Summary: 3 arguments water baptism does not equivocate to salvation.
3 Proofs Water Baptism Doesn't Save
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
Most of our preaching is, and should be about the careful laying forth of Christian truth, but every now and then we need to discuss why certain beliefs are wrong and detrimental. This is exemplified many times in scripture. In Colossians for example Paul argues against people who were focusing on what to eat and drink, and the observance of special days. In James the writer is trying to bring a balance to those who were advocating a faith but had no practical evidence of it. In Galations, Paul argues against works based salvation, and so on. So today, I want to make 3 brief points on why baptism doesn't save. Many of you have come out of a Catholic background and you were taught that without water baptism you didn't stand a chance of going to heaven. So today rather than giving a long argument on what is the biblical basis and understanding of salvation, I will simply give three proofs water baptism doesn't save. Please understand, I am not saying we don't need to be water baptized. Quite the opposite is true, baptism is not an option, it is a command, and if you haven't been water baptized you need to do so immediately. This study should help you think through a few facets of salvation particularly in the area of water baptism as it relates to salvation.
So here are 3 Proofs Water Baptism Doesn't Save:
1. There is no evidence the first believers received Christian water baptism.
You ask how is that a proof? That doesn't sound like a proof of anything, does it? Just try to follow my thinking here. If water baptism is necessary for salvation, then don't you think God would want to show us this in the example of the first people who were saved? How could God skip over how the first converts got saved as regards water baptism. We know they believed Jesus, and that He rose from the dead, so if something more were required for them to be saved, don't you think God would have told us about it?
The crowd on the day of Pentecost were not the first believers, they were water baptized by the first believers. It appears evident from scripture that believers do the water baptizing. That would require Christ to have water baptized the Apostles, after His resurrection, There are two reasons for that, the first is that because no one could receive New Testament salvation prior to Jesus dying and being raised from the dead. Secondly if only believers can baptize others Jesus had to have baptized the first followers, no one else would have been qualified to do it. If water baptism were essential for salvation it is mind boggling that there is no mention of the water baptism of the first converts. When did Peter, James, John and all the others receive Christian water baptism? How could God leave out the story of their water baptism. The answer is simple, they didn't need to be water baptized to be saved and that is why it is not recorded.
What is recorded, is, that they are praying in an upper room and they are baptized in the Holy Spirit, no connection whatsoever is made between that and water baptism. They had fulfilled what Paul considers requirements for salvation and needed no other.
Ro 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
If God were trying to lay out the theological foundation that water baptism saves, surely the first water baptism service would have been recorded, but it wasn't. The connection to water baptism and the first believers was omitted in scripture, this is no small oversight, it is intentional on God's part, because there is no connection. Which leads us to the 2nd proof:
2. There is no formula for water baptism in the scripture.
If one assumes that the scriptures teach water baptism is essential for salvation, then one should be able to easily point out in scripture how and when such an important act should be done. There is no place like that in all of scripture, water baptism is mentioned. but there are no definitive instructions in scripture. How could this be, if it is essential for salvation? We are told that faith is a requirement for salvation, but we are also left with no doubt on what we are to believe. How is it possible that water baptism could be essential for salvation and no explicit instructions are given? It would be like God saying we had to believe to be saved, but not telling us what to believe.