1 Peter 3:21 Baptism Saves Us

Al Maxey: Some are convinced that the act of baptism itself is what saves us, and that a godly, devoted, loving, faith-filled, Spirit-led, penitent believer is damned to hell until the moment his nose breaks the surface of the waters of the baptistery. Baptism, for such persons, becomes a sacrament through which God confers grace and blessings.
"Baptism saves, yea, that the water of baptism saves, certainly not as mere water,
but as the water of baptism ... the sacrament saves"
[R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, p. 171].

All of the references which Al Maxey misquotes contradicts all of his high handed calling the Spirit of Christ and Jesus Christ liars.  The believeth-nots are damned because Apistos means "I will not comply. I am in revolt. I am treacherous and cannot be trusted.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent,
        and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
        for the remission of sins,  [Eis never means because of]
        and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [A holy spirit and and citizenship in the invisible kingdom]
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you,
        and to your children, and to all that are afar off,
        even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Many (almost all the ECUMENICAL) are called but few (close to zero of the SECT called the WAY). Jesus doesn't pray for the WORLD who are ruled by Satan as the Viper Race and cannot be baptized.  They cannot receive the Word or Logos or Regulative principle because they are OF the World.

Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying,
        Save yourselves from this untoward [CROOKED] generation.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:
        and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people.
        And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
No one ever suggested JUST MERE WATER: water is where you submit your body to a death-dealing drowning and request A holy spirit or A good conscience.  Jesus has all authority and HE gets to define the INSTRUMENTAL MEANS for accepting disciples. The MARK of a saved person is that he teaches what Jesus commanded to be taught and observed. Anyone who fabricates their own sermons and songs has not and probably never will bow to let Jesus through the elders "teach that which has been taught.

A good conscience or consciousness is the same as A holy spirit: Only those who have been washed with water INTO the Word or into the school of Christ are saved FROM the world of religious observations to which the kingdom does not come.

Al Maxey: Lenski declares rather strongly that he's convinced this is not an actual immersion -- "Immersionists find little support for their view here. The only persons who were immersed were those who were drowned by the flood waters" [ibid]. Adam Clarke agrees with this view -- "The ark was not immersed in the water; had it been so they must all have perished; but it was borne up on the water, and sprinkled with the rain that fell from heaven.

Unless defined as a figurative overwhelming, baptism ALWAYS means IN water.

The Ark is not called a boat or a ship but a COFFIN: It was covered inside and outside with blood red bitumen.  This is, as Peter claimed, a type of Baptism because only those who get INTO Christ or the coffin do not like the SIN get washed way. Lenski confesses that the WATER DESTROYS SIN.

Al Maxey's proof text:

Dr. Charles J. Ellicott observes that this is "an expression which has caused almost as much difficulty as any in the New Testament" [Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 8, p. 422].

"As the passage of Israel through the Red Sea is described as a baptism (1 Corinthians 10:2) because it marked their transition from the state of bondage to a new national life, and left their enemies destroyed in the water, so Noe’s safe passage through the Flood is a type of baptism, because it was a regeneration of humanity, it was a destruction of the carnal, sensual element (Genesis 6:3. “he also is flesh”), it washed the human race from its pollutions, and man rose to a new and more spiritual existence for the time being, with the bow for a sign of a perpetual covenant made.

So baptism is a destruction and death to the flesh, but a new life to the spirit. It must be observed how carefully St. Peter expresses the permanent effect of baptism by the present tense “saveth:” not “saved you,” nor “hath saved you;” it is a living and ever present fact, the “everlasting benediction of His heavenly washing;” it washes the neophyte not from past sins ONLY, but from those which he afterwards commits, if only he still repents and believes.

4) There is, however, another version for which a still better case can be made out: viz., “demand.” It is true that the verb eperôtân more frequently means “to ask” a question than “to ask” a boon, expecting a verbal response rather than a practical one; but it is once used in the New Testament in the latter sense (Matthew 16:1), and in the Old Testament also (as Psalms 137:3). And the only other instance of the word eperôtêma in inspired literature makes for this view. This occurs in Daniel 4:17, where the English has “demand,” and the Latin petitio.

The last seems both the clearest in itself, the best antithesis to the balancing clause, and the most in keeping with the context. It will then be: “Noah’s flood, in antitype, to this day saves you—that is to say, baptism, which is no cleansing of the skin from dirt, but an application to God for a clear conscience.” A “good conscience,” in this case, will not mean an honest frame of mind, but a consciousness of having nothing against you, such as would come to even the chief of sinners from the baptismal remission of sins. “

“With this,” he says, “you cannot be harmed; with this, you will be always ready to defend the faith when called to account. It was because He had this that Christ was able to atone for you and bring you to God, and to conduct His mission to the dead, and to give by His resurrection an efficacy to your baptism; and that baptism itself only saves you by the fact that in it you ask and receive the cleansing of the conscience.”

