After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. (John 3:22)
Jesus Taught Baptism
The religious world denies salvation by baptism. Very few people who believe in Jesus Christ will affirm that baptism has anything to do with salvation, teaching a faith-only doctrine of redemption. They will cite the “Sinner’s prayer” as the means of washing away sins. Accepting Jesus as a personal Savior is how many believe a person becomes a child of God. Protestant churches deny baptism as essential. They teach a person can receive eternal life without baptism. For example, it is stated in the Hiscox Standard Manual for Baptist Churches that “Baptism is not essential to salvation, for our churches utterly repudiate the dogma of ‘baptismal regeneration; but it is essential to obedience since Christ has commanded it.” The Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches teach justification by faith alone. For the most part, the religious world denies baptism can save.
Followers of Jesus Christ are people who abide by the teaching of Jesus Christ. It is remarkable (and sad) that so many religious folks dedicate their lives to serving the Lord and denying what He does and what He teaches. Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. His baptism was not to wash away sin but to fulfill all righteousness. God the Father accepted what Jesus did as part of the divine plan when He spoke from Heaven that He was pleased with the baptism of Jesus. If baptism was not an essential part of the coming kingdom, why did Jesus go into the land of Judea and baptize? It seems incredulous that followers of Christ would deny something Jesus preached regularly during His ministry.
Many believed Jesus to be the Son of God but refused to give their allegiance to Him lest they fall out of favor with men. Many of the Pharisees and lawyers who heard the teaching of Jesus rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by John the Baptist. They denied it had anything to do with salvation. Holding fast to the Law, they rejected the teaching of Jesus and the prophetic word of John the Baptist. It does not seem remarkable the attitudes of the Pharisees and lawyers remain today for those who firmly deny the essential nature of baptism for salvation. And yet, Jesus went into Judea, and many were baptized.
The moment of salvation is a crucial part of a person’s life. It is the single moment in time when the soul darkened by the stain of sin is washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ. Through the grace, mercy, and love of a kind Father, redemption is granted that places a person into a covenant with God for eternal life. That moment is not when a person accepts Christ as their personal Savior. It is not the moment a good feeling comes over a person. The eternal moment in a person’s life that grants him acceptance into the body of Christ is when they are baptized in water for the remission of their sins. Not a moment sooner. There is no hope of salvation without Biblical baptism (immersion; not pouring or sprinkling or infant baptism). The final words of Jesus to the eleven were unambiguous and demonstrative: if a person believes and is baptized, they will be saved. If they do not believe and refuse to accept baptism as essential for salvation, they will be lost to perdition. Jesus taught baptism throughout His ministry and left the Father’s word for all those who seek eternal life to obey His command. Baptism is essential. Jesus said so.