You have tried hard to stamp out baptism and in your last statement you said it was commanded by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me keep my commandments. ” You are right that baptism is symbolic of a death. All through Acts, people were being baptized. The Eunuch is one of many examples of baptisms after hearing the gospel and believing. (Acts 8:35-38). I believe we should follow the examples we read about in the Bible. The New Testament is filled with examples using the word baptize. Obey the word and be baptized for the remission of your sins. Even Jesus himself was baptized as our example. I am afraid to over look this important step. Obeying is better than sacrifice. Your interpretation of the SCRIPTURES on baptism is confusing.
I am sorry my explanations about baptism have been confusing. So let me attempt to help with two brief statements.
The Holy Spirit commands us to be baptized as a symbolic act that we are Christians.
And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NASB) Acts 2:38
. . . having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (NASB) Colossians 2:12
Baptism is a symbolic act that says, “I turn away from my sins. I die to myself and to my sins. I am now a follower of Jesus.” And when a person starts trusting Jesus and Jesus only to forgive them of their sins, they are forgiven. When we do this we die to ourselves. We turn our life over to Christ and our FIRST ACT OF OBEDIENCE is baptism. Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward change that has already occurred – salvation.
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, that no man should say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel . . . (NASB) 1 Corinthians 1:13-17
Why was Paul glad that he did not baptize any other? If baptism was essential for salvation, Paul failed. Paul was glad because the Christians were becoming followers of persons – baptism is only a symbol.
Baptism is only a symbol of being a follower of Jesus. Baptism is not required for salvation! It is commanded by our Lord and our first act of obedience as Christians should be baptism. The thief on the cross who was hanging next to Jesus was never baptized. Baptism is not essential for salvation.