From either perspective, I think it is fallacious to use the singular, between-covenants, cross-affixed example of the professing thief as the primary foundation for NT baptism, which was not yet in effect when he was promised paradise.
I would suggest you actually read passages such as Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21, Romans 6:3-5 and Galatians 3:27. Those passage (and many others) all confirm God's revelation regarding baptism - the revelation that one must beleive and be baptized to be saved.
If one believes that the baptism is fire, and that this occurs the second they accept Christ, then what is the problem? Nowhere in Mark 16:16 does it even remotely say that it's specifically water baptism. It just calls it baptism. Your understanding of Scriptures would have people saved apart from believing, since not everyone would be baptized in water the second they accepted Christ. That seems unreasonable to me. I just don't get it?
Is baptized - Is initiated into the church by the application of water, as significant that he is a sinner, and needs the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit. ~ Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...” (Mark 16:16)
"These words are very important. The first clause [belief and baptism] opposes the notion that faith alone is sufficient for salvation, without those works which are the fruit of faith" ~ Pulpit Commentary
Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love.
My question to folks... knowing this is something practiced by Jesus and all the apostles.... why WOULDN'T you be water baptized?
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