Must I Be Water Baptized to go to Heaven?
Q: Must I be water baptized to go to heaven?
A: No. As important as water baptism is, we know from multiple scriptures that it’s not what saves a person. What does save a person is the new birth resulting from faith in the shed blood of Jesus, confession of Him as Lord and believing that God raised Him from the dead (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22; Revelation 1:5; Romans 10:9-10).
Some have thought Acts 2:38 tied water baptism to salvation. It says, “You must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
But let’s look at this in the context of what was happening. The Apostle Peter had just preached a sermon on one of the most dynamic subjects there is—the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This sermon was so power-packed that the Bible says it cut to the hearts of the hearers. Acts 2:41 says that they which gladly received his Word were baptized, and 3,000 souls were added to the Church that day. It was believing the Word which got the people born again, not water baptism.
While water baptism is not necessary to go to heaven, it does play a significant role in the life of the believer. The baptismal waters represent a burial ground. They are a physical point of contact to help you release your faith and grasp with your mind what has already happened to you on the inside when you accepted, by faith, what Christ did for you by His blood.
When a person is immersed in water during baptism, he should see his old nature as being dead, buried and gone. When he is raised out of the water, he should see himself raised up as a new creation, with a brand new life. In other words, baptism is the outward sign that he is now dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11-13).