1 Peter 3-5

"And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."                   I Peter 3:21-22, NIV 

Perhaps the most bizarre teaching in the past century and a half is the one that denies baptism as a requirement for salvation. I'm not sure how the teaching ever gained traction, but it has and it needs to be addressed by every honest seeker of God.

In the context of the passage above, we read about Noah and his family. Peter points out that all eight of them were saved through water. It is ironic that the flood that killed all of the rest of mankind was the same flood that saved Noah and his family - but there is one notable difference: They had an ark! Why did they have that ark? It was because Noah built it. Why did Noah build that Ark? Was it because he was some kind of a smart-alec who wanted to be saved by his own works? No, we are told very specifically by the inspired writer of Hebrews why Noah built that ark.

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." Hebrews 11:7, NIV 

Faith is mentioned three times in this brief passage as the motivation (along with holy fear) for Noah's obedience in building that ark. Does anyone honestly believe that Noah would have been saved from the flood if he had claimed the privilege of "faith only" and refused to build that ark?

God has taken great care in putting His word together, wouldn't you agree? If you have studied this far, then you have seen that God does not make idle statements and that He is not careless with His inspired Word. The reason that Peter wrote that baptism now saves us is for one reason and one reason only: Baptism is a part of God's plan of salvation! 

Some will be quick to claim that baptism is a work, therefore it cannot be a part of God's plan of salvation. They essentially make the intellectual claim of "faith only". I don't want to be unkind to those who make this claim, nor do I want to question the motives of their hearts when they make such a reckless assertion, but I do want to say this:

We who accept God's Word as the final authority believe in what it says! We believe that we are saved by grace because the holy Scriptures teach that we are saved by grace, (Ephesians 2:8-10). We believe that we are saved by the sacrifice of Christ because the Bible so states, (Romans 5:6-9; I Timothy 1:15-16).

We further believe that the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit saves us because the Bible says so, (II Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 1:13-14). We believe that we are saved by the Gospel - the revealed Word of God - because the Bible tells us so, (I Corinthians 15:2, II Thessalonians 2:13-15). We believe that we are saved by faith and belief because the Bible says that we are saved by faith and belief, (Ephesians 2:8, John 3:16). We believe that we are saved by confessing our belief that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, because the Bible so teaches, (Romans 10:9-10; I John 4:15). We believe that we are saved by repentance of our sins because the Bible says that we are saved by the repentance of our sins, (Acts 2:37-41; Acts 3:19).

And... if we are consistent in our claims of why we believe what we believe about salvation, then we have to say - without apology - that we are saved and have our sins washed away by being baptized because the Holy Word of God clearly reveals that we are saved and have our sins washed away by being baptized, (Acts 2:37-41; I Peter 3:21; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; Mark 16:15-16). The Bible has no other teaching... do you?

One last thought: A recipe for a tasty dish often has many ingredients. A good cook knows that you cannot leave any of these ingredients out if they want to be faithful to the original recipe. It's true that a cook can "adjust" the recipe to their own taste - they often do - but understand this: We are not making a plan of salvation to our own "taste". We are following God's plan of salvation - to the letter - because we know by faith in His revealed Word that His way is the only acceptable way. Some will call this "legalism" - that's their privilege. But the Holy Word of God calls it something different. It refers to this type of behavior and action as faith, obedience, and love!

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Romans 10:17, NIV

"And without faith it is impossible to please God..." Hebrews 11:6, NIV

"If you love Me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15, NIV 

 

May God richly bless you as you seek to find His whole plan of salvation, and as you determine in your heart to act upon what He says!