According to God’s Word, Baptism is not a requirement of salvation. Let’s examine what the Scriptures teach on this issue:
It is quite clear from such passages as Acts 15 and Romans 4 that no external act is necessary for salvation. Salvation is by divine grace through faith alone (Romans 3:22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9, etc.). If water baptism were necessary for salvation, we would expect to find it stressed whenever the saving gospel of Jesus is presented in Scripture Paul never made water baptism any part of his gospel presentations. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul gives a concise summary of the gospel message he preached. There is no mention of baptism. In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul states that “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” thus clearly differentiating the gospel from baptism.
If baptism were part of the gospel itself, necessary for salvation, what good would it have done Paul to preach the gospel, but not baptize? No one would have been saved. The penitent woman (Luke 7:37-50), the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2), the publican (Luke 18:13-14), and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) all experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism. For that matter, we have no record of the apostles’ being baptized, yet Jesus pronounced them clean of their sins (John 15:3—note that the Word of God, not baptism, is what cleansed them).
There are two Bible verses that may cause confusion in regards to how baptism and salvation are mentioned together. Acts 2:38 says “repent and be baptized”… meaning that baptism is not required but a physical next step to take after the spiritual step. Mark 16:6 “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”…again, baptism is stated as a natural next step after the spiritual belief. It is the belief that grants salvation and the failure to believe that causes condemnation.
Water baptism is certainly important, however, the New Testament does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.