Thanks for your web site. It has been a God-send to folks like me who are relatively new in our walk with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. I have been trying to find a Bible-believing church to attend, but there are so many false teachings and divisions in the body of Christ today that I am having great difficulty.
Here's my question: Scripture says that If we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Isn't this proof that water baptism is unnecessary for salvation?
The problem is that you are not looking at the entirety of God's Word (Psalms 119:160). Because making a left-hand turn is necessary to get to my house does not mean all other turns are unnecessary.
See: What Saves a Person? for a list of things that God says are connected to the salvation of man.
"But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:8-10).
Notice belief and confession lead unto righteousness and salvation. That means they are prerequisites, but it does not necessarily follow that they are all that is needed (after all the word is also meantioned in this passage and Romans 10:17 says you have to hear in order to believe); nor does it follow that belief and confession are the last things needed.
What we do find is: "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21). Here immediate salvation is mentioned in connection with baptism. It doesn't mean that baptism is all that is necessary, but it does mean that salvation does come at the point of baptism.