Covered in Baptismal waters, children begin their life long journey toward God. It is in these waters that regeneration takes place and the initial steps of justification happen. It is not magic, mind you, there must be faith present. But there is no getting around Peter's words that a man, in order to be saved, must repent and be baptized. But Baptism is not, as some have vainly imagined, after-life insurance. For it must be accompanied by a life of repentance for our sins.
I was reading the Epistle of Jude this morning and was thinking about verse 5. "...having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that did not believe." If you have any doubts about the necessity of Baptism and Repentance for salvation, you need look no further than this verse. St. Paul refers to the Exodus as a great Baptism. (I Cor. 10:2) Without this Baptism there would not have been freedom for the Israelites. Without our Baptisms or another means of regeneration, there is not any ability for us to repent of our sins.
Yet, Baptism does not guarantee that we will persevere in fulfiling our Baptismal vows. Essentially, what Jude teaches and calls to remembrance, is that many of the people of God in the days of Moses, forgot to uphold what was signified in their own Baptism. They were given the freedom to worship and obey God without hindrance. But as Jude records, they chose not to believe. Herein is a profound warning for the Christian: you are baptized. That's one component of salvation. But Baptism is a one time act. The life of repentance is just that, a life. In the sacrament we are called to reject the world, the flesh, and the devil. Baptism has no lasting impact on those who will not turn away from their sins. Let us walk carefully in these days, being sure to use the freedom we have been given to serve God. The Israelites who fell in the desert, never seeing the land of promise, are our warning sign today.