What Christadelphians Believe about
Baptism and Salvation
"He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
As the above quote shows, belief, salvation and baptism are all intertwined. To be 'saved' you need to both believe and be baptised.
Being 'saved' is a phrase that is used very frequently nowadays. In Biblical terms it means to be granted immortality at judgement - saved from eternal death. This will be covered in more detail in future sections of this site, God willing.
What did Christ want us to believe? Verse 15 of Mark 16 makes this obvious: we are to believe the gospel. Also referred to as "gospel of the kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14, for example), the gospel is the teaching of Christ and his Apostles. In Acts 8:12. the gospel is called "the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ": the gospel is what Philip preached, and why his listeners were baptised. Again The Kingdom of God will be discussed elsewhere on this site, which leaves us with the topic of Baptism.
What is Baptism?
The Greek word from which we get 'baptism' essentially means 'submerge'. Baptism is full immersion in water. Acts 8:38 shows this: "and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptised him." If baptism did not require submergence, as the word itself suggests, then it would not have been necessary to go down into the water. Christ himself was baptised by being submerged - "And Jesus, when he was baptised, went up straightway out of the water:" To have come out of the water he must have been in it.
"Believe and be baptised." The order is important. Belief must come before baptism. In the New Testament we only read about people who believed being baptised. There are no recorded examples of unbelieving people being baptised. It follows, therefore, that babies cannot be 'baptised' in the Biblical sense. You must be capable of making the decision for yourself. Nobody can take it for you.
Spiritually, the simple act of baptism is very important. By being baptised your sins are washed away: "Arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16), "Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins," (Acts 2:38). By being baptised you are aligning yourself with Christ in a very special way. You join with him in his death so that you can join him in resurrection: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection," (Romans 6:3-6). You also become heirs to the promises made to Abraham: "For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ. ... And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise," (Galatians 3:27, 29).
Baptism is Essential
On its own, Mark 16:16 shows that baptism is essential. This point is massively reinforced by the passages in the paragraph above. To have your sins forgiven you need to be baptised. If you want to be in the likeness of Christ's resurrection - that is be resurrected yourself - you must also be in the likeness of his death. Fortunately the way we achieve that is by the simple act of being baptised. To be an heir to the promises made to Abraham you need to be baptised. In short to be saved you need to be baptised.
"Baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
(1 Peter 3:21)