I have thoughtfully prayed over this as how to approach this discussion with the many various views and post that have been made so far and have come to the conclusion that I should start from the very first and study how baptism is taught from scripture.
First lets note that baptism is real and has real meaning to God that it is not just something we do as show. It was so real that God made a special person who soul purpose was to teach it.
Luke 1:11-17 (KJV)
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
What was the message this hand picked man of God taught??
Luke 3:2-3 (KJV)
2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Read closely what it says [bold] preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;[/b]
Baptism was designed for the purpose of remission of sin. It is Gods plan here not man and it clearly is spelled out what baptism is for.
Now at this time baptism not complete it is in its infancy stage as we see John teach.
Luke 3:16 (KJV)
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Johns baptism is a transitioning baptism into the soon to be completed baptism of the spirit. Johns baptism could not give the indwelling spirit as Christ baptism for Christ had not yet been glorified. The cross is soon to fill the purpose of baptism. That is why Johns baptism is of water and Jesus is of spirit. Only after the cross can the spirit be given. Thus John 3:3 born of water and the spirit.
So yes At that point in time Johns baptism was for remission of sin and placed one in a holding of repentance awaiting the fulfillment of the kingdom to come. It was the beginning gospel of Christ just as the word tells.
Mark 1:1-9 (KJV)
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
Baptism is recorded in the word of God as being part of the gospel. At this point it is just the beginning it is in its infancy it is waiting to be completed but it is recorded as baptism for the remission of sin.It does have a purpose it is not hidden from anyone but clearly spelled out just what baptism is for.
Now after the cross is baptism still in play??
Yes no longer Johns but now baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is fulfilled and now replaces that of John.
After Peter opens the doors to the kingdom we all been waiting for the first sermon preached was Christ death burial and resurrection and upon hearing this the response is recorded as ?
Acts 2:37-39 (KJV)
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Here we see the completed plan that started with God giving John his marching orders. Now the cross is fulfilled and the completed purpose for baptism is finalized. We are to repent and be baptized in Christ name for the remission of sin and to received the promised indwelling of the spirit.
It is spelled out right there what baptism is for and what is done in baptism. It is not a work of man as many like to claim for if one reads the true purpose for which God made baptism in Christ name they can only see that it is God who is at work in this no way can man force the transformation of dead in sin to alive in Christ. Only God can do the work in baptism in Christ name man can only submit to God for the sanctification he offers.
Some tell me that it is not related to remission of sin but Paul tells that it is.
Acts 22:16 (KJV)
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Paul records that baptism washes away sin just as Peter preached on the first day he opened the doors to the new kingdom. Paul also says it is calling on the name of the Lord. It is recorded so all men can read.
Paul also teaches it is because of the cross sins are remitted in Baptism. When many at Corinth was debating over how was more for who baptized them what did Paul say?
1 Corinthians 1:13 (KJV)
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
The clear note hear is that Jesus was crucified for you that is why you are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The baptism that Jesus is to baptize with is this baptism of Acts 2:38 for he died for you so this is clear teaching that the cross is where the work of the cross is that gives the baptism in Jesus name the power to remit sin and give the indwelling spirit.
Some tell me that it is a dry baptism that gives the spirit one is baptized by the spirit void water baptism. I have yet to find the scriptures for that but Acts 2:38 is clear confirmed by other passages.
As stated above the remission of sin is verified in Acts 22:16
It being the water baptism of Acts 2:38 is verified in Acts 10
Acts 10:47-48 (KJV)
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Clearly recorded that the baptism in Jesus name the one He was to baptize with is indeed in water.
Also the fact that it is where the indwelling spirit is also give and recorded difference between the baptism of John and of Christ is clearly recorded in Acts as well.
As to the comparison of the baptisms we see it confirmed here starting in Acts 18
Acts 18:24-26 (KJV)
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
Apollos was teaching and baptizing in the name of John after the cross because he had not been up dated but when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. They taught Apollos the completed (more perfectly)gospel of Christ.
In Chapter 19 we see Paul ran into these that must had been taught by Apollos and read what is recorded on the matter.
Acts 19:1-5 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
It is recorded that the baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is where the spirit is given. The baptism of John is of no effect because the baptism in Christ name that Christ is to baptize with is in effect today and in it and only it is the indwelling spirit given.
There are more and more scripture that teaches just what baptism is and accomplishes Per Romans 6:3ff but I think I have given enough to show what the scriptures teach and admittedly left a bunch out for this is way to long already but we can go through them if needed.
I am not saying that Baptism is the only thing that saves or that it is a work of man but I am saying that it is part of the Gospel as pointed by scripture and what its purpose was designed for. It is of no good with out the faith one must believe the cross before submitting to it is of value. The gospel is the cross and that is where baptism is also.The water does nothing it is the faith that God does as He said when we submit.They transforming work as described in Romans 6Is done only by God.
But as it was put in Mark
Mark 16:16 (KJV)
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
One has to believe and be baptized to be saved with out belief in the cross it is lost there only way any of salvation works is through belief in the cross. So he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Why baptized because of the proof of what baptism is designed to do as show in the word.
Therefore the born of water and the spirit is a direct note to baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.