Is respectable Christian behavior a prerequisite for baptism?

Is becoming Christian behavior a prerequisite for baptism?

Four cases come to mind. If a believer expects himself to be perfect before being baptized, he will wait for the Rapture. At that point, it will be too late to obey the Scriptures. Willingness to unreservedly obey the God’s Word is a sufficient condition for baptism (Acts 2:41). If a believer carelessly persists in self-will, he is not giving evidence that he is a Christian. For that person, baptism is inappropriate. If, in the third case, a person is obviously unaware of New Testament teaching regarding some aspects of Christian behavior, then patience, support, and counsel are appropriate, but not baptism. If he gladly receives further teaching, baptize him. Fourth, if a person still struggles with an addiction, such as smoking, baptizing him seems inconsistent. Baptism declares that the believer has died with Christ and been raised with Him to walk in "newness of life" (Romans 6:4). This newness of life is not merely a life that has changed, but a life energized by a different kind of power; it is resurrection life. To suffer under the power of a visible, addictive sin denies the power professed in baptism. Apart from daily salvation from the power of sin, any believer could founder. However, to baptize a person who is smoking, for instance, publically states that smoking is acceptable Christian behavior. Some think being baptized will help break their habit. That’s seldom the case. Breaking the nicotine habit is admittedly difficult for some, especially when they have suffered other "more serious" addiction. Perhaps the real difficulty is in confronting the fact that this "lesser" addiction is as unacceptable and sinful as the "more serious" addiction is.

D. Oliver