"There is also an anti-type which now saves us- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer [or pledge] of a clean conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." 1Peter3,21 KJ
Baptism: It's Your Choice
We've written in this space many times about a bible-based water baptism for faithers, for adults. This is sometimes called "believers" baptism, but we prefer "faither's" baptism because 'even the devils believe.'
Faithers also follow and obey. Besides, the just don't just 'live by belief' they 'live by faith.'
This bible based-baptism is a vital part of every person's freedom and choice.
Why would you or I let anyone make this decision for us?
It is our estimation that this baptism is being neglected, unpreached, dismissed, and minimized in favor of more easy-pleasy gospels, such as the prosperity gospel, or churchianity, like my church saves me.
Christians are all over the theological map regarding the need for baptism. But while this is so, my testimony is that this discussion is still fruitful and rich in grace, so long as we don't get tribal, cultish and argumentative about it. The gospel is written for us and yes we can understand it with a little patience and some good faith and prayerful study.
I am so thankful that the Lord brought me to the waters of full immersion baptism after having some of these biblical insights. All I now teach about water baptism is in hopes that others will have the same life-changing (cosmos changing), bible experience of water baptism (and Holy Ghost Baptism) that I and millions of others have had.
Before I attempt to add something more about water baptism in terms of 1Peter3,21's assertion that water baptism is our 'answer' of a clean and obedient conscience towards God and man, perhaps a short overview would help.
Overview Of Various Teaching On Baptism
Some see baptism as a mere symbol of salvation. Yes it's an act of obedience, but hey just a symbol (like the Lord's Supper), not part of the gospel of salvation itself. This symbol dialog does not go far enough in our assessment. Others like some modern evangelicals are cutting it out of their practice almost entirely, often by merely quoting the great German reformer Martin Luther's phrase "faith alone" as being the only requirement for salvation.
This latter development is arguably a man made philosophical construct, that ignores the fact that God always backs up what he commands us to do, if we do it with faith, with the grace of the Holy Ghost, in terms of further wisdom, further healing, further understanding of his word, etc etc, that Spiritually complements our actual obedience to his word. In other words, God doesn't command us to do things in his word without gracing us with greater revelation and blessings from our obedience to it.
Nobody in the early church separated out or deleted faithers baptism from the gospel of salvation as proclaimed by the Apostles. It's what everbody did.
The Vatican State Church sees infant baptism as an effectiing grace to the baptized on the basis of the faith of the Godparents and the church, which is capable of dispensing God's grace, with or without, the personal faith of the person being baptized, or doing the baptism.
This ministry sees baptism as part of the ongoing Apostolic and biblical faith mandate given by Jesus immediatly before he ascended per Matthew 28,19. We assess it to be an integral part of the gospel itself, Mark16,16, and vital witness to the gospel itself. It requires a personal faith. It is to be proclaimed publicly, as the apostle Peter did on the day of Pentecost (Acts2.36-39) when asked by folks what they had to do to be saved.
Furthermore, a faithful baptism, done with the actual repentant personal faith of the one being baptized, is according to Acts2,38 connected to the actual remission, the wiping out, of our sins, and thus vitally connected to our lasting Spiritual health. It is also an identity marker of who we are in Christ, as Jesus was marked as God's son in whom God was well-pleased, and also a strengthening by the Holy Ghost, for his, and our, mission(s).
Acts 19 depicts the apostle Paul coming to Ephesus and encountering folks who knew nothing of the Spirit of God, and so he baptized them in water in Jesus NAME, after which they received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This proves the ordinary first-in-time relationship between water baptism and Holy Ghost baptism per Acts 2,36-39. This also demonstrated and proved that one is 'born again' by both being faithfully "washed" in the water of baptism, and by the Spirit that shows up at a faithful water baptism, and then Holy Ghost Baptism itself (John3,5), and that these two baptisms are really 'one baptism,' effectuated by our 'one faith,' 'One Spirit,' within the one body of Christ (Ephesians4,4-5).
