Efficacy of Baptism



“18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” 1 Peter 3:18-22 KJV


Above is one of the passages that ultimately led to me becoming a Lutheran.  The reason is that they are the only ones I have seen that can seem to properly teach the passage in line with the normal rules of grammar and language.  Everyone else seems to twist it horribly.  That said, the passage wasn’t easy for me either and in this post I will explain my analysis of it past and present as I wrestled with the text.


When I first started examining this passage I was against the plain reading of it and was trying to find ways to force it to say something else.  The first thing that I did was focus on the phrase “like figure”.  The NKJV renders this as “antitype” which can mean symbol.  So I argued that it was saying baptism is a symbol of salvation.


The problem with that is it ignores the previous verse entirely.  Grammatically the anitype is the story of Noah and how eight were saved by water.  An antitype pointing to baptism, which the text says saves us.


After that I tried to understand appealing to God for a clean conscience as saving us.  Afterall, the text says we are not saved by the “putting away of filth from the flesh” but by “the answer of a good conscience toward God”.  I was happy with this reading for a while.


Unfortunately that doesn’t work either.  You are in effect saying that a request and appeal to God for a clean conscience is what saves you.  To understand the text this way would mean that we help God save us by appealing to him, thus adopting synergism by means of works righteousness.  Might as well become a Roman Catholic at that point.


There is only one other option to save Creedo Baptism as far as I saw it, and it is to confess that there are two (2) baptisms.  One of the Spirit and one of the Water.  In this model you would then argue that 1 Peter 3:21 must only be speaking of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This framework helps for all those other pesky verses teaching a salvific baptism as well.  One can simply discern that when the Bible refers to baptism in an efficacious sense it is talking about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19) (John 3:5) (Acts 2:38-39)  (Acts 22:16)  (Gal 3:27) (Rom 6:3-5) (Eph 5:25-27) (Col 2:11-12)  (Titus 3:4-7).  And when one reads a verse saying that Baptism totally does nothing and its just a sign one has made a decision for Jesus they can understand it as water baptism (No Biblical Texts).


Ultimately the reason I reject the above hermeneutic, aside from the lack of a single text to support its thesis, is the fact that the Bible is clear there is only one Baptism.


“One Lord, one faith, one baptism” Eph 4:5 KJV


Lest there be any confusion Jesus Christ does in fact teach that water Baptism is Baptism.  This means one cannot simply delete water baptism from the Bible either.


“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:;  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt 28:19-20 KJV


So with only one (1) Baptism as an option, Jesus defining said Baptism, and Peter clearly stating Baptism saves you, there is no other option.  One must accept what the scripture says here or nullify it with a systematic theology that they impose over and against the text.


I simply refuse to do that



About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Armchair Lounge, Soteriology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Efficacy of Baptism

  1. prince.dc93 says:

    I have more of a question than a comment. I am not sure if you have written it but I am yet to see in my reading so far anything about the “procedure,” for lack of a better word, for baptism. There seems to be 2 different arguments 1. Baptism in the name of the father, son and holy spirit and 2. Baptism in the Name of Jesus. Coments.


    • ACTheologian says:

      Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
      Matthew 28:19 ESV

      And that is how the church has always done it. A short time ago a few cultic groups started to baptize only in the name of Jesus. They abuse the descriptive narrative of Acts for this.

      Peter is simply distinguishing between old covenant ritual baptisms for gentile converts to Judaism and Baptism into the death burial and resurrection of Christ that Jews and gentiles require.

      Even without that understanding, one should distinguish between descriptive and prescriptive narrative. And in Matt 28 it is Christ himself issuing the prescriptive directions for baptism.


