There are many different thoughts and opinions about whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. Some argue that baptism is something a Christian should do as a sign of their faith once they have already been saved. They say that a Christian should be baptized, but it is not a requirement for salvation. After all, why would we need to be immersed in water in order to be saved from our sins? It is hard to accept that God would require this as part of His plan of salvation. However, if it was a necessary command in order to receive God’s grace, would you do it? What does the Bible say? Interestingly, there is a valuable lesson found in the Old Testament account of a man named Naaman.
Naaman was an army captain for the king of Aram, and he happened to be a leper (2 Kings 5:1). One of his servants was a captured Israelite girl who mentioned that there was a prophet in Israel who could cure him of his disease. Once in Israel and eventually coming to God’s prophet, Elisha’s orders were for Naaman to “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times,” and he would be cured (5:10). You would think upon hearing such great news that Naaman would be elated; however, we read that he was “furious,” for he had his own beliefs on how he would be saved from his condition.
Thankfully for Naaman his servants came and talked some sense into him saying that all he had to do was “Wash, and be clean” (5:13). Naaman humbled himself, obeyed the command, and “went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean” (5:14). He was healed because of his obedient faith. When Ananias came to Saul (Paul) in Damascus and restored his sight he said, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). Just like Naaman’s leprosy, Paul’s disease (sin) would not have been cured unless he obeyed and accepted the prescribed remedy of being baptized.
Why is this so? Because Jesus commanded it as part of His saving gospel: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). We are saved solely by the Grace of God, salvation is not earned. However, God’s remedy for sin is for us to believe and be baptized, in order to receive His cure. Just like Naaman and Paul, we too must accept what God has said if we want to be made clean!