Notwithstanding the clear statements of Scripture that baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) and that it “now saves us” (1 Peter 3:21), some object, pointing out that we are saved “by grace through faith … not of works.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) The assumption is that baptism is a work of righteousness done by the recipient. This, however, is not the case.
The action of baptism is clearly illustrated in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch. (Acts 8:25-39) After Philip, the evangelist, had preached unto him Jesus, the eunuch asked for baptism. Then, after he had confessed his faith, the action of baptism is described in these words: “”They went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:38)
Now the question is: Who baptized whom? And the answer is obvious. Philip baptized the eunuch. What then did the eunuch do? He merely submitted to the ordinance of God as administered by God’s servant Philip. Baptism is not a work of righteousness performed by the recipient – rather it is something to which he submits.