Does 1 Peter 3:21 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?


1 Peter 3:21

ESV - 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the Bible teaches on the subject at hand. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible ...

July 01 2013 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Nathan Toronga Christian Elder.
Yes, without obeying Scripture, there's no salvation.

The bible clearly and directly teaches that without baptism, and the general obedience that follows hearing the Word, there is no salvation.

Mark 16:16, "He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved;" 

Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, AND be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost"

Eph 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

Mat 3:15, "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."

If Jesus could travel about 40km to get to John for baptism, so that He could leave us an example, I dread to see people dice with death like this.

People fight just about every directive in the bible, yet they still want to claim its promises.

There is the case of the thief on the cross - he was saved because of two principles at work. One, he had no time to be baptised, but you and I have. Two, God is Sovereign, He's not answerable to man or to any being, animate or inanimate. And He exercised that Sovereignty in the case of the thief.

He has also commanded that we baptize all who believe - that's the Bible's teaching. Matt 28:18-19

There's no single case in the bible where anyone accepted the teaching of the apostles, then went without being baptized as a saved person. None whatsoever. EVERYONE who believed was baptized - by full immersion in water.

A. Acts 8:38, "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."

B. Acts 10:46-48, "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord."

C. Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:"

D. Acts 8:12, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."

E. Acts 9:18, "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."
(Paul himself was baptized after Jesus was resurrected).

I could go on and on. Yet there's no single incident where anyone was accepted into the faith any other way other than through baptism.

For those who will enter unto the Kingdom, please follow the example of Jesus. It costs you nothing.

And obey the Word.


March 20 2014 21 responses Vote Up Share Report

Doktor D W Supporter
Baptism. Why all the confusion?

One thing we Christians need to understand is that repentance and water baptism were requirements for Jews, not Christians. Repentance does not simply mean "to change one's mind," as so many Christians believe, BEFORE God's gift of Grace. In Judaism it meant "to return." They were obligated to return to the Covenant that had been promised through Abraham. Failure to do so was the unpardonable sin for Jews. In addition, they were bathed in water as a sign of readiness for the return of the Messiah and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth (Kingdom of Heaven on earth in Matthew). 
Obviously, we non-Jews do neither in preparation for receiving the Gift of God, Grace. It is only AFTER we are born again that the idea of repentance (return) comes into view, and then it is not a return after we have been tossed out of grace, it is a "return" to fellowship with our Savior. 1 John 1:9.

The baptism for individuals who receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is instantaneous: the Holy Spirit instantly enters in. It happens only once, at the precise moment of conversion. We pray daily not for a "new" born-again experience but for the one we already have to fill us to the brim, each of us, individually! It has nothing to do with water. Let's do a rather straight-forward explanation here:

Who is Peter speaking to in Acts 2:22? In Acts 2:29? Gentiles? No. What did Peter, the Apostle to the Jews, tell them in Acts 2:36? How did they respond when they realized that they had “slain” their Promised Messiah? To whom was the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Bible (the “Old Testament”)? What was contained within that promise? I’ll answer the last one: the 1,000 year-long reign of Jesus, their Messiah, on the Throne of David. Instead of saying an unqualified YES! to that promise, they crucified the Lord of Glory, and, as it worked out, nailed to the Cross any hope of the Millennial Kingdom in that day.

In Acts 2:38, what were they to do? First they were to repent of having “murdered” Jesus, their promised Messiah. Jewish repentance involved “getting right with God” by returning to the Law and ordinances, resulting in "absolution," and then ritually bathing in preparation for His arrival. The Jews ritually bathed themselves and just about everything else as an act of repentance, absolving them from living outside the Torah, the Law, the traditions, rules, and regulations. So now, scared out of their wits, crying out “What have we (the Jews) done?”, they ritually bathed themselves in preparation for his SOON return. They then received the Holy Spirit, something that they were totally unaware of and unprepared for. Were they now Christians? No. Prepared for His SOON return? Yes. Note that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is NOT always the same! There are different "audiences" and different purposes!

Salvation by grace through faith, (not repentance [returning] and ritual bathing), was a mystery hidden until it was revealed to the Apostle Paul in the Pauline Epistles. THAT is where you read about the church, the Body of Christ. THAT is where you read about salvation by grace through faith, not of works, lest anyone should boast. The Apostle Paul lays it all out for we Gentiles, and for everyone else who will believe. Don’t boast that you were water baptized and then received the Holy Spirit. You received the Holy Spirit when you confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord. Romans 10:8-13. 

