A Question I Was Asked:



Doesn't 1 Peter 3 Say that the Act of Water Baptism Can Save Us?








Does the act of water baptism save us? I was thinking of what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3. So doesn't 1 Peter 3 Say that the act of water baptism can save us?



UK Apologetics Reply:

No, it doesn't.

Okay, let us look at this more closely:

18. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19. in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20. who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21. And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22. who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him (1 Pet. 3:18-22).

Water baptism alone cannot save anyone. If it could, then it would become a human work which we could perform to impel or require God to save us. As Christian believers in this age of the Church, we should be baptized, however, one cannot say: no baptism equals no salvation. Why? Because some cannot even undergo water baptism for physical reasons, also the thief on the cross was not baptized but is saved. Further, all Christian organisations accept the veracity of deathbed repentances and last-minute confessions of faith (with no accompanying believer's baptism). Interestingly, throughout all his evangelistic work, Paul the Apostle scarcely mentions baptism at all.

When Peter the Apostle wrote that "baptism now saves you" (verse 21 of our quote), he meant the whole area of what baptism symbolises. He meant that Christian conversion saves us. Let's follow through his comment:

...baptism now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him (verses 21b-22).

So the whole point there is that Christ is our Saviour and He has full authority, "having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him." Christ has been crowned as supreme ruler of this world and He has secured His own people. Baptism would be meaningless except for the fact that it symbolises our resurrection as a coming fact. On what authority? Because we have succeeded in 'being good' for a good length of time? Absolutely not! Because Jesus is the author, perfecter, completer and concluder of our salvation; Satan was defeated at Calvary and now operates on 'reduced power.' (Matthew 12:28-29; Luke 10:17-20; Revelation 20:2-3), from that time forward Satan cannot prevent God from adding the called and chosen to His Church. Now carefully read all of Hebrews 2:5-18. Also consider this:

...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1b-3).

Please notice that this race - our race - is "marked out for us." How come? Because we are called and chosen, Jesus being the author and perfecter of our faith. The Bible reveals that there are only two ways for people to be saved: We can only be saved by 1/ calling and election, or 2/ because of being a recipent of God's mercy at the end of time. The physical act of water baptism cannot save anyone (although those coming to Christ during this age are told to subject temselves to this outward act of faith and obedience wherever possible).

Robin A. Brace. January 26th, 2017.

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