1 Peter 3:21
New International Version
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,

New Living Translation
And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

English Standard Version
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,

Berean Study Bible
And this water symbolizes the baptism that now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Berean Literal Bible
which also prefigures the baptism now saving you, not a putting away of the filth of flesh, but the demand of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

New American Standard Bible
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

King James Bible
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:

Christian Standard Bible
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not as the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Contemporary English Version
Those flood waters were like baptism that now saves you. But baptism is more than just washing your body. It means turning to God with a clear conscience, because Jesus Christ was raised from death.

Good News Translation
which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you. It is not the washing off of bodily dirt, but the promise made to God from a good conscience. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

International Standard Version
Baptism, which is symbolized by that water, now saves you also, not by removing dirt from the body, but by asking God for a clear conscience based on the resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah,

NET Bible
And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you--not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

New Heart English Bible
This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For you also are saved in it by that simile in baptism, not when you wash the body from impurity, but when you confess God with a pure conscience, and by the resurrection of Yeshua, The Messiah,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Baptism, which is like that water, now saves you. Baptism doesn't save by removing dirt from the body. Rather, baptism is a request to God for a clear conscience. It saves you through Jesus Christ, who came back from death to life.

New American Standard 1977
And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Jubilee Bible 2000
Unto the figure of which the baptism that does now correspond saves us (not taking away the uncleanness of the flesh, but giving testimony of a good conscience before God) by the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ,

King James 2000 Bible
The like figure unto which even baptism does 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:

American King James Version
The like figure whereunto even baptism does 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:

American Standard Version
which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Darby Bible Translation
which figure also now saves you, [even] baptism, not a putting away of [the] filth of flesh, but [the] demand as before God of a good conscience, by [the] resurrection of Jesus Christ,

English Revised Version
which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;

Webster's Bible Translation
The like figure to which, even baptism, doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Weymouth New Testament
And, corresponding to that figure, the water of baptism now saves you--not the washing off of material defilement, but the craving of a good conscience after God--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

World English Bible
This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you--not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Young's Literal Translation
also to which an antitype doth now save us -- baptism, (not a putting away of the filth of flesh, but the question of a good conscience in regard to God,) through the rising again of Jesus Christ,
Study Bible
Suffering for Righteousness
20who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built. In the ark a few people, only eight souls, were saved through water. 21And this water symbolizes the baptism that now saves you— not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.…
Cross References
Acts 16:33
At that hour of the night, the jailer took them and washed their wounds. And without delay, he and all his household were baptized.

1 Timothy 1:5
The goal of our instruction is the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith.

Titus 3:5
He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 9:14
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!

Hebrews 10:22
let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 13:18
Pray for us; we are convinced that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 3:16
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you will be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ.

Treasury of Scripture

The like figure whereunto even baptism does 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:

like.

Romans 5:14
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

1 Corinthians 4:6
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

Hebrews 9:24
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

baptism.

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

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.

the putting.

Ezekiel 36:25,26
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you…

Zechariah 13:1
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

the answer.

Acts 8:37
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

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…

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

by.

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,







Lexicon
And
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

[this water]
(ho)
Personal / Relative Pronoun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3739: Who, which, what, that.

symbolizes
ἀντίτυπον (antitypon)
Adjective - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 499: Neuter of a compound of anti and tupos; corresponding, i.e. A representative, counterpart.

[the] baptism
βάπτισμα (baptisma)
Noun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 908: The rite or ceremony of baptism. From baptizo; baptism.

[that] now
νῦν (nyn)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3568: A primary particle of present time; 'now'; also as noun or adjective present or immediate.

saves
σῴζει (sōzei)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 4982: To save, heal, preserve, rescue. From a primary sos; to save, i.e. Deliver or protect.

you—
ὑμᾶς (hymas)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Accusative 2nd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 4771: You. The person pronoun of the second person singular; thou.

not
οὐ (ou)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3756: No, not. Also ouk, and ouch a primary word; the absolute negative adverb; no or not.

the removal
ἀπόθεσις (apothesis)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 595: A putting off, a laying down. From apotithemi; a laying aside.

of dirt
ῥύπου (rhypou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 4509: Filth, filthiness, dirt, squalor. Of uncertain affinity; dirt, i.e. depravity.

from the body,
σαρκὸς (sarkos)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 4561: Flesh, body, human nature, materiality; kindred.

but
ἀλλὰ (alla)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 235: But, except, however. Neuter plural of allos; properly, other things, i.e. contrariwise.

