What does the Bible say about baptism and salvation? Does the Bible really say that baptism saves us? Is that “works salvation”? See what the Bible actually says!

ROBERT >> What does the Bible say about baptism and salvation? Does the Bible really say that baptism saves us? Well, stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Baptism saves us?

Yes, that’s exactly what we read in 1 Peter 3:21. Let’s read it together this morning. Here’s what Peter writes: “There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism.”

Somebody asks, doesn’t the Bible teach that Jesus saves us?

And the answer is, of course. Jesus Christ is the only savior. The Bible says in Acts 4:12 that there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. So we understand that salvation is only found in the name of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus, we cannot come to the Father.

When he was on this earth, in John 14:6, it is recorded how he said, I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no one comes unto the Father but by Me. There’s only one savior, and that savior is Jesus Christ. We could never, ever pay for our sins. We could do all the works, all the good works in the world, but we could never even pay for one of our sins. But his blood, shed on Calvary’s cross, paid for our sins.

Notice what Peter has to say about this in 1 Peter 1:18-19. Here he reminds the Christians of the great price that God paid in order to take care of our sins so that we could be forgiven. Here’s what Peter writes: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct, received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

You see, all the money in the world, all the silver and gold you could amass could never pay for your sins. The only thing that could appease God’s wrath, the only thing that could satisfy his justice so that we could be forgiven, the only thing that could redeem us and buy us back to God and reconcile us to him, the only thing that could provide for our forgiveness was the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Peter described him here as the lamb without spot, without blemish, that perfect one.

It was only the sacrifice of a perfect human being that could possibly pay for our sins. And that’s why Jesus left the glories of heaven and became not only the Son of God, but now the Son of Man. He took on the flesh. And being tempted and tried in all points like as we are, yet without sin, as the Hebrew writer says in chapter 4 verse 15, he was able to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus did not die because of any crimes he had committed; but he gave his life for our sins so that we could be forgiven.

So what then does baptism have to do with it?

There’s a lot of confusion and a lot of questions and misunderstanding about baptism in the Bible. But I want you to see very closely what Peter has to say about baptism and salvation.

We just read from 1 Peter 3:21; but I want to back up to verse 20 so you can get the larger context of this passage so that we can understand it better. And I want you to see how Peter compares the flood of Noah’s day with baptism that is administered today.

Let’s look in 1 Peter chapter 3, and let me read verse 20 with you. Here it says, “Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”

Here, Peter talks about those who formerly were disobedient. Now, this goes back to the time of Noah, back to Genesis chapter 6. And we learn back in Genesis chapter 6 about the disobedience of those who lived in that world. In fact, they were evil, and they were wicked to an extent that had never been before.

Look what it says here. In Genesis the 6th chapter, we’ll notice in verse 6,”And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

What was it that made God grieve so?

Look what it says in verse 5 of Genesis 6. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

You see, man was so wicked, the earth was so full of sin that they had filled their hearts and their lives with sin to the point where God had to take action and cleanse this world, cleanse the earth of all of this wickedness and all of this evil. But he found one among this generation who was righteous in his eyes.

In verse 9 the Bible says, “This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. There was one who stood out among this evil generation. And so it was during this time of Noah’s day that God would flood the earth with water.”

And I want you to notice what God said to Noah here in Genesis the 6th chapter beginning in verse 13. “And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Yes, God was going to take action now and cleanse this earth of all of its wickedness. But Noah would survive. Noah and his family would find salvation from God.

But let’s notice here what God was going to do to destroy this world. In verse 17, “And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.”

And of course, as you read on in Genesis chapters 7 and 8 and 9, you will see where God indeed bring a great flood that covered the entire globe up above the top of the highest mountains until finally those waters would recede and Noah and his family would come off the ark into a new world.

I want you to notice again what Peter said then in 1 Peter 3:20. “Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”

It’s interesting here that Peter says those in the ark were saved through water. You see, it was the water, the floods that cleansed the earth, that took away all of this evil and all of these sinful people upon the earth. And it was this water upon which the ark floated and they were brought into a new world now, a cleansed world. So Peter now is going to use this figure, this type, the flood, as a picture of our salvation by baptism.

Notice there is a type, the flood, and there is an antitype, baptism. He said they were saved through water by the flood; but he says in verse 21 of Peter 3, “There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism.”

So the flood is the type or the figure, the picture, and baptism is the antitype.

Let’s notice a couple of things about this. In the type, those in the ark floated above the water; but in the antitype, baptism, we are immersed into the water. The Bible word translated baptism means to dip and to plunge and to immerse. That’s the basic definition of that word baptism. And when you look at the descriptions of baptism in the Bible, you see that in fact it is an immersion. Not a sprinkling, not a mere pouring of water, but an immersion in the water.

For example, in Romans 6:4, the apostle Paul said that we are buried with Christ in baptism. You see, baptism is a burial. Just as we would put someone in a grave and cover him up with the earth, so we see that baptism is a burial in water. It’s an immersion into the water. So in the type, there is the ark floating above the water, and in the antitype we are immersed into the water in baptism.

In the type, the flood, there was a physical cleansing of the earth. All of the people, the evil ones were washed away. But now in the antitype, baptism, there is a spiritual cleansing, a cleansing of the soul, a removal of the evil and the sin from the soul, from the heart and the life of those who are immersed or baptized. So Peter explains that baptism saves us, but he says it’s like those that were saved in the flood through water.

He explains this further in verse 21 when he says, “There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God).”

