One could say, “Isn’t it through baptism that you become a child of God, for in John 4:1-2, Jesus was making more disciples than John through baptism?” However, John 4:1-2, has nothing to do with believer’s baptism. Besides, this passage states that, “Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John” (i.e., Jesus baptized those who were made disciples).
But what about Mark 16:16? “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” The next statement clarifies this: “But he that believeth not shall be damned,” not “He that is not baptized shall be damned.” The first statement gives us the norm, (i.e., those who believe get baptized). It is not that baptism is necessary to salvation, but that baptism follows salvation as is clearly seen in the book of Acts.
What about infant baptism? Doesn’t household baptism in the Scriptures support this? There are only three passages where we read of the household being baptized.
Acts 16:15 in relation to Lydia; “She was baptized, and her household.” There is no indication in the passage that Lydia was married or that there were any infants in the household. Acts 16:40 does tell us of brethren in the house of Lydia. The context would indicate that those in her household were not only old enough to believe, but that they did believe and were baptized.
Acts 16:33 in relation to the jailor; “And was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” There is no indication in the passage that infants were among his house who were baptized. But verse 34 does tell us that he “rejoiced, believing God with all his house.” Thus, we are assured that they were old enough to believe, and did so, indicating that not one of those baptized was an infant.
1 Corinthians 1:16 in relation to Stephanas; “I baptized also the household of Stephanas.” Again there is no indication that infants were in the household of Stephanas. In fact the indications are otherwise, because we read in 1 Corinthians 16:15, “ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” This clearly shows that they were all saved, thus old enough to have believed.
Baptism isn’t necessary, for Paul wrote, “Christ sent me not to baptize” (1Cor 1:17). This statement is made in relation to the divisions in Corinth which Paul was condemning. He was indicating that those who were saying that they were of Paul could not claim that he had baptized them to make them his disciples for he had not been sent to baptize, but to preach Christ. Besides this, 1 Corinthians 1:16 states that he did baptize some, and passages in his epistles show the importance placed upon baptism (Rom 6:3-5; Gal 3:27; Col 2:12).
What if a person was baptized before being saved? That person has not obeyed, as a believer, the commandment of the Lord. It would be necessary for that person to be baptized again, baptized as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is clearly seen in Acts 19:1-5 where we read of certain disciples who had not heard the gospel, but had been baptized with John’s baptism. When they heard from Paul, “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”