The Necessity of Baptism
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above. The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8
Jesus is very clear in John 3:5 (the emboldened verse) about the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism, in order to enter into Heaven. He doesn’t speak in parables, or in ambiguous wording, but in clear, concise and understandable language that leaves no room for error. Truth is not kind to error.
We need baptism because we are born with original sin, thanks to our first parents Adam and Eve. Original sin is what cuts us off from the state of grace that we need to be in. Baptism cleanses us from original sin, and removes it, we are born anew. Without this we have nothing.
The Church recognizes 3 types of Baptism.
- Baptism by water and spirit, that is the baptism that we pour water over the head of the individual to be baptized and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s what makes a valid baptism. Not following this marks an invalid baptism, read, not baptized.
- Baptism by blood, is when you are not baptized but are martyred for the Catholic faith. You must have full remission of sins in order for this baptism to take effect.
- Baptism by desire, is when you are not baptized, are wanting to receive the sacrament, but die before receiving the sacrament. As the Catechism states: For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.” CCC 1259
As a convert, I can attest that receiving the Sacrament of Baptism marks a change in the person. I have less fears and have a stronger sense that God is with me. I have the mark and branding of God, so I am claimed by God as one of His own. Prior to receiving the Sacrament, the fear of Satan was very strong.
Jesus is very clear that we need baptism in order to enter into Heaven. These are Jesus’ words not mine. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below, or email me.
And do unbaptized infants and virtuous “pagans” get in under baptism of desire, or is that a technicality that ties up the hands of the infinite and almighty Lord?