Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”
The preceding Bible passage is NOT speaking about water baptism. The Greek word “baptizo” was transliterated from the Greek language directly into English. That is because the wise 54 King James Bible translators decided not to translate the word at all, since they couldn't find an equivalent English word to adequately express the conveyed meaning, which is to submerse into something. When a person puts their trust in Jesus Christ, they are being immersed in Christ by faith.
I also believe that is the meaning intended in Acts 2:38, “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.” This is one of the most misunderstood and hotly debated Scriptures in the Word of God. Remember, a good rule to follow when interpreting the Bible is to never use an obscure passage to contradict a clear one. Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995) taught me that truth. God authored the entire Gospel of John to show humanity how to get to Heaven (John 20:31), which is by grace through faith in the 'GOOD NEWS' (Gospel) of Jesus Christ crucified for our sins, buried and bodily resurrected three days later.
Since the Gospel of John is very clear, we must then be careful not to misinterpret an obscure passage of Scripture like Acts 2:38, which can be taken different ways (but can only have one true intended meaning by God). Since we know from umpteen other Scripture passages that water baptism cannot remit sins, we can rightly divide God's Word to conclude that Acts 2:38 must be teaching that salvation comes by being immersed into Jesus Christ by faith alone.
Scriptural evidence of what I am teaching is found in Galatians 3:26-27, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” We are “baptized into Christ” through faith alone! This can be the only logical meaning without violating the clear Gospel of John, which teaches plainly in John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” If water baptism were required by God to Get to Heaven (which religious cults like Seventh-Day Adventism, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Church of Christ and Lutherans errantly teach), then John 6:47 would be false teaching and make no sense at all. If faith alone is insufficient to save a lost sinner, then God sure did a horrible job of authoring the Holy Bible!
The dying repentant thief on the cross was totally incapacitated. His hands and feet were nailed to a cross, just like Jesus next to him. The dying thief had nothing to offer God. This man's life was full of sin and shame, now being executed for his crimes. The dying thief could not get water baptized. He could not partake of communion. He couldn't obey church sacraments. There was nothing that he could do except LOOK TO JESUS!!! Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do. Amen.