Paul consistently taught that those receiving baptism are dead, meaning not saved prior to baptism. There is only one explicit instance under the New Testament that arguably people were baptized after they were already saved in Acts 10, and this was done in order to demonstrated that Gentiles can also receive the Holy Spirit. Dead people get baptism according to Paul. He did not teach born again believers get baptized, he taught believers get baptized to become born again! According to St Paul we are buried in baptism–this alludes to being dunked in the water–this metaphor loses much meaning if the baptism is dry and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Paul teaching baptism is death and resurrection, that is the burial of the old man and a resurrection with Christ through faith:
in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been BURIED WITH HIM in BAPTISM, in which you were also RAISED UP with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the UNCIRCUMCISION of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions–Colossians 2:11-13
3) Without forgiveness of sins
4) Are then made alive and resurrected with Christ through faith
5) Become ‘circumcised’
6) Have the forgiveness of transgressions
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were DEAD in our TRANSGRESSIONS, made us ALIVE together WITH CHRIST (by grace you have been saved), 6 and RAISED UP with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through FAITH; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “CIRCUMCISION,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands–Ephesians 2:4-11
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.–Galatians 3:26-27
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit –Titus 3:5
Paul teaching remission of sins by the mercy of God thru the “washing of regeneration” (baptism) and renewing by the Holy Spirit. This is the same teaching as Ephesians 2:8-9, Colossians 2:10-13, Acts 2:38
If Paul wanted to teach baptism was purely symbolic he sure failed by consistently mentioning baptism when talking about regeneration, being a son of God, being clothed with Christ, being raised alive with Christ.
Romans 6, Paul again teaches baptism=buried with Christ, going from dead in sins to new life:
How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.–Romans 6:2-4
Then, Paul goes on to say that we were crucified with Christ! So. a person being baptized is crucified->buried->resurrected.
Paul was saved at baptism
Paul’s conversion, when was Paul saved? He believed on the road to Damascus and when he appeared to Ananias, but was he saved? No.
Luke tells us what Paul died to wash away his sins–call on the Name and be baptized:
Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’–Acts 22:16
After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing. –John 3:22
And I will sprinkle CLEAN WATER upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep Mine ordinances, and do them.–Ezekiel 36:25
the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, they could hear them speaking in TONGUES and glorifying God.–Acts 10:45-46
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’–Acts 11:15-16
Therefore, ‘gift of the Holy Spirit’=’speaking in tongues’=’baptism of the Holy Spirit, and elsewhere =”laid hands” (Acts 19:3)
Gentiles were give the Holy Spirit prior to water baptism to show Jews they were accepted by God, every other instance in the NT water baptism comes first then Holy Spirit baptism
The Bible does not tell us for certain, but we are told is that 1) Jesus baptized more than John, 2) John baptized all of Jerusalem and Judea, 3) many people apostatized because Jesus’ teaching of “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood.” So if Jesus baptized more than John and John baptized the people of Judah and Jerusalem, its possible that the thief/insurrectionist may have been included, but apostacised as some of Jesus’ disciples did when not believing Jesus’ doctrine.
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John–John 4:2
And ALL THE COUNTRY of JUDEA was going out to him, and ALL THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM, and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.–Mark 1:5
As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. –John 6:66
In conclusion, it IS possible the thief died baptized as a repentant apostate. Regardless, if he was or not, the NT does not say baptism is the SOLE means of becoming born again–ordinarily calling on the Name is part of baptism–but when not available–all those “who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.”