In a previous post, I raised the issue of Romans 6 presenting union with Christ as occurring by means of baptism. That obviously raises problems. What about those who profess faith in Christ who were never (or are not yet) baptized? What about justification by faith alone? Are there two categories of Christians: those who are baptized and released from Sin, and those who are regenerate but totally under Sin’s power?
It’s commonly held that baptism is merely a sign. That is, it’s an event where the believer confesses Jesus publicly, with their immersion symbolizing the fact that they died with Jesus, and their appearance from the water displaying their new life and anticipation of the resurrection body. In other words, to put it crudely, baptism doesn’t do anything but represents what has already happened through one’s faith in Jesus. Therefore, it becomes optional for the believer: if it doesn’t do anything, then it isn’t essential. This unfortunately leads to neglect.