[the] pledge
ἐπερώτημα (eperōtēma)
Noun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 1906: Inquiry, request, appeal, demand; a profession, pledge. From eperotao; an inquiry.

of a clear
ἀγαθῆς (agathēs)
Adjective - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 18: A primary word; 'good'.

conscience
συνειδήσεως (syneidēseōs)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 4893: The conscience, a persisting notion. From a prolonged form of suneido; co-perception, i.e. Moral consciousness.

toward
εἰς (eis)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1519: A primary preposition; to or into, of place, time, or purpose; also in adverbial phrases.

God.
Θεόν (Theon)
Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

[It saves you] through
δι’ (di’)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1223: A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through.

[the] resurrection
ἀναστάσεως (anastaseōs)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 386: A rising again, resurrection. From anistemi; a standing up again, i.e. a resurrection from death (its author), or a recovery.

of Jesus
Ἰησοῦ (Iēsou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2424: Of Hebrew origin; Jesus, the name of our Lord and two other Israelites.

Christ,
Χριστοῦ (Christou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 5547: Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ. From chrio; Anointed One, i.e. The Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.
(21) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.--There are two undoubted false readings in this sentence which must be cleared away before we can consider the meaning. First, the word "whereunto" is a mistake for the more difficult which; and second, it should be you, not "us." We may then translate, either, Which baptism also, in antitype, doth now save you, or else, Which (water) also, in antitype, now saveth you--baptism. The first is less likely, both from the order of the words in Greek, and also because of the difficulty of calling the Flood point-blank a baptism. According to the second translation, the water through which Noah was saved is said in the present day ("now," as opposed to "in the days of Noe") to save us (the "you" is emphatic). It does so, in the same sense as we might say, for instance, that the sprinkling of the paschal blood saves us: that is to say, it foreshadowed something which does as a fact save us. This St. Peter expresses by the adjective which may be rendered "in antitype." The thing it represented is Christian baptism. Where, then, lies the likeness between the two? Not merely in the identity of the element water, which serves but to arrest the fancy, and make one think of the deeper resemblance. One obvious point is that the number of persons accepting the proffered salvation at the present crisis is, as in the days of Noe, very small compared with those who reject it. The main thought, however, is not of the Christians, as a body or family (like Noe's), being saved while others are lost. For each individual by himself there is a meaning in his baptism which is prefigured by the Flood; and the explanation of baptism which follows, and the opening of the next chapter, show that the Apostle was thinking chiefly of this individual application. As the passage of Israel through the Red Sea is described as a baptism (1Corinthians 10:2) because it marked their transition from the state of bondage to a new national life, and left their enemies destroyed in the water, so Noe's safe passage through the Flood is a type of baptism, because it was a regeneration of humanity, it was a destruction of the carnal, sensual element (Genesis 6:3. "he also is flesh"), it washed the human race from its pollutions, and man rose to a new and more spiritual existence for the time being, with the bow for a sign of a perpetual covenant made. So baptism is a destruction and death to the flesh, but a new life to the spirit. It must be observed how carefully St. Peter expresses the permanent effect of baptism by the present tense "saveth:" not "saved you," nor "hath saved you;" it is a living and ever present fact, the "everlasting benediction of His heavenly washing;" it washes the neophyte not from past sins only, but from those which he afterwards commits, if only he still repents and believes.

Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh.--The Apostle is not cautioning his readers against the thought that baptism acted ex opere operato, as a charm, but he is telling them, on the contrary, that it is no external rite. He was writing to Jews, who were very familiar with ceremonial washings, or "baptisings," which, though they symbolised a cleansing from sin, really effected nothing but to make the skin less dirty.

