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.
The Holy Ghost converts [us] from carnality to spirituality. It cleanses, heals, and purifies the soul. . . . . Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, and water baptism are all preliminary and prerequisite to it, but [the baptism of fire] is the consummation. To receive [this baptism of fire] is to have one's garments washed in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.
Marion G. Romney
Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous
John's baptism...was a radical act of individual commitment to belong to the true people of God, based on personal confession and repentance... This is one of the main reasons that I do not believe in baptizing infants, who cannot make this personal commitment or confession or repentance. John's baptism was an assault on the very assumptions that give rise to much infant baptism.
From what cause the rite of baptism first proceeded is not expressed formally in the scripture, but it may be probably thought to be an imitation of the law of Moses concerning leprosy, wherein the leprous man was commanded to be kept out of the camp of Israel for a certain time, after which time being judged by the priest to be clean, he was admitted into the camp after a solemn washing. And this may therefore be a type of the washing in baptism, wherein such men as are cleansed of the leprosy of Sin by Faith, are received into the church with the solemnity of baptism.
The rediscovery of the value of one's baptism is the basis of the missionary commitment of every Christian, because we see in the Gospel that he who lets himself be fascinated by Christ cannot do without witnessing the joy of following in his footsteps... we understand even more that, in virtue of baptism, we have an inherent missionary vocation.
Pope Benedict XVI
I do not doubt that all those who have received Baptism anywhere and from whomever do have Baptism, as long as it was consecrated with the words of the Gospel and they received it without pretence on their part and with some degree of faith. However, it would not avail them for their spiritual salvation if they were lacking in that charity by which they might be implanted in the Catholic Church.
Baptism is just as essential to salvation, as Faith and Repentance. Without being immersed in water no man can enter into the fullness of Celestial glory: for baptism is instituted for the remission of sins; and if a person does not take the necessary steps to obtain pardon of sins, of course, he cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
The Church was redeemed at the price of Christ's blood. Jew or Greek, it makes no difference; but if he has believed, he must circumcise himself from his sins [in baptism (Col. 2:11-12)] so that he can be saved . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the sacrament of baptism . . . "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God"
Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is in vain; then you have the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When Paul was exhorted to be baptized and to wash away his sins, there was an evident allusion to the use of water in the ordinance of baptism, and had there been no application of water on which to ground such an allusion, we may be certain that we should never have heard of washing away sins in baptism.
If anyone without the right faith receives Baptism outside the Church, he does not receive it unto salvation ... From the comparison of the Church to Paradise, we learn that men can receive her Baptism even outside her fold, but that out there no one can receive or keep the salvation of the blessed.
As we were baptized, so we profess our belief. As we profess our belief, so also we offer praise. As then baptism has been given us by the Savior, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so, in accordance with our baptism, we make the confession of the creed, and our doxology in accordance with our creed.
For that purpose Christ instituted holy baptism, thereby to clothe you with his righteousness. It is tantamount to his saying, My righteousness shall be your righteousness; my innocence, your innocence. Your sins indeed are great, but by baptism I bestow on you my righteousness; I strip death from you and clothe you with my life.
Because of this basin of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained for the transgression of God's people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and we testify that the very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented. It is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and of no benefit to you. For what is the use of a baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone? Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred, and, lo, the body is pure.
Baptism does not profit a man outside unity with the Church ... For many heretics also possess this Sacrament but not the fruits of salvation ... The benefits which flow from Baptism are necessarily fruits which belong to the true Church alone. Children Baptized in other communions cease to be members of the Church when, after reaching the age of reason, they make formal profession of heresy, as, for example, by receiving communion in a non-Catholic Church.
I taught what was clear in Acts 11:26: SAVED = CHRISTIAN = DISCIPLE, simply meaning that you cannot be saved and you cannot be a true Christian without being a disciple also. I taught that, to be baptized, you must first make the decision to be a disciple, and then be baptized.... I taught that their baptism was invalid because a retroactive understanding of repentance and baptism was not consistent with Scripture.
Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins is an essential covenant to make with the Lord. Faith and repentance precede this ordinance. Confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost follow baptism. Acceptance of these first principles and ordinances may obtain for us a remission of our sins and assure our salvation. In the ordinance of the sacrament, we regularly renew this and other covenants, and by complying with our part of the covenant, we receive the Spirit of the Lord to be with us.
A. Theodore Tuttle
All the answers you may wish for lie within faith, but it demands a complete and incontinent surrender, an immersion as total as any baptism. Indeed baptism is a kind of enactment of the surrender: you bathe in faith, you swim in it, you live by it, surrounded by it, buoyed up by it, engulfed by it. You drown in it, for at times it takes your breath away as entirely as any lungful of water.... All the answers lie in faith; and when you lose your faith you have no choice but to substitute for if a philosophy that deliberately and coldly offers no answers at all.
[Christ's] mission and work it is to help against sin and death, to justify and bring life. He has placed his help in baptism and the Sacrament [i.e., communion/Eucharist/Lord's supper], and incorporated it in the Word and preaching. To our eyes Baptism [capitalized in original] appears to be nothing more than ordinary water, and the Sacrament of Christ's body and blood simple bread and wine, like other bread and wine, and the sermon, hot air from a man's mouth. But we must not trust what our eyes see.
The early Mormons were even less concerned about ministerial training. On several occasions, a man heard a discourse, submitted to baptism and confirmation, received a call to priesthood, and was sent on a mission - all on the same day. Canadian Samuel Hall, for instance, found a Latter-Day Saint tract on a Montreal street and traveled to Nauvoo to hear the teachings of Joseph Smith himself. On the day of his arrival, he heard a sermon by Smith, requested baptism, received ordination, and started on a mission - without even pausing to change his wet clothes.
Nathan O. Hatch