Over at IssuesEtc you can here a testimony of a Baptist. Click here. Go to the next portion of the program to hear his testimony, somewhat in the middle.
To understand the proper view of baptism, one must relate it to objective justification.
Q: When did God forgive you of your sins?
A: At the Cross of Jesus 2000 years ago.
Q: How does God apply that gift to your space and time?
A: At my baptism.
This does not violate sola fide and sola gratia, in fact it demonstrates it, the baptism declares the Gospel of forgiveness to the sinner as a free gift. I follow this understanding when it comes to babies, is this baby a sinner? Yes. Did Jesus die for this baby? Yes. Then I can baptize it. Again, objective justification is a free gift.
One time I ask a baptistic Calvinist if there is a parent who has a teenage, say, son who is in a coma and the parent requests that the teenager be baptized, if he would do it? He said--what is the point? I guess he won't because the teenager is unable to profess faith, it can not speak as plain in simple, it is in a coma. But then again this illustrates that God only applies the forgiveness of sins found in the Cross of Jesus, only if the person is able to profess. What about a deaf, mute and blind one? They probably would not be baptized.
Is baptism a ticket? No, because one can reject the gift, they can say, thanks very much I do not care about it. In that case, the Gospel is left in the shelves, languishing and of no benefit to this baptized person.