We may never be martyrs but we can die to self, to sin, to the world, to our plans and ambitions. That is the significance of baptism; we died with Christ and rose to new life.
Our justification from sins takes place at the point of saving faith, not at the point of water baptism, which usually occurs later. But if a person is already justified and has sins forgiven eternally at the point of saving faith, then baptism is not necessary for forgiveness of sins nor for the bestowal of new spiritual life. Baptism, then, is not necessary for salvation. But it is necessary if we are to be obedient to Christ, for he commanded baptism for all who believe in him.
WAYNE A. GRUDEM, Bible Doctrine
Baptism is rich in meaning. It suggests cleansing. When you are a disciple, you understand that you are cleansed by Christ. You understand that Christ died in your place on the cross, paying for your sins, fully forgiving you for all your wrongs. You are cleansed from guilt, and you are becoming a cleaner, healthier, more whole person.
BRIAN D. MCLAREN, More Ready Than You Realize
Rationally considered, nothing can be more absurd than the baptism of infants under any circumstances. No statement, no matter by whom it may be said to have been uttered, can make that true which is radically false. If an innocent child, unconscious of good or evil, irresponsible to God and man, incapable of thought or action, is not already, in accordance with Christian theology, a member of Christ, then no vicarious promise or priestly ablution can make him one. For if this were so, a similar ceremony under devil worship could make him a member of Satan.
TENNESSEE CLAFLIN, Talks and Essays
Infant baptism when practiced can be no more than an expression of the faith and hope of the parents that their child will ultimately be saved.
LEWIS SPERRY CHAFER, Major Bible Themes
[Martin] Luther did not regard the water in baptism as common water, but as a water which had become, through the Word with its inherent divine power, a gracious water of life, a washing of regeneration. Through this divine efficacy of the Word the sacrament effects regeneration.
LOUIS BERKHOF, Systematic Theology
Five types of baptism are mentioned in the New Testament, though only two of the five have to do with water. No wonder people become confused.
LARRY E. DYER, Baptism: The Believer’s First Obedience
God’s people should be baptized because God commanded it, not because some church requires it.
JOHN R. RICE, Bible Baptism
“The idea of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in the New Testament.”
F.F. Bruce – the great New Testament Scholar