Read Romans 5:1-2. Romans 5:9. Romans 5:18. Now read Romans 6:1-9. Remember that there were no chapter and verse divisions in the original manuscripts. 6-1 and following hook right up with the last verse in 5. Being “baptized” into His death is spiritual baptism having zero zilch nada nothing to do with water.

Now 1 Peter 3:21...... Only when one takes that verse out of its context can one come to an incorrect conclusion. There are countless verses which nullify such a conclusion. Take a look at the evidence of salvation in Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13. Countless passages of Scripture clearly teach that salvation comes when one believes in the gospel, at which time he or she is sealed “in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Take a look at this short list, then rethink Ephesians 3:21:

Ephesians 2:8-9

Romans 1:16; 3:22, 26; 5:15; 6-23; 10:8-13

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Titus 3:5.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body ...." Note once again that this passage does not speak of baptism into water by a preacher, but rather of baptism into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. 

I don’t agree with our Baptist friends that baptism is “an act of obedience.” On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing negative about being baptized in water. If one wants to do that as a public profession of their new-found faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, go for it! Just realize that when you say YES! to Jesus you instantly are born again and sealed for eternity, no water involved. Amen.

August 14 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Steve Stevens
Baptism is not a requirement for salvation. We should want to make that public declaration, but Jesus never said you must be baptized in order to be saved. Rather, he said call upon the name of The Lord and be saved!

August 19 2013 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Bruce Lyon Elder: Restoration Fellowship Assembly
The question is: "Does 1 Peter 3:21 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?"

Notice 1 Peter 3:18 For the anointed one also has once suffered 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:

verse: 21:.......even baptism does also now save us..... by the resurrection of Jesus the anointed one:

Notice: Matthew 20:22: But Jesus answered and said,...... are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I will be baptized with? [speaking of his death as a sacrificial sin offering]. By his death we are reconciled to God and by his resurrection we in him have the opportunity to enter into the coming new age as glorified immortal men/women.

What happens when we obey the command of Jesus to be baptized?

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death - death to self, death to the sins of the flesh: that like as the anointed one was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life - resurrection life, new age life [living by the spirit of truth - the spirit of Jesus living in us.

Again: Colossians 2:12: [We are] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.

Peter also says: Acts 2:38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus the anointed one for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the holy spirit.

Baptism of and by itself will not save anyone.

What does save us?

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Amen! By the grace of God we are saved. It is God's grace that if given to us that is His free gift that enables us to exercise the faith that saves!

May 02 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Teresa Wiltz Freelance writer and copy editor, Christian
I have personally experienced so many trials and tribulations in this thing we call life…my walk with Christ has veered off course during countless challenging seasons. However, these days (and for the past three years) I’m walking in a peaceful spiritual journey, a safe haven because my heart and soul belong to God; and the Holy Spirit of Christ dwells within my spirit once again. All that I strive to do on this Earth is accomplished in good will, good conscience and love to serve our Heavenly Father. 

I chose to get baptized again as an adult in good faith as a symbolic gesture to show how truly committed my walk with Christ is. My spirit was instantly renewed by the grace of God through sacrificing His only Son for our eternal salvation. However, in the New Testament scriptures, water baptism appears to precede those who claimed Jesus Christ as their Savior; so I elected to stay within the bounds of their tradition. I truly believe that once we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and seek to walk in righteousness, repentant of our sins and in accordance to the Will of God; our salvation is already sealed through our faith and acceptance of Christ.

John 6:40—“For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."

When a man and woman exchange their vows and are officially pronounced husband and wife by an ordained official; their wedding rings are merely a symbol of their love. The wedding ring itself does not seal their union; but it does represent their eternal love and commitment that they share. I believe that water baptism is symbolic of our lifetime commitment to serving God, showing the world that we are faithful followers of Jesus Christ, serious about doing all that we can to be worthy of His Kingdom. 

I pray that joy, peace and love follow each of you during your spiritual quest to receive permanent residence with our Lord and Savior—Jesus Christ!

April 03 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dq 3 Don Quinn Maintenance Man at a senior apartment building.
This is a good question, however we must remember 2 things: First, Romans 10:9,10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." KJV

Second when Jesus proclaimed to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43 "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." KJV

Lest we deny that Christ spoke many words only and saved people, we should deny Christ. Baptism is out of obedience to Christ, not a requirement for Salvation.