But the answer of a good conscience toward God.--An expression which has caused almost as much difficulty as any in the New Testament. The difficulty lay especially in two points: first, that the context was so involved as to give little indication what to expect; secondly, that the Greek word (eperotema) which is here rendered "answer" is so seldom found. and might easily take such various shades of meaning. (1) Touching the word itself, we may at once reject the translation "answer," for it could only mean an "answer" in that sense in which "question" and "answer" are identical, both of them being "the thing asked," the subject matter of both being the same; but so cumbersome a sense is not in keeping here. (2) Next we may consider the attractive theory that it means a "contract." The form in which a contract was made was as follows: N says to M, "Dost thou promise?" and M answers, "I promise." Now in Byzantine Law-Greek such a contract is known as an eperotema, or "questionment," from the question with which proceedings began. And, as a matter of fact, the baptismal covenant has undoubtedly been entered upon from the earliest times with just such questions and answers. Tertullian speaks of this (De Corona, chap. iii.) as an ancient custom in the end of the second century. There are, however, three serious objections: first, that "the contract of a good conscience" is a somewhat vague and imperfect phrase, and far more difficult in Greek than in English; secondly, that there is no trace of the legal term eperotema until centuries after the date of St. Peter, or of Tertullian either; thirdly, that had eperotema been a recognised term for a "contract" in St. Peter's time, we should have been certain to find this explanation in some of the Greek Fathers. (3) The usual meaning of the verb would lead us towards a less unsatisfactory conclusion. Eperotan is "to put a question" for further information's sake. And we may remark that the order of the Greek would strongly suggest that the words "toward God" should be attached (in spite of the analogy of Acts 24:16) not to "good conscience," but to the word eperotema. Now, there is a constant use of the verb eperotan in the Old Testament in connection with the name of God. In Joshua 9:14, Judges 1:1; Judges 18:5, and many other places, it means "to consult God," "to inquire of the Lord," to seek to Him for direction. Or, with a slightly different turn, it is used, as in Isaiah 19:3; Isaiah 65:1, for "to inquire after God," in which sense it finds its way into the New Testament in Romans 10:20. Thus baptism would be said to be, "not the flesh's putting away of dirt (for so it might be turned, though it is somewhat forced), but a good conscience's inquiry at the hands of God," or "a good conscience's inquiry after God." Observe that if the "good conscience" is the agent in this transaction, as here expressed, St. Peter would recognise (as in Luke 8:15) the man's happy state of soul before baptism, and baptism would be the mode of his further approach to God. That this is good doctrine cannot be denied. (4) There is, however, another version for which a still better case can be made out: viz., "demand." It is true that the verb eperotan more frequently means "to ask" a question than "to ask" a boon, expecting a verbal response rather than a practical one; but it is once used in the New Testament in the latter sense (Matthew 16:1), and in the Old Testament also (as Psalm 137:3). And the only other instance of the word eperotema in inspired literature makes for this view. This occurs in Daniel 4:17, where the English has "demand," and the Latin petitio. There is, indeed, almost as much difficulty in ascertaining the exact sense there as here; but, on the whole, it seems to mean the "demand" for Nebuchadnezzar's degradation. This was evidently the meaning assigned to our present passage by the anonymous Father in the Catena, for, wrongly joining the words "through the resurrection" with eperotema, he says: "It teacheth also how we beseech of Him; and how? by confessing the resurrection of the Lord." Taking, then, the rendering "demand," a further question arises: Does St. Peter mean that baptism is the demand (made by God or the Church upon the man) for a good conscience towards God? or the demand made by a good conscience upon God, without specifying the demand? or finally, the demand upon God (made by the man) for a good conscience? Of these the second seems the weakest, because it leaves the nature of the demand so open, and because the notion of a good conscience previous to baptism is less suited to the context. The first would indeed give a vigorous sense. St. Peter would then be saying, "Have a good conscience (1Peter 3:16), for, besides all else, it is your baptismal obligation, and in defiling conscience you forfeit your baptismal salvation;" but it labours under the defect of connecting "toward God" with "conscience" instead of with "demand," and it is imperfect, moreover, in not demanding a good conscience toward men as well as toward God. The last seems both the clearest in itself, the best antithesis to the balancing clause, and the most in keeping with the context. It will then be: "Noah's flood, in antitype, to this day saves you--that is to say, baptism, which is no cleansing of the skin from dirt, but an application to God for a clear conscience." A "good conscience," in this case, will not mean an honest frame of mind, but a consciousness of having nothing against you, such as would come to even the chief of sinners from the baptismal remission of sins. "Conscience" is used in this retrospective sense four times in Hebrews (Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 9:14, and Hebrews 10:2; Hebrews 10:22); and, indeed, in 1Peter 3:16 it meant "having nothing on your mind because of the past," rather than "being sure that you mean well." And how well this suits the context! The Apostle, from 1Peter 3:13 to 1Peter 4:6, is uttering the praises of a clear conscience, and warning from everything that could defile it. "With this," he says, "you cannot be harmed; with this, you will be always ready to defend the faith when called to account. It was because He had this that Christ was able to atone for you and bring you to God, and to conduct His mission to the dead, and to give by His resurrection an efficacy to your baptism; and that baptism itself only saves you by the fact that in it you ask and receive the cleansing of the conscience."