Al Maxey:  This text, as far as I can see, says absolutely nothing in behalf of immersion in baptism; but is rather, from the circumstance mentioned above, in favor of sprinkling" [Clarke's Commentary, vol. 6, p. 862].

The Real Clark
There are many difficulties in this verse; but the simple meaning of the place may be easily apprehended.
        Noah believed in God; walked uprightly before him, and found grace in his sight;
        he obeyed him in building the ark,
        and God made it the means of his salvation from the waters of the deluge.

Now as the waters of the flood could not have saved Noah and his family,
        had they not made use of the ark;
        so the water of baptism saves no man,
                but as it is the means of his getting his heart purified by the Holy Spirit,
                and typifying to him that purification.

Only the sinners were sprinkled while Noah and his Little Flock were hidden in the ark which means COFFIN: it is coated inside and outside by blood-red bitumen.  They were buried in Christ and the waters did not destroy them.

Al Maxey:  Dr. A. T. Robertson strongly agrees: "Peter here expressly denies baptismal remission of sin" [Word Pictures in the New Testament, via e-Sword]. 

Wuest287 quotes Robertson. Some exegetes argue that this passage rules out the remission of sins throught baptism.

according to Robertson

"Baptism, Peter  explains, does not wash away the flesh either in a literal sense, as a bath for the body or in a metaphorical sense the filth of the soul.  No ceremonies really affect the conscience (Heb 9:13f).  Peter here expressly denies baptismal remission of sins. But the interrogation of a good conscience toward God [alla suneideseos agathes eperotoema eis theon].  Old word for eperotai (to question as in Mark 9:32; Matthew 16:1), here only in the N.T. In ancient Greek it never means answer, but only inquiry.  The inscriptions of the age of the atononines use it of the Senates approval after inquiry.  That may be the sense here, that is, avowal of consecration to God after inquiry, having repented and turned to God and now making this public proclamation of that fact by means of baptism (the symbol of the previous inward change of the heart).

g1905.eperotao, ep-er-o-tah´-o; from 1909 and 2065; to ask for, i.e. inquire, seek: — ask (after, questions), demand, desire, question
g1906. eperotema, ep-er-o´-tay-mah; from 1905; an inquiry: — answer.
g2065. erotao, er-o-tah´-o; apparently from 2046 (compare 2045); to interrogate; by implication, to request: — ask, beseech, desire, intreat, pray. Compare 4441. 

These words always mean that we REQUEST something we do not have. A good conscience is A holy spirit: it becomes holy after our UNholy spirit has it's sins washed away.


According to [Robertsons]  this interpretation (flesh) could denote the physical body in a literal sense of the sinful flesh in an metaphorial sense.  Baptism neither removes dirt from the body nor sins from our souls.  Instead, it is a public declaration of the sinner's pledge toward God, and a symbol of a changed heart.

The problem with this interpretation is that it begs the question, "How does baptism save, if it is only a symbol of salvation that has already taken place? And when does the 'previous inward change of heart' take place?"  If, as Hebrews states, the purification of the conscience by the blood of Christ is the saving act of God, and if, as Peter states in the passage, baptism saves, then we must not assign the former to a time prior to baptism.

And no Version supports Robertson:
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, 1 Peter 3:21NAS

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21RSV

(That, by the way, is what baptism pictures for us: In baptism we show that we have been saved from death and doom by the resurrection of Christ;[c] not because our bodies are washed clean by the water but because in being baptized we are turning to God and asking him to cleanse our hearts from sin.) 1 Peter 3:21LIV

Wuest "Whether eperotoema means "appeal" or "pledge," Peter's basic point remains the same: "baptism now saves us." How it saves us does not depend on the appeal or pledge of the sinner toward God, for no work of man is able to save us  The key here is that the appeal or pledge is that of a "good conscience."  Baptism saves because of the appeal or pledge of a good conscience.  As we have studied before, the sinner's conscience is evil and defiled (Heb 9:9; 10:2, 22; Titus 1:15.

A pledge means that YOU have something to give to God to GUARANTEE that you were saved WITHOUT obeying the gospel;

h2254. chabal, khaw-bal´; a primitive root; to wind tightly (as a rope), i.e. to bind; specifically, by a pledge; figuratively, to pervert, destroy; also to writhe in pain (especially of parturition):—x at all, band, bring forth, (deal) corrupt(-ly), destroy, offend, lay &ä to (take a) pledge, spoil, travail, x very, withhold.

