The New Testament book of Romans lays a great foundation for understanding baptism. In chapters 3-5, Paul establishes the truth of salvation – it is by grace through faith. After stating the depth of human sinfulness and emphasizing the futility of human effort – what the Bible refers to as “the law” – in bringing salvation, he made it clear that our only way to God is through faith in Jesus Christ, our perfect sacrifice for sin.

Romans 3:22-28 (NLT)

We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.

For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.

Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

Paul showed that good deeds have nothing to do with salvation. In Romans 5:1 Paul states that our peace with God comes through faith.

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.