The theme throughout the New Testament is clear: Only believers are baptized. The Bible says that faith in Christ alone saves. Romans 10:9 states, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” If baptism was the final saving mechanism, then we’d be guilty of baptizing unbelievers.
Here are a few misunderstood passages:
1. Acts 2:38, “Peter said, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins … .'” Repentance is the key to remission (forgiveness), not baptism. Baptism identifies the believer with Christ much in the same way that circumcision identified the relationship that God had with the Old Testament saints. Circumcision did not save, believing did: “Abraham believed in the Lord, and God counted it to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). Baptism does not save; it reflects what has already been done in the heart.
The Jews knew of John’s baptism and the baptism of the Gentiles into Judaism, but not necessarily baptism in the name of Jesus. Peter was clarifying that there is a distinct difference: “Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” To be baptized “in the name of Jesus” was a radical step. Unlike today in America, it often resulted in the loss of family, association and employment. A person who was baptized was serious about their conversion. They truly understood Jesus’ words, “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33). FULL REPORT