People who believe that baptism saves you base it on 1 or 2 verses, like people do with other distorted teachings. One must always take the composite whole of Scripture when forming doctrine. I found 22 verses in my Bible concordance which mention baptism but none of them clearly state that it is necessary for salvation. There are two verses which, I believe, are commonly used to support this so-called teaching, Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16, which we will take a look at shortly.
Before we do, it would be beneficial to examine three key passages, also found in the Book of Acts. In Acts 8:35-38 confession of Jesus comes before baptism. Moving to the next chapter we find another account in 9:17-18 that says the people were filled with the Holy Spirit before they were baptized. In the third situation given in 16:30-33, one of the listeners posed the question, "What must I do to be saved?" The response was to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. In all three accounts baptism came after confession or the filling of the Holy Spirit.
These passages stand alone, and need no interpretation; they are very clear.
Now let's move to the two verses I mentioned earlier. In Acts 2:38, it reads, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins..." However, repentance still comes first. Acts 22:16 says,"Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." Even though baptism comes first in this passage, there is nothing to prevent baptism and calling upon the name of the Lord for the remission of one's sins, all happening at the same time, unless something in the Greek language would indicate otherwise.
Normally when people are baptized in a church service, they also give a public confession of their faith. Not only are these two verses questionable, but they are entirely overruled by the three passages mentioned earlier.
I have had enough of people who choose to base teaching on 1 or 2 questionable verses "...which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scripture, to their own destruction." (II Peter 3:16)
Besides this, what do the people who hold this view do with all of the numerous passages throughout the entire New Testament that teach salvation by grace through faith? This is a classic case of choosing what one wants to believe and ignoring the rest.
Here is another question. If baptism is a requirement for salvation, then why was Jesus baptized?
Baptism does NOT save you. If you think it does you may believe you are saved, but are not.