Bible Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
a. BAPTISM IN WATER IS THE BIBLE REQUIRED ACT OF OBEDIENCE THAT TESTIFIES OF GENUINE REPENTANCE AND FAITH (See Lesson 8, Section "What is required to qualify for Baptism?, Subheading c)
Acts 2:38 - "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ ..."
Acts 2:41 - "Those who accepted his message were baptised .... "
When God visited Cornelius and his household, Peter "COMMANDED (ordered) them to BE BAPTISED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST " (Acts 10:48): The order is no less valid today. BAPTISM IS NOT OPTIONAL!
b. BAPTISM IN WATER HAS TO DO WITH THE REMISSION OF SINS
Acts 2:38 - "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins .... "
Amp. — "For the FORGIVENESS OF AND RELEASE FROM YOUR SINS .... "
The word translated ”remission" means: forgiveness, deliverance, liberty; a sending away, letting go.
1) Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, came to make remission possible.
2) The legal ground of remission is our Saviour’s blood.
Matt. 26:28 — "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
Heb. 9:22 - ". . . and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."
3) Faith and trust in the Saviour is essential to receive remission.
Acts 10:43 - "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
4) Water baptism is the divinely ordained way of expressing such faith,
5) The message of remission is to be preached universally.
Luke 24:47 - "and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
c. BAPTISM IN WATER HAS TO DO WITH CLEANSING
Acts 22:16 - "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptised and wash your sins away, calling on his name."
JBP - "Get up and be BAPTISED! Be CLEAN FROM YOUR SINS as you call on His name."
Darby - "Arise and get BAPTISED and have thy sins WASHED AWAY, calling on His name."
1) We are washed by the blood of our Lord Jesus.
Rev. 1:5 (NKJV) - ". . . To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood"
2) We are cleansed by the Word of God
John 15:3 — "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you."
3) Our cleansing from sin is signified in baptism.
The blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, washes us from our sins legally. The Word cleanses us from our sins in practice as we "taking heed according to Your word" (Psa. 119:9). In water baptism, the purpose of God in washing and loosing us from our sins is signified and made real to the repentant, believing, obedient sinner. It is the confession of our desire to be clean from sins of every kind.
d. WE ARE "BAPTISED INTO JESUS CHRIST"Gal. 3:27 - "for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ".
JBP - "All of you who were BAPTISED "INTO CHRIST" have put on the family likeness of Christ?"
Moffit — “For all of you who had yourselves BAPTISED INTO CHRIST have taken on the character of Christ."
Way- "All of you who have BY BAPTISM PASSED INTO UNION WITH MESSIAH have clothed yourselves with Messiah's personality."
Rom. 6:3-4 - "Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
JBP - "Have you forgotten that all of us who were BAPTISED IN JESUS CHRIST were, by that very action, sharing in His death? We were dead and buried with Him in baptism, so that just as He was raised from the dead by that splendid revelation of the Father’s power, so we, too, might rise to life on a new plane a together."
Way - "Do you not comprehend that all of us, who passed by BAPTISM INTO UNION WITH MESSIAH JESUS, were by BAPTISM made sharers in His death? Well, then, if that baptism made us share His death, it must have made us share His burial, too. It must follow that, as Messiah was raised from among the dead by means of the descent of the Father’s glory, so we, too, who rose with Him, are to be employed wholly in the activities of the New Life!"
We have seen that, in the beginning, repentant and believing sinners were baptised "the same day" -· "when they believed" » the same hour. Baptism was an accepted fact of normal New Testament procedure and life. Sinners "believed and were baptised". Repentance, faith, and baptism should never be separated. They were not in the beginning. It was no problem, therefore, for Paul to refer to baptism and base important teaching on it, applicable to all Christians. At the same time of their repentance, faith and baptism there had been a divine response and some wonderful things had happened to them. They experienced the PASSING of the old and the EMERGENCE of the new. "If any man be IN CHRIST, he is a new creature: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; and, Behold, all things are become NEW." (2 Cor. 5:17).
Baptism not only speaks of death, and burial, but of resurrection. In the natural realm, when one dies they are buried and that is the end of the matter. However, "being buried WITH HIM by BAPTISM INTO DEATH" we can expect the same thing to happen to us that happened to Him. So, "LIKE AS CHRIST WAS RAISED UP. . . EVEN SO WE!" "For if we have become one with Him by SHARING A DEATH LIKE HIS, we shall also be one with Him in SHARING HIS RESURRECTION (by a new life lived for God." (vs. 5 - Amp.)
Study Questions for Lesson No. 9