The Baptist then takes the denial that Baptism is salvific one step further. They claim that baptism is an act of obedience on our part that symbolizes our union with Christ. Just as is the case with the Lord's Supper, the Baptist view is actually simpler than the Presbyterian and Reformed view. All they really have to do is read "symbolizes" into every text. There is no reason within Scripture to read "symbolize" into the text but the Baptist reads his own man-made tradition and presuppositions into the text. Since the Baptist assumes that baptism is our work then it cannot be salvific since we are not saved by works. Since baptism is our work then infants should not be baptized because they are incapable of performing the work. But this very statement should cause the Baptist to doubt his own position. Even though the Baptist does not recognize the baptism of the infant as a valid baptism, babies are baptized in the same way that adults are. Water is applied to the person along with the Trinitarian baptismal formula. In both adult and infant baptism, the person being baptized isn't doing any work at all. They are being baptized. Something is being done to them. If I punch someone in the face it is not the other person's work to be punched in the face. They are merely receiving the punch. God does work through human instruments to baptize just as He does to preach the Gospel but in both cases it is God's work.not man's. The man is merely an instrument. Baptists and Reformed/Presbyterians will often argue over the interpretation of Acts 2:38-39.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:38-39 ESV)Both Baptists and Presbyterians/Reformed claim to have the proper interpretation of the text but neither one would actually say what Peter is saying here. Presbyterians/Reformed point to the promise made to children of believers and Baptists point to the need for repentance but neither affirm what the text actually says. The promise in the text is "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Both forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit are promised to all those who repent and are baptized. The promise applies to anyone who hears this promise which includes those standing there, their children, and anyone else who hears the promise later on. Both the Baptist and the Reformed/Presbyterian deny that the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins is given in baptism. Both deny the promise. Baptists say that repentance is required and that babies cannot repent. Although repentance often results in some outward display of repentance among those who are able to provide such a display at its root it is a change of mind as the Greek word itself indicates. Repentance isn't our work either. Repentance is worked in us by the preaching of repentance. The Baptist turns both repentance and baptism into law and demand but God gives them as gift and Gospel.