Salvation is a process beginning with God’s grace1 to all, received by some through their faith in Jesus Christ1,2, and fulfilled in their living Godly lives1,2. Scripture is very consistent on the critical role of baptism6,7,8,9,10. It’s requirement for salvation is stated emphatically3,6 and demonstrated over and over by new converts4,5,9. Specifically, it is the very first “work” of obedience4,6,9, the moment we are cleansed and forgiven of sin and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit6,7,8 – exactly how Jesus appears to be defining being “born again” to Nicodemus11.
Maybe you can only get to a point of saying it’s “important” or will go so far as to say it’s “very important”? You aren’t alone! This is what many say, not willing to go so far as to conclude it is required for salvation. A recent national ad campaign for a website – FindingTruePeace – counsels believers to “consider baptism” — this is after they have been taught to say the ‘sinners prayer’ for salvation.
If that’s your position, where does that leave you? Isn’t that rather ambiguous when one’s eternal salvation/damnation is weighing in the balance? Is that the instruction we see given in any Bible example or the attitude we find in any new believer we read about in Scripture?
Just because one aspect of our salvation is emphasized in one part of Scripture (grace through faith in Ephesians)1, doesn’t negate or minimize other aspects of our salvation mentioned elsewhere in Scripture2,3,4,6,7,8,9. In fact, there are many aspects of our salvation. That these are only possible by God’s good grace is unquestioned…but there are many aspects nonetheless. It is not unusual or inappropriate for an inspired writer to emphasize one aspect over another given the broader context of his message and the overall point he’s trying to make. It explains why Paul would choose to emphasize grace (“grace through faith”)1 given his broader message to the Christians in Ephesus while James emphasizes works (“faith without works is dead”)2 in his letter to Jewish Christians.