Hupograph-ô , write under an inscription, subjoin or add to it,
sign, subscribe, to psêphisma autou hupegrapsa, sign and so make oneself liable for the payment
IV. Med.,
pledge, mortgage,

Arrabo earnest-money as security.

"What Robertson has overlooked is the fact that the "avowal of consecration to God" he speaks of it is powerless to save if the conscience is still evil and defiled.  It is only when our hearts are "sprinkled from and evil conscience that we can draw near to God (Heb 10:22) and respond to God with a conscience.  this is precisely what God does through baptism--He purifies our conscience with the blood of Christ. It is in this sense that baptism saves us.

The Flood was a TYPE or Pattern: it was a Prophetic Sign to separate the Little Flock of the SECT called the WAY or the World or Ecumenical population.

Anti means because of: We obey the pattern of the flood INSTEAD OF drowning in sin.

1 Pet. 3:21 The like figure (Antitupon or Antitype counterpart) whereunto
..........even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,
..........but the answer of [Appeal FOR not PLEDGE] a good conscience toward God,)
..........by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin,
but ye have obeyed from the heart that form (tupos a model for imitation) of doctrine
which was delivered you. Ro 6:17
............ But now being
............ made free from sin, and
............ become servants to God, ye
............ have your fruit unto holiness, and
............ the end everlasting life. Ro 6:22
2 Thess 3:9 Not because we have not power,
        but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

The Type: Tupos (g5179) too'-pos; from 5180; a die (as struck), i.e. (by impl.) a stamp or scar; by anal. a shape, i.e. a statue, (fig.) style or resemblance; spec. a sampler ("type"), i.e. a model (for imitation) or instance (for warning): - en- (ex-) ample, fashion, figure, form, manner, pattern, print.

Anti (g473) an-tee'; a prim. particle; opposite, i.e. INSTEAD or because of (rarely in addition to): - for, in the room of. Often used in composition to denote contrast, requital, SUBSTITUTION, correspondence, etc.

  1. We are baptized by GRACE instead of having to build an Ark or drown
  2. We are baptized by GRACE instead of having to cross the Red Sea or be destroyed by FAITH ONLY when God said "Quit whining, lift up your arm and MOVE into the jaws of death.
  3. We are baptized by GRACE instead of having to be pinned on a stake and shed OUR blood.

It would be best to read (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God") as a contrast between the outward cleansing of the physical bod and the inward cleansing of our conscience (flesh) denotes the physical body while (conscience) denotes the inner being  

saves, not in the cleansing of the body but in the purifying of the conscience.

c. The saving effect of baptism is through the resurrection of Christ.

Baptism saves us "through the ressurection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to him" (vv. 21, 22).  Christ's resurrection and exhaltation to the right hand of God established Him as our Lord and Savior (Acts 2:29-36).  The risen Christ has received all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18), and upon such authority baptism is effective for the remission of sins.  Because of His resurrection, we man stand justified before God (Rom 4:25). The saving power of God, based on the historical event of the resurrection, now saves us through baptism. 

As we are taught in Romand 5:4,5, 8-1--) and Colossians 2:12, we receive a new life and are able to life a life of righteousness toGod because we are raised with Christ in baptism.  Our spiritual resurrection in baptism is united with the resurrection of Christ.

Al Maxey: Dr. Albert Barnes, in his classic Notes on the Bible, says that this passage is often liable to abuse, and specifically: "the supposition that baptism has of itself a purifying and saving power" [via e-Sword].

BarnesBut the answer of a good conscience toward God - The word here rendered “answer” ( ἐπερώτημα eperōtēma) means properly a question, an inquiry. It is “spoken of a question put to a convert at baptism, or rather of the whole process of question and answer; that is, by implication, examination, profession” - Robinson, Lexicon. It is designed to mark the spiritual character of the baptismal rite in contrast with a mere external purification, and evidently refers to something that occurred at baptism; some question, inquiry, or examination, that took place then; and it would seem to imply:
(1) that when baptism was performed, there was some question or inquiry in regard to the belief of the candidate;

A good conscience is consciousness or an awareness or understanding of the Will of God
Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said,
        See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
bapt-izō ,  3. baptize,tinaEv.Marc.1.4; “en hudati eis metanoianEv.Matt.3.11:—Pass., “baptisthētō hekastos eis aphesin hamartiōnAct.Ap.2.38; “eis KhristonEp.Rom.6.3
Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.
        And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

The eunuch understood which is required for baptism to have any meaning.
Answer is: 611.apokrinomai, ap-ok-ree´-nom-ahee; from 575 and kri÷nw krino; to conclude for oneself, i.e. (by implication) to respond; by Hebraism (compare H6030) to begin to speak (where an address is expected): — answer.
Acts 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: 
        and they went down both into the water,
        both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
gaudĕo  astonishment], to rejoice, be glad or joyful respecting any thing, to take pleasure in, be pleased with, delight in (of inward joy
Barnes:  (2 )that an answer was expected, implying that there was a good conscience; that is, that the candidate had an enlightened conscience, and was sincere in his profession; and,

(3)that the real efficacy of baptism, or its power in saving, was not in the mere external rite, but in the state of the heart, indicated by the question and answer, of which that was the emblem.

