The purpose for baptism is profound and so much more than simply a symbolic act1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,11. John the Baptist prepared the way with “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”9. Peter says the same thing on the day of Pentecost – baptism (and repentance) was the remedy for removing/forgiving sins1 – saving us3.
Paul makes the same direct connections to forgiveness of sins2,5 and salvation4,12. He further makes a connection to being “buried with Christ”2; and to the Galatians he connects baptism to what put them “into Christ” – effectively putting on Christ7,11 and a condition of church membership8.
Do you want to put on Christ7? (And would we really consider someone saved without putting on Christ?) Or, put the way Paul states it in Romans2 and Colossians6, do you want to be “buried” and “raised” with Christ? Baptism is the only thing that does these things, allowing us to “walk in newness of life”2 and inherit the kingdom of God12.
When put in these terms, wouldn’t you agree the purpose of baptism is essential for salvation? BTW, these connections explain perfectly the immediacy of being baptized after hearing the word preached4,5. We even see immediacy when there’s every reason in the world to wait10. Just as Paul said, “And now why do you wait?”5.