The Truth About Water Baptism
Q: Didn't Apostle Paul say we are not saved by our own works?
A: When talking about baptism, many people use the verse in Ephesians 2:9 out of context.
Paul did not say that we did not need to obey Jesus. In fact, Paul himself obeyed baptism (Acts 22:16), and he advocated obeying Jesus (Romans 6:16).
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul was writing about not boasting in our own good deeds. In the Jewish faith, one pleases God by doing good works and keeping the law. The Jewish people believe that they are going to bring about the Messiah by working hard enough to make the world ready for his return. Apostle Paul is simply saying that the Messiah brought grace while we were yet in our sins and separated from God by our iniquities.
There is nothing we can boast about in baptism. In fact, baptism is not a "work" at all. It is a spiritual birth.
Is there anything to boast about in your natural birth? You didn't ask to be born. You didn't plan it, think about it, desire it, or do anything to make it come to pass. It just happened.
Your spiritual birth is similar. God made the plan. He paid the price to make it a reality. He revealed the gospel to you. There is, however, one very big difference. You get to choose whether you want to be born.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.