1 Peter 3:21-22: Baptism and Salvation


  • What does baptism mean?
  • Can baptism save me?
  • What am I doing when I get baptised?
  • What is the power that really saves me?


21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

‘Does baptism save?’, is the question that is forced upon us from the text before us. In these verses we have words which seem to say that baptism saves; “baptism that corresponds to this now saves you.’ One of the clear Biblical teachings that came out of the Reformation, under the teaching of men like Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, is that we are saved by grace through faith, not works. Were they wrong, are we in fact saved by grace through the work of baptism? Can those who have never been baptised be saved? These are some of the questions that we have to face. Now I am a Baptist pastor, and we are a Baptist Church, perhaps we would feel threatened by verses like these, and like other people rather overlook them, because they challenge us too deeply. This would be a wrong response. We should never be afraid of any text in the Bible, our primary allegiance is to God, not our denominations or upbringing. If the Bible teaches that baptism saves, then we should all believe it, but if it teaches that we are saved by faith, then we must believe that. God’s word is our authority, therefore it behoves us to find out what the Bible says about baptism and salvation.

The text before us deals with two details regarding baptism, and two issues regarding salvation, we will deal with them chronologically, as they appear in the text. Firstly, we will look at the meaning of baptism, then the issue of baptism and salvation, then we will look at what the act of baptism actually is, and finally what power really saves us.