By the resurrection.--Rightly joined in our version with "doth save." Baptism derives all its sacramental efficacy from the fact that Christ has, by the Resurrection, introduced into the world a new kind of life, which in baptism is imparted to the believer. The doctrine here approaches still nearer to that of Romans 6 than to that of 1Peter 1:3. In the first chapter, the Resurrection of Christ was said to be the means and the moment of our regeneration, but baptism (though of course implied) was not mentioned, nor the death to sin. But here, as in Romans, these two take a prominent place. As humanity died to the flesh in the bad Antediluvians, and rose again, washed clean, in Noe, so to the believer there was in baptism a death to the flesh, and he rose again, with a conscience washed clean through the union thereby effected with the crucified and risen Christ. Note, again, that when the Apostle speaks of glories he uses the name of Jesus: when of sufferings, it is the title of Christ.

Verse 21. - The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us. The reading of the Textus Receptus ω΅ι, represented by "whereunto," is without authority; all the uncial manuscripts have ο}, "which," in the nominative case. The oldest manuscripts also read "you" instead of "us." The antecedent of the relative must be the word immediately preceding, ὕδατος, water; the word "baptism" is added in apposition, to define more clearly the apostle's meaning; the water which saves is the water of baptism. Thus the literal translation will be, "Which (as) antitype is saving you also, (namely) baptism;" that is, the water which is saving you is the antitype of the water of the Flood. That water was made the means of saving a few; it bore up the ark in which they were. It saved them, perhaps, from the malice of the ungodly; it saved them from that corruption which was almost universal; it was the means of saving the race of men as by a new birth through death into a new life, a new beginning; it washed away the evil, those who suffered for evil-doing, and so saved those who had doubtless been suffering for well-doing. Thus it is the figure (τύπος) of the antitype (ἀντίτυπον) baptism; the two (the water of the Flood and the water of baptism) correspond as type and antitype. The ἀντίτυπον is the counterpart of the τύπος; and as τύπος sometimes means the original, sometimes the figure, there is a correspondent variation in the meaning of ἀντίτυπον. Delitzsch says, on Hebrews 9:24, "We have found τύπος at 1 Peter 8:5 used in the sense of an original figure - a model from which a copy is made; such copy from an original (or architype) is that designated as ἀντίτυπα here. Τύπος again (as at Romans 5:14) is used in the sense of a prophetic foretype, of which the accomplishment is reserved for the future (τύπος τῶν μελλόντων); and that accomplishment is again called ἀντίτυπον (antitype); e.g. baptism, at 1 Peter 3:21, is in this sense an ἀντίτυπον of the Deluge. The earthly reflection of the heavenly archetype, and the actual fulfillment of the prophetic τύπος, are each called ἀντίτυπον." Here the water of the Flood is the prophetic foretype; baptism is the accomplishment. "Baptism," St. Peter says, "is saving you," the few Christians, separating you from the vast number of Gentiles, whom in some sense it condemns through their rejection of God's offered mercy (comp. Hebrews 11:7), saving you from the corruption of their evil example, bringing you into the ark of Christ's Church, bearing up that ark through the grace of the new birth. The apostle says, "Baptism is saving you;" he does not say, "hits saved;" he is using the present tense in its proper sense of an incomplete action; it brings us into a state of salvation, into covenant with God. But it is only the beginning, the birth; the growth must follow; the death unto sin, the new birth unto righteousness, must be realized in actual life; otherwise, alas! we shall have received the grace of God in vain (comp. Titus 3:5). (Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.) St. Peter hastens to explain his statement. Baptism doth save us, but not the mere outward ceremony; you may "make clean the outside" with the most scrupulous care; you may be very careful in putting away the filth of the flesh (or, if the genitive is to be regarded as subjective, with Bengel, the flesh may put away its filth); but more is needed than the old Jewish washings, the frequent purifications. Comp. Justin Martyr, ' Dial. cum Trypho,' p. 331 (quoted by Huther), Τί γὰρ ὄφελος ἐκείνου τοῦ βαπτὶσματος (the Jewish washing) ο} τὴν σάρκα καὶ μόνον τὸ σῶμα φαιδρύνει βαπτίσθητε τὴν ψυχήν. Observe that St. Peter uses the word here rendered "putting away" (ἀπόθεσις) again in the Second Epistle (1. 