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), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3:21)
But That Is What It Says
She was a remarkable woman for the circumstance she found herself in. Linda had many health problems that limited severely her ability to walk and move about resulting in her remaining in bed 24-hours a day. She lived alone with caretakers coming by to help with various chores. Surrounding her bed was everything she needed including the ability to fix hot food and provide meals. Her spirits were good considering the plight of her handicap. Through the suggestion of a friend, I began to have Bible studies with Linda. She had a sharp mind and enjoyed the discussions about the Bible. We talked about her health problems and how difficult it was to live each day with the many problems she faced. One of her favorite shows to watch on television was the televangelist Benny Hinn who claimed to heal people. On occasion she would send money to the program and one year wrote to the preacher asking him to come and give her some healing. About a year later some men came by and talked with her laying their hands on her and when they left she remained in bed with the same afflictions she had before. No healing for Linda.
During our discussions we talked about baptism. The study focused on the necessity of immersion and how the Bible said that men are saved by baptism. Linda said the Bible did not teach such a doctrine. She denied the scriptures said anywhere that baptism saved. Turning in the Bible to 1 Peter 3:21, I handed the Bible to Linda and asked her to read the passage. She carefully read the passage out loud and when she finished her mouth dropped open in complete surprise. I could tell by the reaction on her face that she had never seen this passage before. About a minute passed and she closed the Bible and firmly stated that baptism did not save a person and handed the Bible back. I asked her what the passage had said and she continued to deny that baptism had anything to do with salvation. Shortly after these studies Linda did not desire to study anymore and a few months later quietly died in her sleep.
The Bible is a book of words filling the pages of sixty-six books. Through the written word God has revealed His mind to men so they could read and understand the mystery of the Divine. The essential question for humanity has always been to find salvation from the wrath of God and never in the history of mankind has man not had the ability to know and understand the will of the Lord. Through the grace of God the Bible contains the whole counsel of redemption and when the heart opens to the merciful message of salvation in Jesus Christ, the word of God convicts, rebukes, establishes doctrine, and instructs a man in the way of righteousness. Faith will blossom from the hearing of the word spoken and read as the words of truth declare the eternal majesty of God’s love. But there is a catch and a challenge: the word of God will have no effect if the heart is unwilling to accept what is written.
God has never made it difficult for a man to understand His will. The Bible is a book of clarity showing all men the path to eternal life. What kind of God would He be if the Lord gave man a book so hard to know and understand that no one could find salvation? The Bible is not a book of mazes with impossible conclusions or riddles hard to understand. Salvation is a plain as the written word. The religious world denies that baptism has anything to do with salvation in denial of what is plainly written down in words for men to read. No one is saved by baptism alone and the Bible never teaches the doctrine of salvation alone by anything whether faith alone or grace alone. But it does teach that there is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism. Denying it does not remove the ink from the page. Satan has done well to convince religious hearts to believe in God but never receive the remission of their sins. The greatest tragedy will be when the religious lost stand before the author of the Bible, He will sadly remind them of what was written in the book. God’s word has not changed. Read 1 Peter 3:21 again. Has it changed since Peter wrote it two thousand years ago? It will never change but you must.