1 Peter 3:21;
21 “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”
This bible verse is maybe one of the most common Bible verses people use to confirm that baptism is necessary for your salvation. But it is probably the exact opposite. This verse is probably one of the most powerful verses that confirm that baptism is not necessary for your salvation, but is only a confession of your belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ..
The word antitype is the greek word (G499 ἀντίτυπον, antitupon, an-teet’-oo-pon) and it means, “corresponding”, (“antitype”), that is, a representative, counterpart: – (like) ”FIGURE” (whereunto), Strong Concordance.
So the question is what is baptism a Corresponding, antitype, and figure of ?
The answer is given in the same verse: “not the removal of the filth of the flesh BUT: of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,“.
Peter is connecting baptism with your faith in Jesus Christ and His resurrection. But he clearly states that it is not the water itself that saves, but “ the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”,.
First believe in Jesus Christ and His resurrection and then we are baptized as a confession that you are born again, and a new creation in Christ. So water baptism only saves the believer in an antitype of your faith in Jesus, and is something that should be done immediately after your confession in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 8:34-38, 10:43-48, 16:30-33, 18:8).
Water baptism is the outward confession of the believer’s inward faith. The person is saved the moment he or she puts their faith in the Lord Jesus, (1 Peter 3:21), and also (John 3:14-18, 5:24, John 20:31, Acts 10:43, 16:31, 26:18, Romans 1:16-17,10: 9-17, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:9, 1 John 5:13).
Salvation and water baptism is strongly connected to each other.To the first disciples it would be unthinkable and a denial of your salvation if not being baptized at once (Acts 2:38,8:34-38, 10:43-48,16:30-33, 18:8). It may look like some Bible verses says that water baptism is necessary for your salvation, ex Mark 16:15-16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Titus 3:5, Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 3:21. I am dealing with these Bible verses in part 2 of my article (Is water baptism necessary for salvation) and it will also be beneficial if you read my article “the three different baptism”, where I am dealing with the baptism recorded in Romans 6, Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 4:5, Colossians 2:11, 1 Corinthians 6:11,10:2, and 1 Corinthians 12:13, which many scholars believe is the baptism in water, but it is not…
I accepted Jesus a couple of decades before I became baptized–I accepted Christ as a child probable from the age of four or five. Baptism for me meant that I would not turn back. I had to feel 100% certain that I was all in with Christ before I finally got baptized. The truth is also no one in my church wanted me to become baptized until they felt for themselves that I was committing to all of their church dictates. Well when I left that church and joined an SDA church, the pastor baptized me–no longer, however, apart of SDA. I felt the power of God’s Holy Spirit on me before I went into the water. The tears just kept flowing; I felt regret for sinning against God.
Finally the pastor finished his sermon. When he saw me he asked “Are you all right?”. I said yes. He baptized me, but I’ll never forget how sorry I felt for sinning against God–the presence of God’s Holy Spirit fell upon. I tried desperately to stop the tears, but I could not.
Baptism in retrospect changed the trajectory of my Christian walk. It helped me break the strongholds of sin in my life.