The sad thing is that there are many people today who try to use "the thief on the cross" as their justification for not obeying the clear and plain command of Jesus to be baptized. On the Day of Judgment it will not be the case of "what about the thief on the cross". The thief on the cross was before the death of Christ and before the New Testament took effect. Hebrews 9:17 says, "For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives." We cannot be saved like the thief because Christ’s New Testament is in effect for us today. Anyone refusing to obey Jesus on His terms has no legitimate claim on the salvation that Jesus offers. One will certainly be held accountable for his disobedience by the eternal loss of his soul. He will only have himself to blame.
People need to stop spending their time in trying to figure out a way to get around doing what the Lord said, but rather they need be willing to submit to the final authority of our Lord. When we stand before the Lord on the day of judgment to be judged by Him, there are going to be many who have chosen not to do what the Lord has said. Romans 10:3 tells us that people are "Seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God."
Jesus said in Mark 16:16, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." How are people going to explain to Jesus on the Day of Judgment why they did not do what He says and for the reason He says? The New Testament of Christ requires us to be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16) so that we can be saved (Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21). It did not take effect until after the death of Christ. The thief did not come under the New Testament as we do today. It will be too late on Judgment Day to find out that one hasn’t obeyed the Lord and is still lost.