In short, we at Zion Pentecost Mission see faither's baptism as a vital part of rooting ourselves fully in the salvation of Jesus Christ, a threshold milestone to the fullness of salvation, and the faith moment (again only if we have personal faith) when we change from the fallen team of the world, the devil and the flesh, and are raised up and onto Jesus' salvation team (Colossians3,1-3, Colossians1,13, Romans 8).
I played a lot of hockey as kid and it's possible to walk on ice with regular shoes. But to develop any power and balance there, to play the game right, you put on skates. The new covenant power and strength that comes from a faither's baptism in Jesus' NAME is like the difference between walking on ice in shoes or putting on skates.
Faithful Baptism Gives Us An Unshakeable Confidence Of Who We Are In Christ
Now 1Peter3,21 adds something more to the frothy and recreative and faithful waters of baptism.
It tells us that our water baptism is a vital part of our pledge to God and others, or our "answer" to God and others, that we have a clean conscience, that we are obedient to Him, that we have done 'all we have been asked' in serving him. Like the hymn says "after you have done all you can, just stand."
In the specific context of 1Peter, it was their "answer" or "pledge" that their suffering is for "doing good", serving on Jesus' team, 1Peter3,17 and 22.
When we were kids, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance, every day, to the flag and to the United States of America. Who could forget this? This is about civic allegiance. Well, our public baptism in Jesus Name is our pledge in the religious realm, to serve and follow Jesus, not just profess and believe, but to live according to his Lordship and saviorship (sic) of our lives.
Are we forgetting the pledge we made at baptism?
Are we even making one?
Or put it another way, wouldn't our conscience toward God and others be much stronger if we all got baptized as adult faithers, as scripture says?
Acts 19- the 12 disciples had no strength in the pagan town of Ephesus, a town spiritually dominated by the false cult of Artemis, a Greek Amazonian goddess. They needed both baptisms for the answer of a clean and strong conscience!
1Timothy1,4, is also about Ephesus. Paul has been run out of town after trying to clean house of all the false teachers that are not accepting the full gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul exhorts Timothy to surpress the remaining false teachers, teaching the myths and geneologies of their ancestral Jewish families, perhaps saying "we come from priestly or Levite families, why should we get baptized in Jesus NAME?" (John Gill notes 10 different ancestral-family hierarchies post Babylonian exile, biblehub.com 1Timothy1,4).
"Why should we clean up our moral life?" (cf 1Timothy1,9-11)
"We still have the law of Moses." (cf 1Timothy1,7-8).
"We don't need a pure conscience or a sincere [gospel] faith." (cf 1Timothy1,5 and 11).
But Paul is telling Timothy, just as Peter is exhorting Christians in this same part of the world at 1Peter3 and verse 21, that they must have a good conscience to persevere and represent Christ well.
We don't know exactly all that was going on in Ephesus, but we do know from Acts19,7 that 12 leading folks had not received water baptism. We also know from Acts19,13-15 that the seven sons of Sceva did not have the power to exorcise demons, suggesting that they too were not baptized.
So, Acts 19 and 1Timothy1 fairly suggest that there were probably folks, who for various reasons like today, dismissed or minimized the gospel requirement to get baptized in Jesus NAME.
"We might sort of believe in Jesus, as a prophet, but get baptized into his death and resurrection in His NAME for salvation?"
"Now you are going too far?"
"Get baptized and follow a guy who we have never seen?"
"Pledge ourselves forever to an invisible Lord?"
There's no way to shape an easy-pleasy gospel that includes a faither's water baptism as our "pledge" or "answer" of a clean conscience toward God and man.
But, even so, 1Peter3,21 says God does reward those who follow through with this biblical water baptism in that it affords an unshakeable and fully rooted confidence in being right with God and man, of having done what Jesus said to do.
Praise the Lord Jesus, that sounds like the true gospel.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...