December 02 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tom howard Contender of the Faith
Here is commentary on Verse 21 of 1 Peter 3 by John Gill;

"The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us,.... The ark, and deliverance by it, as it was a type of Christ, and salvation by him, so it was a figure of baptism, and baptism was the antitype of that; or there is something in these which correspond, and answer to, and bear a resemblance to each other: as the ark was God's ordinance, and not man's invention, so is baptism, it is of heaven, and not of men; and as the ark, while it was preparing, was the scorn and derision of men, so is this ordinance of the Gospel;

It was rejected with disdain by the Scribes and Pharisees, as it still is by many; and as the ark, when Noah and his family were shut up in it by God, represented a burial, and they seemed, as it were, to be buried in it, it was a lively emblem of baptism, which is expressed by a burial, Romans 6:4 and as they in the ark had the great deep broke up under them, and the windows of heaven opened over them, pouring out waters upon them, they were, as it were, immersed in, and were covered with water, this fitly figured baptism by immersion; (this will be shown in the soon released movie called, "Noah')

Nor were there any but adult persons that entered into the ark, nor should any be baptized but believers; to which may be added, that as the one saved by water, so does the other; for it is water baptism which is here designed, which John practised, Christ gave a commission for, and his disciples administered.

It saves not as a cause, for it has no causal influence on, nor is it essential to salvation. Christ only is the cause and author of eternal salvation; and as those only that were 'in' the ark were saved by water, so those only that are 'in' Christ, and that are baptized into Christ, and into his death, are saved by baptism; not everyone that is baptized, but 'he that believes', and is baptized, shall be saved, Mr 16:16,

For baptism is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh; the design of it is not to take off the sordid flesh, as circumcision did; or in a ceremonious way, outwardly, to sanctify to the purifying of the flesh, as the Jewish baptisms did; see Hebrews 9:10, or to take away either original or actual sin; this only the blood of Christ can do; and it is not a mere external cleansing of the body: but the answer of a good conscience towards God;"

March 21 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Philip medium Philip Davies
This is all about one single thing. Is salvation by faith or by works?

Some say that baptism is necessary for salvation; that we are saved by something we have to do - getting baptised, or that if you don't do the work of getting baptised, you will not be saved.

On the other hand, those who say baptism is not necessary for salvation are saying that we are saved by faith alone, by faith plus nothing else, nothing at all. 

Only one of these can be correct. And there is no doubt what the Bible teaches here. Salvation is by faith alone Eph 2:8 This was the great truth rediscovered by the reformers. It is the central foundation stone of the Christian faith. This year on 31 October 2017 it will be exactly 500 years to the day when Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg which started the reformation. And this is the question the whole reformation was founded on and decided unambiguously. We are saved by faith alone. There shouldn't need to be any question about this and hopefully we won't need to re-run the reformation again.


September 07 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Salem Markus Purba
The Bible gives us a crystal clear explanation what the meaning of baptism in Ezekiel 36:25-38.

So, baptism is necessary for salvation as 1Peter 3:21 says, so is as Jesus said: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16).

April 02 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Bongani Cele
Matthew 3:13-15 NIV
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

1 John 2:6 NIV
Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

This is tricky question but, 1. If Jesus did it, then you know you REALLY ought to do something. 
2. To be saved is by grace through faith only. 
3. Baptism (water) is a public display of BEING saved. 
4. Water baptism is necessary to fulfill all righteousness as Scripture says.

Some use the thief on the cross to "prove" it not necessary but:
The thief on the cross did not have the the opportunity to be baptized and you are not the thief on the cross. So get baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit.

June 25 2014 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Q jcryle001 JD Abshire
To answer the question, context gives it to us. Look at the previous verse: 
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1 Peter 3:20)

How were the eight souls saved by water? They were protected FROM the destruction of water. They were safely protected and preserved by being "IN" the ark. 
"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" (Romans 3:24)

Those immersed in water and destroyed were unbelievers!

November 25 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
What we have to remember is to divide the word of God correctly. Paul was ordained by God and taught the gospel of grace without works for salvation as a free gift from God to every one that believes. 

Peter, James, and John were apostles to the Jews. Paul also preached to the Jews, but as a nation they rejected Jesus as their savior. 

So all of Paul's epistles are to us gentiles. Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, (First Corinthians 15:3-4) for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how He said. John indeed baptized by water, but ye shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 Born again, born of God.

It is easy to take things out of context and make a doctrine out of a false understanding. If you always go by what Paul said, you will have the right doctrine. James was written to the 12 Tribes of Israel scattered abroad. Not to us Gentiles. Hebrews was writing to the Jewish converts.

