Does The Resurrection of Jesus Save Us And Not Water Baptism?

1 Peter 3:18-21 states: "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 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. 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, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him."

Some denominations argue it is the resurrection of Jesus that saves us - not water baptism. This is partially false for two reasons:

  1. 1 Peter 3:21 plainly states, "There is also an antitype which now saves us-baptism." How does it save us? This is the way God chooses to save the sinner when he/she believes Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), repent of his/her past sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30), confesses the name of Jesus before others (Romans 10:9,10), and is immersed, thus coming in contact with the blood of Jesus, which is the cleansing agent that washes away sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Revelation 1:5; Romans 6:3,4).
  2. 1 Peter 3:21 further states that water baptism saves, but is "not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus." When sinners are water baptized, they are not doing it to simply remove dirt from their physical bodies but are appealing for a clear conscience through the cleansing blood of Jesus. Furthermore, water baptism would be useless if it had not been for the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, He would not have been able to serve as our High Priest and the sacrificial Lamb for our sins (Hebrews 8-10). Jesus' resurrection was victory over physical AND spiritual death. And it is in water baptism where the sinner dies, is buried and becomes a new creation in Christ as he is resurrected from his baptism (Romans 6:3-11).

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