|(My Baptism - 2009)|
John preached repentance and reformation of heart and life. He was the "the one who came before" - he was the last prophet. Although he does not have his own "book" in the Bible, his work is described quite specifically. His job was to "prepare the way" for Jesus' coming.
The first step in any Christian's life is acknowledgement that Jesus died for their sins. In baptism, we die to self. It is a public sign that we identify with Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Baptism doesn't save us nor does it bring forgiveness of sins, because we are "saved" the moment we repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness. The thought process I was raised on was that if you weren't baptized, you weren't getting into heaven. Remember the thief crucified with Christ? "This day you will be with me in paradise."
Knowing and believing that Christ's death - his shed blood and resurrection brings us the promise of eternal life, is the only way to heaven. In our baptism, we acknowledge openly and publicly that knowledge and belief. No one can speak for us, act on our behalf or consent to our "future" acceptance of Christ as our Savior. It is a decision we, ourselves can only make. Baptism is but a symbol of that acceptance.
Don't get hung up on "the 'to do list' to get to heaven" teachings. The only item that should be on there has already be completed. It was completed some 2000 years ago when a carpenter from Nazareth named Jesus was nailed to a tree. All we have to do is believe!