IS WATER BAPTISM ESSENTIAL FOR SALVATION?
It does not determine our salvation. Our salvation is secured by the faith and belief in our hearts, not by an external work. The thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43 is an example of someone who believed in Jesus but didn’t have the opportunity to be baptized. Jesus told him, “…today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” He was obviously going to heaven without being baptized. However, this does not excuse us from baptism. As we become aware of the commands in Scripture, we are obligated to obey them as we have opportunity.