For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Baptism is important for the washing away from sins. Acts 2 :38. ('Repent everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus for remission of sins'.) All sins you have committed prior to baptism are erased. However, we should not go back and continue to sin.
Baptism is and can be a demonstation of our faith before others. But when we put to much importance on it as a work needing to be done to be saved, then we need to remember the thief on the cross that was not baptised except by the Holy Spirit. There is the baptism of the Holy Spirit when we first believe, and then water baptism to express to others our belief. In no way does being baptised by water save us.
James Kraft, one question: Where did you ascertain that the thief upon the cross was not baptized? Do you have specific scripture that says that? If so, please educate me.
Well, you tell me. Did He come down off the cross and get baptized? No, He was baptized by the Holy Spirit when He believed that Jesus was who he said He was. Baptism has nothing to do with salvation which is by faith alone. Romans 4:5 Paul did not even baptize but just a few. He said he came to preach the gospel, not to baptize.
First Corinthians 1:14 and 17 When we accept Jesus as our only savior, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 We are saved when we trust Jesus finished work on the cross to save us. If He does not save us when we have trusted Him to save us His reputation is at stake. Because he said if we trust Him He will save us. Only Jesus blood sacrifice can save us sinners. It is by faith
First John 5:10-13 If you have trusted Jesus to save you, you are saved and have eternal life. John 3:18 Those that have believed in Jesus can no longer be condemned, those that have not believed are condemned already.
We are saved by faith alone in what Jesus did for us on the cross, that His blood sacrifice covers us from all sin. Romans 4:5 We are saved because His spirit lives in us and tells us He will never leave us or forsake us. John 6:37-40
When we accept His full payment for all our sin, we are saved and have eternal life.
Baptism is an outward profession of our faith. But it has nothing to do with salvation which is all by grace without works. Ephesians 2:8-9
James Kraft, I appreciate all of your hard work and effort, but you never answered my question. That's ok, because I will. No, there is no specific scripture that says the thief was not baptized. There is also no specific scripture that says he was baptized. There is some evidence though, that indicates that the thief very well could have been baptized. Check out Mark 1:5 and also Matthew 3:5-6. Scripture says Jerusalem, all of Judea, and the whole region of Jordan was being baptized by John the Baptist. The possibility is there. Nobody can say for certain whether or not the thief was baptized.
You touch on Paul and how he wasn't there to baptize, but to preach the gospel. Don't you think it'd be pretty hypocritical of Paul to tell his listeners to not worry about being baptized, even though he, himself, was baptized? Paul just wasn't interested in having people brag that they were baptized by him, that it doesn't matter who baptizes you, it only matters that you are baptized.
Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus' own words right here ...make disciples of ALL nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is commanding baptism right there. We know of the story of Phillip and the Eunich. The Eunich saw water and asked why he cannot be baptized right then and there, and he was. Phillip didn't say don't worry about it, it's not that important. Jesus didn't say don't worry about the nations you can't baptize, they will be saved anyway.