(5) yet, it does not follow from this that baptism is of no importance. The argument of the apostle here is, that it is of great importance. Noah was saved by water; and so baptism has an important connection with our salvation. As water bore up the ark, and was the means of saving Noah, so baptism by water is the emblem of our salvation; and when administered in connection with a “good conscience,” that is, with a renovated heart, it is as certainly connected with our salvation as the sustaining waters of the flood were with the salvation of Noah. No man can prove from the Bible that baptism has no important connection with salvation; and no man can prove that by neglecting it he will be as likely to obtain the divine favor as he would by observing it. It is a means of exhibiting great and important truths in an impressive manner to the soul; it is a means of leading the soul to an entire dedication to a God of purity; it is a means through which God manifests himself to the soul, and through which he imparts grace, as he does in all other acts of obedience to his commandments.

Al Maxey: The respected NT Greek scholar Dr. Marvin Vincent, in his "Word Studies," states, "The meaning here is much disputed, and can hardly be settled satisfactorily" [via e-Sword]. I imagine this might be, at least in part, why Dr. Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon of the NT, simply refers to the text as "that vexed passage" [p. 230].

Vincent Following a rejected reading, ᾧ , to which; so that the literal rendering would be the antitype to which. Read ὃ ἀντίτυπον , which, the antitype oras an antitype; i.e., which water, being the antitype of that water of the flood, doth now save you, even baptism. Rev., which, after a true likeness doth now, etc. Ἀντίτυπον , figure, or anti-type, is from ἀντί , over against, and τύπος , a blow. Hence, originally, repelling a blow: a blow against a blow; a counter-blow. So of an echo or of the reflection of light; then a correspondence, as of a stamp to the die, as here. The word occurs only once elsewhere, Hebrews 9:24: “the figures of the true.”

Only here in New Testament. In classical Greek the word means a question and nothing else. The meaning here is much disputed, and can hardly be settled satisfactorily. The rendering answer has no warrant. The meaning seems to be (as Alford),
        “the seeking after God of a good and pure conscience,
        which is the aim and end of the Christian baptismal life.”

So Lange: “The thing asked may be conceived as follows:
'How shall I rid myself of an evil conscience? Wilt thou, most holy God, again accept me, a sinner?
Wilt thou, Lord Jesus, grant me the communion of thy death and life?
Wilt thou, O Holy Spirit, assure me of grace and adoption, and dwell in my heart?'
        To these questions the triune Jehovah answers in baptism,
        'Yea!' Now is laid the solid foundation for a good conscience.
The conscience is not only purified from its guilt,
        but it receives new vital power by means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Al Maxey: The other position, which I embrace, is that our baptism is a profession of faith FROM a good conscience (a good heart with pure motives); a pledge of faith to live our lives in daily love for God and others, and to "remain faithful unto death." Very clearly, I believe, the phrase should be understood as a subjective genitive.

Philip baptized the enuch with no one watching: to whom does he owe the WORKS of his SIGN?

Al Maxey:  Dr. Kenneth Wuest agrees -- "Water baptism is the outward testimony of the believer's inward faith ... his visible testimony to his faith and to the salvation he was given" [Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek NT, vol. 2, p. 109].Wuest.79.gif

Wuest272 c. Baptism is the work of Christ.

Paul describes removing the body of sins of the flesh as a kind of circumcision.  But in contrast to physical circumcision, whichis made in the flesh by hands ephe 2:11, this is an inward, spiritual circumcision made without hands. It is a circumcision of Christ.  In other words, Christ takes away the sins of the believer during baptism.  Therefore, this passage clearly teaches that Christ's saving work on the sinner takes place in baptism.  Furthermore, baptism does not belong to the work, of the law, which seeks justification before God by man's good works. Instead, it is the acceptance of God'sgrac through the work of Christ.

"What Robertson has overlooked is the fact that the "avowal of consecration to God" he speaks of it is powerless to save if the conscience is still evil and defiled.  It is only when our hearts are "sprinkled from and evil conscience that we can draw near to God (Heb 10:22) and respond to God with a conscience.  this is precisely what God does through baptism--He purifies our conscience with the blood of Christ. It is in this sense that baptism saves us.

<img src="cgi-bin/Count.cgi?df=piney/counter_1.Peter.3.21.Baptism.Saves.Us.html.dat">