You see, baptism is not a bath for washing dirt off our bodies, but baptism was meant to be that time and that place, that way in which God would wash away our sins.

Yes, in the type, in the flood, there was a physical cleansing; but in the antitype, baptism, there is a spiritual cleansing.

Peter had earlier preached on the day of Pentecost back in Acts the 2nd chapter about this very thing. When the people were convicted of their sinfulness in sending Jesus to the cross, they cried out in Acts 2:37, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

They wanted to know how to be cleansed, how to be forgiven, how could they remove the guilt and the condemnation of the sin that came from them putting Jesus on that cross?

How can we be saved?

And listen to Peter’s response in verse 38. “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

You see, Peter says that in order for them to be saved by the one they crucified, Jesus Christ, they needed to repent. That’s simply a turning of the heart, a decision that one must make to turn away from sin, to live for God. And then he said to be baptized for the remission of sins. That is, so that they might be forgiven in baptism, so they might be forgiven and cleansed and washed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

It’s the blood of Jesus that washes away our sin according to Revelation 1:5. But you see, they needed to be baptized in order to receive that cleansing.

Look at Acts 22:16. Here we read about Saul of Tarsus. And you might remember the story that is first recorded in Acts chapter 9, and then Saul is retelling it here in Acts chapter 22, how that he saw the Lord when he was on the road down to Damascus to persecute Christians because of their faith. And the Lord appeared to him in a bright light, and it blinded him. But he came to know that Jesus was in fact the Christ; that Jesus, the Christ, had come to save him; that Jesus Christ did not just die on a cross, but he was raised the third day to live forever to give him eternal life. And coming to that faith, Paul spent some time in penitent prayer until the preacher came to him.

And look what the preacher said to this believing, penitent soul in chapter 22 and verse 16 of the book of Acts. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Surely we can see from this passage that Saul of Tarsus still needed to be baptized and that it was when he would get up and be baptized that he would look to the Lord, calling upon his name, that he would find the cleansing, the washing away of his sins. That’s what baptism is about, and that’s how baptism saves us.

Just as those waters of the flood cleansed the old earth from the physical people, from those evil, wicked people of that day, so baptism, in baptism we are cleansed, our sins are forgiven, they’re washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul described baptism as a circumcision that was administered by Christ, a cutting off of our sins.

Look with me in Colossians the 2nd chapter, and notice how he uses this figure to teach the very same thing that we’ve been learning from Peter.

In Colossians chapter 2 beginning in verse 11, the apostle Paul writes, “In Him, that is, in Christ, you were also circumcised with the circumcision made with without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.”

Notice here that they were circumcised; but it was not a physical circumcision. It was a spiritual one. It was not done by man. It was done by Jesus Christ. And notice it involved a putting off the body of the sins of the flesh.

What is this circumcision administered by Christ that removes our sins?

Well, verse 12 tells us. “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

Yes, baptism saves us. It’s in baptism that Jesus Christ puts off the body of the sins of the flesh.

But now finally, as we look here in 1 Peter 3:21, I want you to notice these last words of the verse, “Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Baptism saves us, but it’s by the power of Christ’s resurrection. Our faith is not in the water, but it’s in the power of God, just as we just read here in Colossians the 2nd chapter, “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

You see, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is able to raise us up out of the waters of baptism a new creation, raised to live spiritually, to become alive spiritually.

“You being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he’s made alive together with him, with Christ, having forgiven you all trespasses,” Colossians 2:13.

Yes, it’s in baptism that God goes to work. It’s not a work of merit. There’s no way we could ever earn our salvation; but you see, when we in faith turn from our sins in genuine penitence and then give ourselves to the Lord in baptism, we’re cleansed, we’re washed, we’re forgiven, we’re raised to new life.

This is exactly what the apostle Paul was talking about in Romans the 6th chapter. Let me read to you beginning in verse 3.

Romans 6:3, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Yes, our baptism is an identification with the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s why we’re immersed. It’s an act of faith as we look to Christ to cleanse us and to forgive us of all of our sins. So it was with Noah and the flood.

Hebrews 11:7, I want you to notice what it says about Noah and his salvation. Here it says in verse 7, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

You see, it’s because Noah believed in the power of God. And Noah, you can read in Genesis 6, did all things according to what God commanded. He had enough faith to do what God told him to do to be saved, and he built that ark and he put his family in that ark, and God shut the door, and God sent the flood waters that brought them into the new world. And if we truly believe in God, if we trust in him, then we’ll do what he’s told us to do to be saved. In penitent faith, we’ll confess his name and we’ll give ourselves to him in baptism; and calling upon him there, we, too, can be cleansed, we, too, can be spiritually brought into a new life. All of our sins forgiven, we can be raised up a new creation in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ himself said, and these are his last words before ascending back into heaven after his death, after his resurrection, as he gathered with his apostles, he told them in Mark 16:15-16, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

That’s what we seek to do even now, even today in this very program, to preach the gospel, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and encourage you in obedience, in faith, in penitence to be baptized so that you might be saved.

SINGING>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood
a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join.
I heard the song and strove to join.
While everlasting ages roll,
eternal love shall feast their soul,
and scenes of bliss forever new rise in succession to their view,
rise in succession to their view.
Holy, holy, holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing,
oh almighty king?
Holy, holy, holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Holy, holy, holy.

SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me.
I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me,
a home, a house not made with hands, most wonderful to see.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.

ROBERT >> Thanks for watching the program today. We’d love to hear from you. Let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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