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I strongly believe we are saved only by the blood of Jesus Christ, and baptism is the symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection. Here is my scriptual defense:
Scripturally speaking, What about the thief on the cross? Jesus doesn't make exceptions. To say that baptism is required is negating parts of the scriptures (see below). Jesus tells us over and over that we can ...believe and enter into His fellowship. Yes, we are also to be baptized, but it is not what saves us. It is what it symbolizes - the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. If baptism DOES save us, why do the scriptures, such as Mark 16:16, say in the latter part "he that does not believe will be condemned"? - it does not say "he that does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned." Therefore, it is absolutely clear that what saves a person is living faith in Jesus Christ which is followed by baptism. Note that we never find the expression in the New Testament that he who was not baptized will perish...never.
Luke 23:39-43 - The thief on the cross - he believed, and Jesus saved him. To say that this is an exception negates who God is - He is just - He does not make exceptions.
John 3:18 - "Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. 9 NOT BY WORKS, so that no one can boast." Acts 22:16 - "wash your sins away" - Baptism is the outward sign of an inward work of grace. The outward ritual, however, does not produce the inward grace. (see Romans 2:28-29, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:4-9)
Romans 2:28-29 - circumcision of the heart is what matters, rather than the physical act of circumcision
Romans 6:3-4 - a symbol of the act of embracing Jesus' death, burial, resurrection
Philippians 3:8-9 - "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." Paul never says that it is through faith and physical baptism.
In summary, baptism is the testimony of an already cleansed soul. We are saved by what baptism symbolizes - the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We are not saved by a ritual, but by the supernatural power of the resurrection.