When we say SAVED, what do we really mean? Do we mean the salvation which the Scripture severally spoke that we HAVE BEEN saved, that we ARE BEING saved or that we SHALL BE saved? We often mean different things from one another. As the Scriptures point out, it is culturally usual for us Gentiles to muddle up spiritualities. Theological controversies also do not help matters as we often talk without listening and learning.
What is Baptism all about? Baptism is not a PERSONAL MERIT but a PROMISED MERCY. We often remove too much from and add too much to Baptism. Baptism is an initial discipling blessing, or differently put, an initiating rite into New Covenant fellowship in Christ (much like circumcision for the Covenant fellowship of Abraham). Baptism is temporal initiation sign for covenant blessings – a ticket to the blessings of Church fellowship not necessarily a ticket to eternal salvation. Baptism does not prove or guarantee eternal destiny but initiates into and permits temporal participation that leads to eternal destiny.
Without baptism adult Church participation, covenant cover of children or DRY PAEDO-BAPTISMS and PSEUDO-BAPTISMS of infant dedication and baby blessing, even protracted pre-baptismal schooling (though a very good precaution) are not in line with the Great Commission given by Christ in Matt 28:19-20 and practiced by the Apostles from the Pentecost onwards. We often forget the fact that in all Scripture, baptism was usually done first, preceding discipleship teaching.
(18) Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(19) Therefore, as you go, disciple all the nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
(20) TEACHING them to obey all that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.”
(41) So those who welcomed his message were BAPTIZED, and that day about 3,000 persons were added to them.
(42) They continually devoted themselves to the TEACHING of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to times of prayer.
Like circumcision (promised through Abraham) for Old Testament fellowship, Baptism is a COVENANT SIGN promised and given by God through Christ for the blessing of all people of every nation that are believers “AND THEIR CHILDREN” as Peter declared in Acts 2:38-39. Baptism is part of salvation graces and benefits given by God through Christ, like other gifts of the New Covenant such as adoption, empowerment, regeneration, justification, remission of sins, etc:
(37) When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
(38) Peter answered them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.
(39) For THIS PROMISE BELONGS TO YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN, as well as to all those who are far away, whom the Lord our God may call to himself.”
Baptism is not done by the baptised; rather Baptism is done FOR the baptised by the Church. But Faith is done by the believer, Repentance is done by the penitent, Fruit is borne by the spiritually fruitful, etc. How do I put it? Baptism is deposited to us as divine mercy not demanded from us human merit. Hope that helps?
Some people baptised as adults like Simon of Samaria and Ananias and Sapphira were baptised believers yet they only participated under the cover of the New Covenant till they were proved to be false brethren. Even under Moses, Adults and Children BAPTISED INTO MOSES perished in the wilderness by divine judgment as the Apostle points out:
1 Corinthians 10:1-9
(1) For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the fact that all of our ancestors were under the cloud, and they all went through the sea,
(2) and THEY ALL WERE BAPTIZED INTO MOSES in the cloud and in the sea,
(3) and THEY ALL ATE THE SAME SPIRITUAL FOOD,
(4) and THEY ALL DRANK THE SAME SPIRITUAL DRINK, for they continually drank from the spiritual Rock that went with them, and that Rock was Christ.
(5) But God wasn’t pleased with most of them, and so they were struck down in the wilderness.
(6) Now THESE THINGS BECAME EXAMPLES for us so that we won’t set our hearts on evil as they did.
(7) Let us stop being idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to play.”
(8) Let us stop sinning sexually, as some of them were doing, and on a single day 23,000 fell dead.
(9) Let us stop putting the Lord to the test, as some of them were doing, and were destroyed by snakes.