Well, of course! What would make you think otherwise?
You might as well ask, “Do I have to go through a door to be inside the house?” You are either in or out. Baptism is the gateway ordained by God through which we have, “obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand,”-Romans 5:2. The Bible literally tells us it is the way we are saved, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”-I Peter 3:21.
Most people who ask the question about the necessity of baptism, would never inquire whether they needed to obey Jesus. But isn’t that what is really being said? Please consider our Savior’s words: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”-Mark 16:16. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”-Matthew 28:19. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”-John 3:5.
Baptism is not a work I perform to earn my salvation. It is an act to which I submit and the moment when God works. Let’s take a look at a few of the things God does when we are immersed by faith in, and obedience to, Christ Jesus.
God Raises: Just as it was God who raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24; I Corinthians 15:15), our heavenly Father raises us up in new life at our baptism. Listen to the words of Paul, “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”-Colossians 2:12.
God Gives Life: The promise of our salvation is a promise of eternal life. We are not made, “alive together with Christ”-Ephesians 2:5, until we are baptized. Paul tells us who quickens us and when in his letter to the church at Colossae. We know from the verse quoted above, he is referencing baptism when he says, “you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,”-Colossians 2:13.
God Sets Free: In Romans chapter six, there are two states under consideration. Alive to sin and dead to righteousness, “the wages of sin is death,”-Romans 6:23, or dead to sin and alive to righteousness, “having been set free from sin, have become slaves to righteousness.”-Romans 6:18. I become dead, then alive in the same way Jesus did. He died, was buried, rose, and, “lives to God.”-Romans 6:10. I am alive to sin until I am baptized into the death of Christ and rise alive to righteousness. Then, and only then, am I saved, “For one who has died to sin has been set free from sin.”-Romans 6:7. I am not free until I die. Then I stand in grace, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”-Romans 6:23.
God Forgives: From the moment Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sin and death have been humanity’s constant companion. It is from sin that Jesus is our Savior (Luke 1:76-77; I John 2:2). No human can be saved without their sins being forgiven. Praise God! He will wash us clean from sin when we are baptized in water! “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”-Titus 3:5. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”-Acts 2:38. “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”-Acts 22:16.
If you have not been immersed with, submerged into, then emerged from water in an act of obedient faith in Christ Jesus as the resurrected Son of God, confess him as Lord today! The power, grace, forgiveness and life of baptism are all from God! Praise his name!