The argument is made that baptism is not necessary for salvation because it is a work, and we’re not saved by works. The scriptures clearly say we are saved by faith and not by works (Eph 2:8,9; Gal 2:16).
If this is true, what are we to do with passages which say that baptism saves us (I Pet 3:20,21; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; etc.)? Can we not take these passages at face value? Are we missing something? Is the Bible contradicting itself?
The answer is simple. Baptism is not the kind of work under consideration in the passages that contrast faith and works. On the contrary, baptism is considered in scripture to be an act of faith (Gal 3:26,27; Mk 16:16: Rom 1:5).
Colossians 2:12 says that we are
“buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through
faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
There is no contradiction at all between scriptures that say we are saved by faith, and scriptures that say we are saved through baptism. Baptism is an expression of our faith. The inspired writers did not see faith and baptism as mutually exclusive, and neither should we.