Scripture does not teach:
FAITH IN CHRIST + BAPTISM ⇒⇒⇒ SALVATION
The Bible instead teaches this:
FAITH IN CHRIST ⇒⇒⇒ SALVATION AND BAPTISM
Baptism then is a visual statement of one’s faith in Christ.
In its very form Baptism symbolizes and speaks of our immersion in the Spirit. This Spirit baptism takes place at conversion. That is how we are initiated, inaugurated into the Body of Christ. Study carefully I Corinthians 12:13.
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.”
The new believer’s introduction into Christ’s true spiritual church and the believer’s Spirit-baptism are together. This baptism in the Spirit brings him into that relationship.
Now, water baptism is to set forth this very thing. I am to show my relationship with Christ whose Body is the church. There is no other Lord and Savior.
A full statement of my spiritual coming into Christ’s Body must be made by my visual baptism in water and union with a local church. Baptism in water shows baptism in the Spirit, and union with the local church shows my union with Christ’s Body. God wants those who believe it to show it.
Therefore it should be the practice to set forth our union with Christ by showing it through union with the local church upon baptism. Those who hesitate to unite with the church are refusing a full expression of their life and witness to Christ. We ought not, then, baptize those who are unprepared to show their full union with Christ and His people.