So Paul preached salvation by grace without works, because we can not save ourselves by works. We can only be saved by grace without works. Romans 11:6 It is all grace, not works, if it was by works, it would no longer be grace, and if by grace, it is no more works. Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believe on Him who justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 4:6-8 When we believe the gospel, First Corinthians 15:1-4 He imputes His righteousness to us and will no more impute sin to our account.

We are saved just by believing the gospel, and given eternal life as a free git from God. We are justified and made perfectly righteous before God by faith alone in Christ's finished work on the cross plus nothing. 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, and we all sin, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit the minute we believe the gospel. 

The gospel of John is to us. John 3:36 All believers have eternal life, all unbelievers are under the wrath of God because they have not believed on his name. 

John 3:18 Believers can no longer be condemned, unbelievers are condemned already because they have not believed on the name of the Son of God.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, hath everlasting life. Jesus can not lie.

January 25 2019 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Derrol PORTER Emancipated by the Liberating King
Baptism is an external demonstration of an internal destination. God the Holy Spirit flowed In and our obedience and declaration flowed out. 

Baptism is the first step of sanctification and the result of salvation. Sanctification, to be set apart, comes after salvation as Saul, became Paul was saved or born again on the road by his belief in Jesus as LORD [Acts 9:3-6] then he was baptized afterward when he got to the city. 

Was his salvation delayed till he was put in the water or was he regenerated upon belief on the road? This is the crucible question. Again [Romans 10:9-10] is the answer.

August 06 2019 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dscf1720 Myron Robertson Seeking God's heart
Perhaps we should properly identify baptism before we answer this question. The NT clearly speaks of two baptisms, the baptism of John, which is a baptism of water and repentance/justification and the baptism of Jesus which is a baptism of spirit and fire (Mt 3:11). Yet what John was doing, and what the apostles and other leaders later did was simply rituals of men commanded by God. The true baptism is something God does within us, and we are commanded to perform that ritual as proof that we recognize what God has done in the individual, not in preparation for God to save the which he cannot do without that preparation as so many teach. This is a form of works and whether done by the individual or the pastor gives to man a prerogative that belongs to God alone.

The three levels of baptism relate to the three major feasts of Israel. The baptism of John (Justification) relates to Passover, the baptism of Jesus is Pentecost, on which day Jesus, in his preincarnate form, came down to Sinai and began writing his law on their hearts by speaking to them directly in his own voice and being heard in their own languages. Only Jesus has experienced the third level of baptism in which we receive the full anointing of the spirit and the full authorization to do "business" in the father's name and authority.

These levels of anointing (baptism) of the spirit are the true baptism of God. You cannot be saved without having received all three, but at the receiving of the first God has declared us legally righteous and thus saved (Rom 4:17) and at the second, we receive the indwelling of a portion of the Holy Spirit, showing the God has already been working within us and has given us progress toward being actually righteous, a work he will continue in us until it is completed and we are adopted as fully mature sons.

Acts 10 and 11 show us our role in the ritual of baptism. Cornelius had already received the first level of baptism long before. He is reputed to be the centurion whose servant Jesus healed from a distance and whose faith Jesus declared to be greater than all in Israel (Mt 8:5-13, Lk 7:1-10.) Whether John had baptized him or not he had already received Justification by faith from God (and been declared clean) before he could even have made this request.

Yet because Peter did not properly understand any of this he first had to have the dream where God told him not to call anything unclean that God had declared clean. This is the first clue we were given that God had already baptized him. Then after Peter's teaching the Holy Spirit came down and indwelt not only Cornelius but his entire household received the baptism of the spirit. Peter observed this and declared that the ritual of man could not be withheld from any of these people.

The purpose of this ritual is as a double witness. God's law demands that all things be established by a double witness and most of the time it requires that both heaven and earth witness the acts of God. The earthly witness of what God has already done is the purpose of the ritual. This ritual is not necessary to the work God has done in this person. If the church leadership refuses to recognize the work God has already done in these people God will fulfill the earthly witness in other ways by other people. Someone will declare this to be a good or godly person. 

The only thing accomplished by the church in refusing to acknowledge the work God has already done in this person is that they show their own godlessness, that they have declared as theirs alone a work which only God can do. By not seeing what God has done (whether this blindness is actual or by choice) they prove that they are not Godly and cannot actually bring anyone to God, thus having received their approval does not mean God approves of you and save you. You can clearly be saved without their baptism, but you cannot be saved without God's baptism.

November 23 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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