Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). No one can be a child of God and not have faith! However, “faith alone” does not make one a child of God. If so, the Pharisees (John 12:42-43) and even the devil would be saved (James 2:19).
When one “obeys the gospel” (which you cannot go to heaven without; 2 Thessalonians 2:8), you are simply doing the “work” God would have you to do. When one performs or works the works of God, he has not earned his salvation. Jesus said, “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). If one claims that “baptism” is a work of man, then he must also of necessity accept that “faith” is a work of man. The truth is, neither of them are the works of man. They both are the works of God! On one occasion Jesus was asked, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” His answer was, “…this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:28-29). Even “believing” is a work, but it is not man’s work, it is God’s work. It is the work God has commanded we do! The same is true of water baptism. It is all a part of the plan of God’s salvation which has been preached from the time Peter uttered it (Acts 2:38) until today and will continue to the end of the world (Matthew 28:19-20).
It is odd that many fight so hard against God’s Word when it is so plain. Jesus himself gave the command for all time what people must do to be saved, but so few believe it. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). What would he have had to say to make people believe baptism is essential to salvation? This is precisely what Saul was told in Acts 22:16. “Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins.” There’s no forgiveness without the blood of Christ and one only contacts the blood in water baptism (Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5; Rom. 6:3-6,17-18).
Galatians 3:27 tells HOW we are children of God by faith, “FOR as many of you as were BAPTIZED….” Baptism is the point at which faith justifies, not before (James 2:17-26). The plan of God fits so perfectly together! Won’t you believe