Is it an APPEAL or an ANSWER?

By Royce Frederick

“...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” (1 Pet. 3:21 NKJV).

Various translations of 1 Pet. 3:21 say baptism is —

“the answer(King James Version)

“the answer(New King James Version)

“the interrogation(American Standard Version)

“an appeal(New American Standard Version)

“an appeal(Revised Standard Version)

“the earnest seeking(Berkeley Version)

Which is correct? Actually, each of these translations expresses some aspects of the true meaning of baptism.

God acted first. He loved us before we loved Him (1 Jn. 4:19). Before He created the world, He planned to offer us salvation in Christ (Eph. 3:8-11; 1 Pet. 1:18-21). While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). God then sent the gospel. Through the gospel, He is calling all people to come to Him through Christ (Jn. 14:6; 20:21; Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Thess. 2:14).

BAPTISM is a RESPONSE, an ANSWER. God calls us, and we answer Him by being baptized. He tells us that a sinner must believe, repent, confess his faith, and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:16; Gal. 3:26-27). Repentance is the decision to turn to God. Confession is telling what we believe. And baptism is the moment of actual surrender to God.

BAPTISM is a REQUEST, an APPEAL. At baptism, a sinner is seeking salvation and eternal life. A government may announce that there are some benefits which are available, but each person must apply for them. Likewise, we appeal for the free gift of eternal life by being baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4, 23; Col. 2:12).