Do You Have to be Baptized to go to Heaven?

By lan Warner

One of the problems with Christians is how easy it can be to get into a rules-based faith where you are trying to work your way to Heaven. It leads one to ask the question do you have to be Baptized to go to Heaven? But I think this question is the wrong way of looking at things. If you had to be baptized, it would be a works-based faith. That means that you earn your way to Heaven by what you do here on earth, instead of what Jesus Christ did.

One of the roadblocks to many Christians is the culture that we live in. The western world is all about doing your own thing. This does not fit well with a book with clear commands from God. Though the Bible is full of grace upon grace, it can be challenging for people to submit to anything other than themselves.

Our culture has been saturated in being told that you are unique and the best, and before long, you begin to think you are God. Then when you do experience the saving grace of Jesus, you begin to ask, do you have to get baptized to go to Heaven because there is no way that all the work can be done for you.

Saved By Faith, Not By Works

Romans 4: 1-6 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

Christians are saved by confessing with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and by believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 9). That means you believe in what God did for us through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. That is why our salvation is called the free gift from God because you can’t earn it.

It all comes through faith. Those who don’t have faith reject what Jesus did and refuse to submit to the idea that Jesus was God in the flesh and that he walked through this earth without any sin. Some can’t come to grips with Christianity because they are so used to earning everything. But, they can understand the idea of how being saved can be so easy.

Why Should Christians Get Baptized

James 2: 14-18  What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 

If this walk with Jesus is not about works, why get baptized? Baptism is about being obedient to God. We should do it because it brings him joy, and it represents, but it’s not the key to being saved. Unfortunately, Christians look at this the wrong way in wondering the bare minimum you need to do to get what you want, which is to avoid hell.

The better way of looking at it is being so delighted about what Jesus did for you on the Cross that you are happy to serve him. It brings you great joy to do anything pleasing to God. Baptisms are acceptable to God because it’s an outward symbol that represents an inward change.

Do You Have to be Baptized to go to Heaven?

God Wants Your Heart

Lust is a sin because it represents a horrible heart condition, and the same is to be said for hating your brother. You may know enough not to act on these things outwardly, but as a Christian, you have been given the Holy Spirit. That means that you can yield to the Spirit and live in this world like Christ.

We don’t do this because of our weak, sinful flesh. We don’t always want to deny ourselves completely. But you always have to remind yourself that God wants your heart. The most important thing to him is that you give him all of yourself.

Matthew 6: 19 – 21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Chrisitans are called to put our treasures in Heaven because nothing can destroy our salvation and the gift to come. After all, Jesus beat death, right? We need to lay our hope in that and not in things of this world. But what happens is people put their heart and soul into something in this world that will ultimately be defeated. Marriages end due to death, friendships fade, careers end, money leaves us, but the Glory of God is forever.

Why not put your heart into something that will never fade? The only reasons people deny this love are pride, not wanting to see the truth, and not wanting to deny yourself for something much better.

The Goal is Not Heaven But Knowing and Pleasing God

So many people criticize Christianity for saying it’s based on fear tactics. Christians just use the fear of hell to make people give their life to Christ. Though much of this has been done, it’s not why you should follow Christ. We are called to have a fear of the Lord, and that is healthy because he has the power to destroy our bodies and soul.

Pleasing and serving God is the goal. The result of doing this is going to Heaven. The first step to serving God is understanding what he did for us through Jesus, but it does not stop there. When we recognize this goodness, we want to help him all the time. What else is worth serving? Money becomes of less value, and pleasing man stops making sense as well.

When you make this shift in your mind, you begin to see the fruit of following Christ. It’s not about rules but about recognizing the grace he has showered over us. Asking do you have to be baptized to go to heaven does not account for the grace of God.

Why Do You Have to be Baptized to go to Heaven is the Wrong Question

Do you want to do the bare minimum in life? Were you the student who wanted to know the lowest grades you could get and still graduate? When I was in school, I was that person. I look back on it and regret it because I did not take advantage of the opportunities God put in front of me.

Our goal as Christians is to live for God and glorify him in everything we do. In Matthew Chapter 3, Jesus is Baptized by John. This is done before his ministry kicks off. If Jesus himself did not begin ministering to the world before getting baptized, that says something about what we should do too.

Refusing to be baptized says more about an ill heart than it does about whether God is going to let you into Heaven or not. Being obedient to the call of The Bible is hard, and if one cannot do something as simple as being dunked into water, there will be many more obstacles ahead.

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