  2. Grace ambassador says:

    GRACE And Peace, actheologian! I Praise The LORD JESUS that you have seen the Light And have “come out” (as God Commands in 2 Cor 6 : 17) of SDA (SAD?)! I have “tried” to discuss “Prophecy/Sabbath” with them, but it seems “pride/arrogance” are obstacles to reaching them!
    I see that you have “struggled” with “baptism” Passages in order to become a Lutheran! I can “identify” with that as I myself have also “come out” of more than one “religious organization” that were “corrupting” The Word Of God about this Very Important Doctrine, although they did preach:
    The Gospel Of The GRACE Of God!
    I believe you will agree with me that we both must “Agree” With God About This Very Important
    Doctrine. I also agree with “Clear Governs Unclear!” With this in mind, I would like to present
    what may seem “distasteful” to believe (yes, I know what it is to be called names, especially “heretic,” for what I have “concluded God Has for me.”)! But, this is the Only “View” That I have found in Scripture, to Answer (for me) what has “plagued” the Church, and left it powerless! =
    ………………………………………. Division Over “Water” Baptism!
    If this causes an “earthquake” in your present theology, we may have to go “deeper” with our
    research, and find out, In A Larger Context, If God Actually Has Two “Different” Programs (of which Most are not aware), And find If That Gives us Even Better Scriptural Answers to “solve” this “Division,” so that we would obey God by “Endeavouring For Unity In The Body Of CHRIST!”
    ……………………………………………………………… (Ephesians 4 : 3)
    actheologian, please Be Richly Blessed In HIM, our Blessed Saviour!
    Is Baptism A “Spiritual” Identification With JESUS CHRIST?
    I believe, By The Scriptures, that we are “spiritually identified with” (baptized into) CHRIST, HIS Crucifixion, HIS Death, HIS Burial, and HIS Resurrection! (Sounds like The Greatest News I’ve Ever heard!), so….. some of the Confirming Scriptures:
    Rom 6 : 3 “…baptized into JESUS CHRIST …baptized into HIS Death”
    Rom 6 : 4 “…buried with HIM by baptism into Death”
    Rom 6 : 6 “…crucified (JESUS’ Baptism?) With HIM,” And also:
    “For as many of you as have been BAPTIZED into
    CHRIST have put on CHRIST!” (Galatians 3 : 27)
    { Major NOTE: NO “water” Found “In The Context” Of Any Of These Passages! }
    With The SuperNatural Help of The Blessed Holy Spirit, And Comparing
    spiritual Scripture WITH spiritual Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2 : 13),
    This Baptism makes us “spiritually”:
    “COMPLETE in HIM, WHO Is The Head Of
    ALL principality and power!” (Colossians 2 : 10)
    “…the circumcision made WITHOUT HANDS (God?)
    …the CIRCUMCISION of CHRIST!” (Colossians 2 : 11)
    “Buried with HIM in BAPTISM, wherein also ye are risen With
    HIM through the Faith [ Faithfulness ] of THE OPERATION of God,
    WHO hath RAISED HIM from the dead!” (Colossians 2 : 12), AND,
    “Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
    But According To His Mercy HE SAVED us By The WASHING of
    REGENERATION, and RENEWING of The Holy Ghost!” (Titus 3 : 5)
    “Which HE Shed on us Abundantly Through JESUS CHRIST our SAVIOUR!”
    (Titus 3 : 6) { Is This TRUE for you, or is “religion your saviour”? }
    What? “Dirty Earth water” washing of regeneration? = Error!
    …………………….. God’s Correction Is Written:
    “That HE Might Sanctify And CLEANSE it (HIS Church) With:
    (Ephesians 5 : 26 cp 1 Corinthians 6 : 11; Psalm 119 : 140;
    Psalm 12 : 6 = KJV Bible? = 7 Revisions of purification?)
    { Does Not God Know How To “Preserve” HIS Word? }
    Even Peter { after receiving The “understanding Of The Truth Of The
    Mystery, From The Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 3 : 5) }, AGREES With Paul
    on The New Birth BY “The Incorruptible Seed = The Word Of God!” Amen?
    { Why Is Not This Washing BY Pure Water (HIS Word)? (1 Peter 1 : 23)
    Our choices, “saved” by men’s “words” OR Saved BY God’s Word And HIS Spiritual Operation!
    Now, This Should “Complete The ‘Spiritual’ OPERATION” of The Triune GodHead,
    BUT, Are we done “Comparing ALL The Scriptures” Of Baptism?
    (can’t believe it is this involved, eh? When men think “baptism” should just be simple/simply “water!,” which they then “turn” into “complex confusion!!”)
    Well, let’s see: In The Revelation of The Mystery (Gospel of GRACE for
    “us today”), a Prayerful and Careful study, Rightly Divided, we find:
    Ephesians 4 : 5 – “…One LORD, one faith, ONE BAPTISM…”
    So, What Saith The Scriptures “In It’s Context,” about The One Baptism?:
    “Endeavouring to keep The Unity of The Spirit in the bond of peace!
    There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope
    of your calling; One LORD, one faith, ONE Baptism, One God and Father
    of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all!” (Ephesians 4 : 3-6)
    (Are we All Really “endeavouring for this “Unity””?)
    Now, unless I am mistaken, we have 3 choices:
    1) all “physical” = Destruction of “the context”, agreed?
    2) “combo” of 6 Spiritual + 1 “physical,” lifted “out, and”
    …………………………………. “isolated”
    from the context, to be interpreted as “water” baptism =
    …………. Destruction of the context, agreed?
    3) These Seven Unities of God’s Spirit are All “Spiritual,”
    so now we kindly ask, Is God’s ONE Baptism “Spiritual”?
    Make One More Scriptural Comparison (1 Cor 2 : 13!), And Ask,
    “What Saith The Scripture?” And, The Scriptural Answer you Get,
    From God, In Today’s Dispensation Of God’s Amazing GRACE, Is:
    “For By ONE [Holy] Spirit are we all Baptized {Spiritually Identified with
    CHRIST} into ONE Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we
    be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into ONE [Holy] Spirit.”
    …………………………….. (1 Corinthians 12 : 13)
    If this ONE BAPTISM Is Not = “The Operation Of God,” then we would have to
    “concede” that it is “men & religion with ‘water’” that saves us – any takers?
    Thus, All “True” Believers who come to God In The Way God Has
    Prescribed In His HOLY WORD, By The Gospel Of The Grace Of God,
    And Place Complete 100% faith in The LORD JESUS CHRIST And In
    HIS Precious BLOOD, And In HIS Resurrection Will ALWAYS have:
    God’s “Spiritual Operation” Of ETERNAL Salvation For EverMore! Amen?
    Be Richly Blessed!
    GRACE/repentance And faith, Found In SCRIPTURE, to The Honor And Glory
    Of GOD The Father, Through The LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST! Amen.
    Sincerely yours and SECURE-ly HIS!
    Grace ambassador
    Saint Christopher (Bro Chris)
    (1) plenty of “baptism experiences”
    (2) PDF file with ALL 13 “BIBLE Baptisms,” Rightly Divided
    (3) PDF file available with Basic Distinctions In *God’s Two (2) “Different” Programs!*


    • ACTheologian says:

      The word baptize means simply to wash. Water is included. That’s how John did it, that’s how the apostles did it, and that’s what Jesus told them to do in the great commission.
      Also eph 4:5 teaches there is only one baptism. Which is the same one that Peter says saves us in 1 Peter 3:21.
      There are no other baptisms. That’s the one.
      This doesn’t equal works righteousness. It’s simply one of several means by which God gives us faith. Just like he does with the preaching of the word Rom 10:17.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s