"Then Peter said unto them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'" Acts 2:38 (KJV)
Although this verse states plainly that those who desire to be saved should be baptized "for the remission of sins," does it really mean what it says? Can it be possible that being immersed in water has power to eradicate sins? Isn't this "baptismal regeneration" that so many speak so strongly against? What is the truth about all this?
The fact is that the verse says what it says. Peter instructed those who had been guilty of handing over the Son of God to godless men for crucifixion to repent and be baptized, and they would receive "remission" or forgiveness of sins. The word translated "for" does not mean "because of." It means "into." It is the Greek word eis, meaning "into, unto, to, towards, for, among" Thayer's Greek Definitions. Baptism is the thing that brings us "into" or "unto" or "to" forgiveness of sins.
Forgiveness of sins is "in Christ." "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1.7). It is the blood of Christ that effects forgiveness of sins, and we must be "in Him" in order to have that blood applied to our account.
We are "baptized into Christ." "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3.27). When we are baptized according to the Lord's commandment, we are baptized into Christ, we are then in Him, and His blood cleanses us from all sin and unrighteousness.
It is upon the act of baptism for the remission of sins that God joins us to His Son. It is not an act of our own righteousness, but the answer of a good conscience toward God. It is by the grace of God that we are saved, through faith which leads to obedience, for "he who believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16.16). He who does not believe will not be baptized, or he will be baptized for his own or someone else's reasons, not the one given by Peter and the Lord.
Which did you do?