Baptism is a ritual, and only a symbolic demonstration of a Salvation we obtain *before* Water Baptism. Water Baptism symbolizes, as a public proclamation, the Spirit Baptism within.

As such, Water Baptism is not an essential part of Salvation, but only a public confession, telling the world in which we lived that we are no longer living that way, but rather, living according to Christ. Water Baptism was not the essential thing. Inward change was the essential thing. Water Baptism was only an external testimony to the public that we had *already been saved.*

Baptism is not necessary for salvation. Why did Jesus tell us to do it? It was a reasonable way to publicly proclaim our initiation into the Christian Faith. Jesus wanted us to not just declare our salvation--he wanted us to publicly declare it in an open ritual--not as if the ritual was necessary, but only as one means of showing the world our change of heart.

Salvation has always been a matter of faith. If not, then all the people who ever lived before Christian Baptism are damned! But Christian Baptism is a testimony to the world of a different way of living that ensures Salvation, through faith in Christ and in a new way of life.

Those who believe in Christ, and who demonstrate a new way of life, will be saved. This means that all those whose faith saved them, and make their Christianity a public proclamation through water baptism, will also be saved. This means that all those whose faith saved them, get baptized, and live a Christian life, as opposed to the ways of the world, will be saved.

The ritual of Baptism is not a necessary ingredient in Salvation. It is just the recommended ritual Jesus advocated in his time, to testify to the world a message he wanted the world to hear. It was important in its time, due to the preparatory work John the Baptist had done, to promote repentance.

Repentance is still an important precursor to embracing Christian Salvation. But Salvation comes not by Water Baptism, but rather, by Spirit Baptism, which is what Water Baptism represents. It is accepting Christ by faith, and by making the associated internal changes conducive to Christian living.

Water Baptism is purely ritual--just one means of proclaiming our faith--and not necessary for Salvation. Christian Salvation is strictly internal and by faith. Once Christianity has been established in the heart by *Spirit Baptism,* then Christianity may be demonstrated outwardly in a variety of ways--by good works, by public testimonials, by baptism, by catechism, by going to Bible School, by participating in Christian forums. The important thing is that we have Christ living on the inside, and that we make that commitment permanent!