A baptism is an outward display of an inner faith. Today, churches across the country perform infant baptisms and child dedications where this decision is made by parents. However, the baptisms performed by John and Baptist and Jesus in the Bible were based upon personal convictions. While I was baptized as a child, I felt convicted in college to get baptized publicly. What my baptism did for me was to take my faith more serious by becoming a man of God.
[The souls of those] who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God’s patience waited during the building of the ark in which a few [people], actually eight in number, were saved through water, 1 Peter 3:20.
In the passage above, Peter compares baptism to the flood sent by God to cleanse the world from sin. According to oral tradition, the days of Noah was filled with worldwide disobedience. Perhaps not to the extent of the days of the Judges 21:25 where human nature influenced people to do what’s right in their own eyes. Nonetheless, baptism provides Christians with a do over, a fresh start to begin again. You may not feel clean, but the body of Christ serves as an accountability partner to keep you out of trouble.
And baptism, which is a figure [of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth [bathing], but by [providing you with] the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God [because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21.
Peter provides a broader explanation of what the act of baptism can do for you in the above passage. The issue that Jews like Peter had to overcome was a spiritual superiority complex that existed among first century religious leaders. Pharisees became so obsessed with their outward appearance that hearts were neglected. Following baptisms in the book of Acts, believers had immediate access to the Holy Spirit. As Christians learn to keep in step with God’s Sprit, Galatians 5:25, consciences are cleansed and purified. May this blog inspire you to pursue an adult baptism if you haven’t yet done so.
by Jay Mankus