. The Mission Field at the College Campus
11. Ray Comfort’s Tips for Picking an Open-Air Location
12. Memorize This Scripture if You Want to Share the Gospel

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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