PHBC October 11, 1998
Series: First Peter, Ser. #60
SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM IS THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD
SCRIPTURE: I Peter 3:18-21
TEXT: 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I. SCRIPTURE REVEALS THAT THE NATURAL, UNREGENERATE MAN DOES NOT HAVE A GOOD CONSCIENCE
A. The conscience of the unbeliever is defiled. Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
B. This is evident from the fact that one mush have his conscience purged. Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
C. The conscience of the unsaved is evil. Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
D. The unregenerate may follow his conscience and end up in death. Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
E. The unregenerate are able to commit sin without consciousness of its wrong. Proverbs 30:20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
F. Because of a defiled conscience the unregenerate are usually without shame when they sin. Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
G. The religious unregenerate may severely persecute Christians and think they are doing God's service. John 16:2-3 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
1. Their conscience may be clear and therefore they may do this in good conscience. Acts 23:1And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
2. There is a difference in Paul's declaration and that of Peter.
a. The most wicked may be able to live with a good (clear) conscience while doing the most wicked things one can imagine.
b. The regenerate has a good conscience because of the regenerating power of God that convicts him of even the smallest transgression.
H. Paul differentiates between the conscience of the unregenerate and the regenerate. Ephesians 4:17-20 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ.
II. THE SALVATION OF A SINNER IS BEFORE AND WITHOUT BAPTISM
A. Salvation is by grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
B. The heart of the sinner, be he Jew or Gentile, is purified by faith. Acts 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
C. The message of salvation has always remained the same. Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
D. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe it. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
E. The true believer has passed from death unto life. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
F. The believer is not condemned. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
G. The believer has everlasting life. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
H. Even those who teach that baptism is essential to salvation teach that repentance and faith precede baptism. If one who believes has everlasting life, he has it before baptism and after baptism.
III. SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM IS THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD God
A. Those who believe in baptismal regeneration, of necessity, deny the total depravity of man.
1. If baptism, as our text declares, is the answer of a good conscience toward God, one must have a good conscience before answering in baptism.
2. If one has a good conscience before answering in baptism, we must either deny the depravity of man or believe one must be saved before baptism.
3. Those who hold to the doctrine of total hereditary depravity believe that the mind and conscience of men are defiled and not good. Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
a. In the unbeliever nothing is pure.
b. His mind is defiled and enmity against God.
c. His conscience is defile.
d. His heart is deceitful.
B. The foregoing being true, we cannot hold with the doctrine that men are literally saved in baptism.
1. We must join with Peter in declaring that their salvation by baptism is just as much a figure as was the salvation of Noah's family in the waters of the flood.
2. We must join with Peter in proclaiming we are literally saved in the blood of Christ. I Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
C. The conscience is made good when it is purged by the blood of Christ. Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
CONC: If you have been born again by the spirit of God you have a good conscience. Now, has that good conscience answered by following the Lord in Scriptural baptism.
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