Some baptize infants into their church or religion. Some baptize to enter a local ministry. Others claim salvation is incomplete without baptism. Some believe baptism provides salvation. Some teach that children will not enter Heaven without baptism. Others call baptism a form of washing away sin. Finally, some believe it is simply a testimony of identification with Christ, repentance (turning from worldliness to godliness) a dedication to Christ. Some of these positions have no scripture to support them. Others seem to have some scriptural support. So, what is the truth? A little truth mixed with lots of error is powerful poison. Religions are born this way.
If your belief strains the scripture, it is questionable. If it alienates any scripture, it is untenable. The only truth has to take into account and harmonize all scriptural passages, every illustration and historic representation must be accounted for. The question is, which belief is the truth. The challenge is to look at passages that do not necessarily discuss baptism.
The only explanation of baptism that harmonizes the scriptures is as an individual public identification to follow Jesus Christ by identifying with and confession of faith in His death, burial and resurrection for the vicarious atonement of sin. This first sees Christ as the way, the truth and the life, He provides salvation (John 11:25, 26; 14:6). Second, it identifies personal commitment through scriptural understanding, only possible in adults such as the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:36-37). Third, it clears the thief on the cross for entrance into heaven without baptism (Luke 23:43). Fourth, it leans on Christ’s blood to wash away sin instead of man’s work (Matthew 26:28).
Work only comes AFTER salvation. Works prove salvation. You do because Christ did. Righteousness comes from Christ, not works of righteousness which provide no profit (Isaiah 57:12).