14) of putting off the earthly tabernacle (comp. also 1 Peter 2:1, where he uses the corresponding participle, ἀποθέμενοι). The next clause presents great difficulty. Is the genitive subjective or objective? What is the meaning of ἐπερώτημα? The word ἐπερώτημα occurs only in one other place in the Greek Scriptures (Daniel 4:14 [in the Authorized Version, 4:17D, where it is translated "demand;" the corresponding verb is of frequent occurrence; as in Romans 10:20, "them that asked not after me;" and 2 Kings 11:7 (2 Samuel 11:7, in the Authorized Version), where it is joined with the preposition εἰς, as in this verse. Thus ἐπερώτημα seems to mean an "inquiry," and the genitive is probably subjective. The inner meaning of baptism is not that the flesh puts away its filth, but that a good conscience inquires after God. The outward and visible sign doth not save if separated from the inward and spiritual grace. The first is necessary, for it is an outward sign appointed by Christ; but it will not save without the second; those who draw near to God must have their bodies washed with pure water, but also their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22). The inner cleansing of the soul results in a good conscience, a consciousness of sincerity, of good intentions and desires, which will instinctively seek after God. And that good conscience is the effect of baptism, when baptism has its perfect work, when those who have once been grafted into the true Vine abide in Christ, when those who have once been baptized in one Spirit into one body keep the unity of the Spirit, Christ dwelling in them, and they in Christ. Archbishop Leighton explains the word ἐπερώτημα as "the whole correspondence of the conscience with God, and with itself as towards God, or in the sight of God." If the genitive is regarded as objective, the meaning will be, "an inquiry addressed to God for a good conscience;" the soul, once awakened, seeks continually fuller purification, hungers and thirsts after righteousness. This gives a good sense, but seems less suitable in this context. It is possible also to join the preposition εἰς with συνείδησις in the sense of a good conscience in relation to God; but it seems much more natural to connect it with ἐπερώτημα. Some commentators follow AEcumenius in paraphrasing ἐερώτημα by ἀῥῤαβών ἐνέχυρον ἀπόδειξις; they take the ground that, in legal language, the word was used in the sense of a contract, and they see in St. Peter's words a reference to the covenant made with God in baptism, and to the questions and answers in which, from the earliest times, that covenant was expressed; ἐπερώτημα being used in a general sense so as to cover answers as well as questions. This is a possible alternative, but the word seems to have acquired this meaning in later times. By the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These words refer back to "baptism doth also now save us." Baptism derives its saving effect from the resurrection of our Lord; without that resurrection it would be an empty form (see note on 1 Peter 1:3). 3:14-22 We sanctify God before others, when our conduct invites and encourages them to glorify and honour him. What was the ground and reason of their hope? We should be able to defend our religion with meekness, in the fear of God. There is no room for any other fears where this great fear is; it disturbs not. The conscience is good, when it does its office well. That person is in a sad condition on whom sin and suffering meet: sin makes suffering extreme, comfortless, and destructive. Surely it is better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing, whatever our natural impatience at times may suggest. The example of Christ is an argument for patience under sufferings. In the case of our Lord's suffering, he that knew no sin, suffered instead of those who knew no righteousness. The blessed end and design of our Lord's sufferings were, to reconcile us to God, and to bring us to eternal glory. He was put to death in respect of his human nature, but was quickened and raised by the power of the Holy Spirit. If Christ could not be freed from sufferings, why should Christians think to be so? God takes exact notice of the means and advantages people in all ages have had. As to the old world, Christ sent his Spirit; gave warning by Noah. But though the patience of God waits long, it will cease at last. And the spirits of disobedient sinners, as soon as they are out of their bodies, are committed to the prison of hell, where those that despised Noah's warning now are, and from whence there is no redemption. Noah's salvation in the ark upon the water, which carried him above the floods, set forth the salvation of all true believers. That temporal salvation by the ark was a type of the eternal salvation of believers by baptism of the Holy Spirit. To prevent mistakes, the apostle declares what he means by saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing with water, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth of the flesh, but that baptism, of which the baptismal water formed the sign. Not the outward ordinance, but when a man, by the regeneration of the Spirit, was enabled to repent and profess faith, and purpose a new life, uprightly, and as in the presence of God. Let us beware that we rest not upon outward forms. Let us learn to look on the ordinances of God spiritually, and to inquire after the spiritual effect and working of them on our consciences. We would willingly have all religion reduced to outward things. But many who were baptized, and constantly attended the ordinances, have remained without Christ, died in their sins, and are now past recovery. Rest not then till thou art cleansed by the Spirit of Christ and the blood of Christ. His resurrection from the dead is that whereby we are assured of purifying and peace.
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