Before anything else, I want to establish that I do believe that baptism is a commandment in the Bible, and therefore should not be left out for one who is turning/has turned to Christ and wishes to be obedient to the commandments, as someone with real faith does.
I was shocked today when I found out that my sister-in-law (whose amazing: love you Brandi) had never connected baptism with repentance. Having grown up Mormon that was one of the biggest connections made with baptism. Baptism=washing away of sins.
Now, after a bit of study and my new perspective on things, I see baptism as not a requirement for salvation (as Mormons take it because of John 3:5), but rather as the physical symbol of the spiritual baptism, which is the only way to enter the kingdom of God. That's the big difference. Spiritual baptism comes when a person is first saved by faith. Physical baptism is a representation of this: we go through water (as in physical birth) to show a rebirth. But the actual baptism that saves is of the Spirit.
I wouldn't claim to be an expert on this, but I've learned to follow a general rule, which is that if there are many verses that say one thing (e.g. salvation is only through faith) and one verse that says something potentially contradictory (e.g. salvation comes through baptism) then the contradictory interpretation of the single verse is probably incorrect. So in this instance, the non-contradictory interpretation is that the baptism that saves is that of the spirit. The spirit is mentioned in the all-important John 3:5.
5Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Some of the next verses are interesting, though.
6"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
However, physical baptism being required for salvation or not, the relationship with repentance was made so clear to me throughout my childhood. And even now, no longer being Mormon, the relationship is undeniable. When we are saved, we turn from our non-Christian ways and strive for goodness and obedience and self-betterment. Or at least that's what happens ideally: we all get stuck along the way. We're only human. No matter what, though, baptism is a rebirth. And what are we being reborn from? A fallen state. We, as humans, will always be cursed by the fall of Adam. Once we are saved, though, we have found the source of redemption--the cleansing of sins through faith. And this is what baptism represents. This is why I want to get re-baptized as a Christian. I want to show God, through obedience to this commandment, through the ritual washing away of sins, that I have truly come to him in spirit.