Some argue that Galatians 3:27 teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. However, clearer Scripture passages definitively teach that baptism is not necessary for salvation—since justification is by faith alone—and there is a very reasonable of Galatians 3:27 that does not contradict with the doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Galatians 3:27 – Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.Galatians 3:27
Those who argue that baptism is necessary for salvation argue that only people who have been baptized have “put on Christ.”
The Answer – Galatians 3:27 – Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
Galatians 3:27 Is Likely About Baptism By the Holy Spirit, Not by Water
The context of Galatians 3:27 does not necessitate believing that Paul is referring to water baptism here. In fact, there is good reason to believe that Paul is actually referring to baptism by the Holy Spirit in Galatians 3:27.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul utilizes the same phrase, “baptized into,” in reference to baptism by the Holy Spirit.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.1 Corinthians 12:13
We know that there is such a thing as baptism by the Holy Spirit because John 1:33 says this:
I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who ”’baptizes with the Holy Spirit”.”John 1:33
Paul’s Entire Argument In Galatians Is Justification By Faith Alone
This is what Paul writes in Galatians 2:16.
…yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.Galatians 3:27
Throughout the book of Galatians, Paul is extremely clear that salvation and justification occur because of ”’faith alone”’, and not because of any work. We should assume that Paul would not contradict his entire argument by what he writes in Galatians 3:27.
Salvation Is Through Faith Alone
There are clear passages that teach that salvation and justification is through faith alone. 1 Peter 3:21 is not entirely clear concerning whether baptism is necessary for salvation, so we must interpret 1 Peter 3:21 in light of Scripture’s clear teaching elsewhere concerning what ”’is”’ necessary for salvation.
To read more, see Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?