1) Mark 16:16 - He Who Believes and Is Baptized Will Be Saved
Where does this verse place salvation in relation to baptism?
Isn't this verse much like 1 + 1 = 2. If you take away either of the "1's" then you no longer have two. Likewise if you take away either faith or baptism, you no longer have salvation.
Someone may respond, "But this verse says you will be condemned if you don't believe, but it doesn't say you will be condemned if you are not baptized."
The Bible does not always spell out what we have to do to be lost. It tells us what we have to do to be saved and expects us to realize that, if we don't do it, we will be lost.
Further, the person who has a true faith will believe that baptism is necessary. Jesus said to believe the Bible because it was the very word of God. What does the Bible say? "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." What if I don't believe that? Then I not only don't believe the Bible, but I am refusing to do what Jesus Christ himself told me to do.
Note the difference between what men say and what the Bible says:
Men say: He who believes is saved, and then he may be baptized.
The Bible says: He who believes and is baptized will be saved.
Faith is essential in order to receive salvation. However, Jesus Christ also commands us to be baptized. The believer who realizes the importance of baptism but refuses to be baptized, is in rebellion to God. It is this rebellion that puts the believers salvation in jeopardy.
2) Acts 2:38 - Repent and Be Baptized for the Remission of Sins
Where does this passage place the remission of sins in relation to baptism?
Are sins forgiven (remitted) before baptism, or as a result of baptism? Note that the purpose of baptism is clearly stated: it is for remission of sins.
Lets consider the people to whom Peter was speaking to.
In verse 36, Peter had just convicted them of the sin of killing Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
But they had great sorrow in their hearts and they asked in the very next verse, what they could do.
Acts 2:37 "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
What was Peter's response to that question? Repent and Be Baptized he told them. So they did not already have the remission of sins, but stood in need of receiving it. So the command to "repent" proves that these people were not already saved, but were still sinners needing to receive remission from their sins. Clearly these were not saved people. In asking Peter the question, "what could they do", they were asking Peter that they could do to obtain the needed forgiveness for the sins that were on their souls. And the apostle Peter was telling them exactly what they needed to do in order to receive that necessary forgiveness. And his answer? "Repent and Be Baptized for the Remission or the forgiveness of those Sins."
Consider the parallel to this verse that is found in Matthew 26:28.
Once again, Acts 2:38 says, be baptized "for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:28 says that Jesus blood was shed for many, "for the remission of sins."
Did Jesus shed His blood because people already had remission of sins? No, Not at all. He shed his innocent blood so people who did not have the remission of sins could receive it.
Likewise, baptism is not administered because people already have remission of sins. Baptism is done so that a person who does not have the remission of sins, can receive it.
3) 1 Peter 3:21 - Baptism Saves Us
The Biblical story of Noah helps to illustrate how we are saved by the water of baptism.
1 Peter 3:21 "Baptism now saves you, not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
In the days of Noah, eight souls were saved through water. Noah and his family were saved "by, or through, water". The flood water destroyed the wicked of this earth, but at the same time it also saved Noah because it bore the ark up, thus delivering up or saving Noah and his family from death.
The power of baptism is not in the water but in the shed blood and the death of Jesus. However, we come into direct contact with that shed blood during the act of baptism.
4) Galatians 3:27 - We Are Baptized into Jesus
How many people are in Christ? Just as many as have been baptized into Him. What if a person has not been baptized into Him? Then that person is not in Him.
Why is it important to be in Christ?
Ephesians 1:7 - Forgiveness of sins is in Christ.
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
2 Timothy 2:10 - Salvation is in Him.
"Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."
1 John 5:11,12 - Eternal life is in the Son of God.
"And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."
Ephesians 1:3 - All spiritual blessings are in Christ.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."
If a person is outside of Christ, he does not have forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, or spiritual blessings. But now ask yourself, how does one come into Christ? He must be baptized into Christ.
Hearing, believing, repenting, and confession are all essential steps toward Christ, but baptism is the step that puts a person into Christ. Before baptism, a person is still outside of Christ, still without forgiveness and all those other blessings that are in Christ. If a person wants those blessings, then he must be baptized into Christ.
5) Romans 6:3 - We Are Baptized into Jesus' Death
This verse says again (as in Gal. 3:27) that we are baptized into Jesus. But here it says that we are also baptized into Jesus' death.
Why is Jesus' death important to us? Because it was in his death that he shed his blood. And it is his blood that cleanses our souls and saves us from sin! The innocent shed blood of God himself is the cornerstone upon which Christianity is based on. Now ask yourself how do we come into contact with his shed blood? We are baptized into it!
Often people who teach the necessity of baptism, are accused of not believing in salvation by Jesus' blood. The truth is just the opposite. Baptism is where the sinner first comes into contact with the blood of Christ! Those who say you are saved before baptism are saying that you can be saved without the shed blood of Jesus Christ, because they are teaching that the sinner is saved before he ever comes into contact with his blood! That the spilled blood and the death of The Son of God has nothing to do with salvation.
It is in the very act of baptism where we receive the benefits of Jesus' death.
6) Acts 22:16 - Be Baptized and Wash away Your Sins
When does the washing away of sins occur in this passage? Is it before baptism, or does it occur after the act of baptism?
The sinner in this story (Paul), had already done everything most churches say one must do to be saved. Except be baptized.
He had seen Jesus on the Damascus road, clearly believed in Him, and was willing to obey him to the very end. He had even been praying. If anyone could be saved before baptism, it would be Paul. Was he saved?
Jesus told Paul that he should go into the city and he would then be told what he must do. Paul went into the city and Ananias came and told him to be baptized and wash away his sins.
If sins are forgiven before baptism, Paul would have had no sins to wash away. But he had his sins till he was baptized. So today, though a person may believe in Jesus and repent, he is still guilty of all his sins till he is baptized.
That is why in Bible examples of conversion, people never postponed baptism. Always, as soon as the sinner believed in Jesus Christ and repented, he was baptized immediately.
Acts 2:41 - "That day" 3000 were baptized.
"Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them."
Acts 8:36 - "What hinders me from being baptized?"
"Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
Acts 9:18 - "Immediately ... he arose and was baptized"
"Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized."
Acts 16:33 - "...the same hour of the night ... immediately he and all his
family were baptized"
"And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized."
Acts 22:16 - "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
away your sins...."
"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
When modern denominations postpone baptism of penitent believers to some future date, they are not following the Bible pattern regarding the urgency of baptism. The reason they postpone baptism is that they do not believe the proper purpose of baptism. They believe the person is already saved, so what's the hurry?
When we understand that the person is still in sin until he is baptized, then we understand why people in the Bible did not postpone baptism.