In Acts chapter ten we find the account of Cornelius, a Roman soldier who became a Christian. Acts 10:2 describes him as “a devout man (one with deep religious feelings toward God) and one who feared God (he had reverence toward God) with all his household, who gave alms (he helped those in need) generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” He was a good man who feared God, prayed to God and helped the needy. However, please note that he was not a Christian at this time. He needed to “hear words” (receive teaching) which would tell him and his household what they must do in order to be saved (Acts 11:14). This teaches us that just being a good person will not save us. We must do those things that God has commanded us to do.
It is interesting to note the following points from this chapter: (1) In a vision he received a message from an angel of God (10: 3-7); (2) Peter “fell into a trance” while on the housetop and in this trance received a message from God (10:10 ff); (3) The Holy Spirit told Peter that men were seeking him and that he was to go with them (10:19-20); The Holy Spirit fell upon those who heard the word that Peter was teaching (10:41-46). Even though all of these things happened, Cornelius was still not saved!
In verses 47-48 we find: “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. Cornelius, and the other lost souls with him who wanted to be saved, still had to be baptized. Please note that these things mentioned earlier did eventually lead to his salvation, but Cornelius had to do something in order to be saved. That is, he had to be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins.
Many today claim that we are saved by a “mysterious operation” from God. However, you do not find that taught in the New Testament. The baptismal measure of the Holy Spirit that Cornelius and the others experienced did not save them. It was given to show the Jews that the Gentiles were acceptable to God on the same terms as the Jews. After the Holy Spirit fell, they were then commanded to be baptized (10:47-48). Jesus commanded baptism in the Great Commission when he said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16). On the Pentecost of Acts 2, the day the church began, we find Peter commanding them to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Note what Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (Emphasis mine L.B.) Then in Gal. 3:27 Paul wrote, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Emphasis mine L.B.)What is the conclusion about Cornelius and how he was saved? He obeyed to commands of God and was baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. Men are saved in the same way today; by obedience to the commands of the gospel. Have you obeyed as he did?
http://www.tftw2.org/Tracts/believersbaptized.htm Believers want to be baptized