Do You Have to Be Baptized to Go to Heaven? Answered!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 04/09/23 •  9 min read

There is a lot of confusion about whether or not you have to be baptized to go to heaven. Some people believe that if you are a good person, you will automatically go to heaven when you die.

Others think that baptism is necessary for salvation. So what does the Bible say? Is baptism mandatory for getting into heaven?

Today, we are going to look at what the Bible says about baptism and salvation. We will also answer some common questions about the topic and dispel some myths about it.

What is Baptism?

Do You Have to Be Baptized to Go to Heaven

Baptism is one of the seven Mysteries, or Sacraments, of the Orthodox Church. It is also a practice that is shared by many other Christian denominations.

The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word βάπτω, which means “to dip, immerse, or submerge.”

In baptism, a person is submerged in water as a symbol of their cleansing from sin and their new life in Christ. After being baptized, the person is anointed with holy oil, which is also known as Chrismation.

Chrismation is another one of the Mysteries or Sacraments of the Orthodox Church. It is a sacred anointing with oil that is blessed by the Bishop.

The oil is used to seal the person being baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is why baptism and Chrismation are often done together.

Who Can Be Baptized?

In the Orthodox Church, anyone can be baptized, regardless of age or gender. In the early days of Christianity, adults were the only ones who were baptized.

This is because they were the only ones who could make a conscious decision to follow Christ.

Nowadays, however, it is common for babies and young children to be baptized. This is because their parents make the decision to have them baptized and raise them in the Orthodox faith.

Other denominations have different policies on who can be baptized. For example, some believe that only adults can be baptized because they are the only ones who can make a conscious decision to follow Christ.

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Does Baptism Cleanse Us from All Sin?

Does Baptism Cleanse Us from All Sin - Original Sin

Baptism is a sacrament that washes away our original sin.

A Few Things About The “Original Sin”

The original sin is not a personal sin that we have committed.

Christianity teaches that when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they corrupted their nature.

As a result, we are all born with a fallen nature. This is why we experience things like pain, suffering, and death.

Baptism washes away the consequences of the original sin and makes us children of God. It also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence in our lives. He helps us to live a holy life and to resist temptation.

So, Baptism grants us remissions of our sins and entrance into the Church.

In Jeremiah 17:9 -10, it says:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

This verse shows us that our hearts are not good. We are all born with a sinful nature. This is why we need Lord Jesus Christ to save us from our sins.

Read Also: What is Theosis? Everything About Orthodox Deification

Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation - Christian Baptism

Now that we have looked at what baptism is and what it does, let’s see if it’s necessary for salvation.

The answer depends on the denomination.

The Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant churches teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. They believe that baptism washes away original sin and makes a person a part of the church.

Other Protestant churches teach that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They believe that it is an outward sign of an inward change and that it demonstrates a person’s faith in Christ.

So, what does the Bible say?

There are a few verses that seem to indicate that baptism is necessary for salvation. In Acts 2:38, Apostle Peter tells the people to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

And in Mark 16:16, Jesus says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

However, there are also verses that indicate that baptism is not necessary for salvation. In John 3:16, Jesus says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

And in Romans 10:9, Paul says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

So, what’s the answer?

The truth is if we follow the Church that still teaches what the Early Church Fathers taught, baptism is necessary for salvation. Even Jesus was baptized!

But only God can judge whether or not someone is truly repentant and has faith. So, we need to be careful about judging others.

A great example we can give is the following:

Imagine a person joins the Orthodox Church and wants to be baptized, but a few days before their baptism, they get into a car accident and die.

Are they saved?

The Church would say yes! Even though they were not able to receive the sacrament of baptism, their desire to be baptized demonstrates their repentance and faith.

And since we believe that God is just, we believe that He would not condemn someone for something that they were not able to do.

After all, it was God’s will that he would die in that car accident, and it was not the person’s fault that they were not able to be baptized.

So, we see that even though baptism is necessary for salvation, God is merciful and just, and He will not condemn someone for something beyond their control.

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What Does The Bible Say About Baptism?

do you have to be baptized to go to heaven - Bible Verses

Now let’s see a few examples from the Bible where baptism is mentioned:

1. In Matthew 3:13-15, We See The Baptism of Jesus Christ.

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’

Jesus answered, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.

We can see from this passage that Jesus, who was sinless, was baptized. He did this to “fulfill all righteousness.” Which means that He was setting an example for us to follow.

2. In John 3:5, Jesus Tells us That We Must Be Born of Water.

“Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'”

We see here that baptism is essential to salvation. When Jesus says “they are born of water” He is referring to baptism. We are not born again without it.

3. Ephesians 4:5-6 Tells us That There is One Baptism.

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism”;

This verse is telling us that there is only one baptism. And that is the baptism in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Related Read: Did Moses Go to Heaven?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have to Be Baptized to Go to Heaven - FAQs

What Happens if You Never Get Baptized?

Although baptism is an important sacrament in many Christian denominations, it is not always required for salvation. One way to say this is with the example we gave above: if someone wants to be baptized but dies before they are able to receive the sacrament, they will still be saved because it was their intention to be baptized.

It all comes down to faith and repentance. God is the only one who can judge whether or not someone has these things, so we need to be careful about judging others.

Do You Have to Be Baptized to Be A Godparent?

Yes, in most Christian denominations, you must be baptized to be a godparent.

This is because the godparent is taking on a responsibility to help raise the child in the faith. And if they are not themselves baptized, it would be difficult for them to fulfill this duty. Other requirements for godparents vary from denomination to denomination.

For example, in the Orthodox Church, godparents must be older than 12 years old.

Who Told us Baptism is Necessary to Enter Heaven?

Saint Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that we were all baptized into one body.

“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

So, it was not just one person who said that baptism is necessary. It was the whole early Church. The Church Fathers also wrote about baptism being necessary for salvation. Saint Augustine, for example, said:

“The sacrament of baptism is most assuredly the sacrament of regeneration.”

You might be thinking, “But I thought Jesus said that we should just believe in Him and we would be saved.”

And you would be right! Jesus did say that. In John 3:16, He says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.”

But, in the verse, John 3:5, He says, “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

So, if we know that the Bible was written by humans but inspired by the Holy Spirit, and we know that the Church was founded by Jesus Christ, then we must conclude that both the Bible and the Church teach that baptism is a sacrament that is necessary for salvation.

Final Thoughts

So, what do we make of all this?

Water Baptism is a sacrament that was instituted by Jesus Christ. It is necessary to go to heaven. And, it is the best way to start our new life in Him.

There are a few examples we can think that a person who is not baptized can still be saved. But we need to be careful about making that judgment. Because, in the end, only God knows the heart of each person.

Also, every denomination and Christian community has different beliefs about baptism, and we need to respect those beliefs. If you have any questions or comments about this article, please feel free to contact us.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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