Someone asked: I Peter 3:21 - Is this a mistranslation? because it clearly says baptism now saves you. Those who believe that water baptism saves you use this verse all the time to claim that water saves. Can you explain this?
You need to apply the Rules of Biblical Interpretation: God is Immutable; does not change His Mind, have a better idea, make mistakes, contradict Himself. Therefore, Scripture will not contradict itself. If it seems that any verse does contradict another, it is a misreading and the reader is confused. What God says first sets the Standard by which all that follows is to be interpreted. Some things God says are qualified; and thus, several different factors must be harmonized; not understood to be at odds with each other. This is rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Also, you need to LOOK AT EVERY word in a verse, not only the words you “like” and not only the ones THAT DISTRACT YOU—as some “Bible experts” do (like magicians with smoke and mirrors and dazzling lights), amputating the rest of the verse as if the few words that they like are all that there is. The passage reads:
“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 Christ Jesus.” (I Peter 3:21)
FIGURE is a key word and RESURRECTION OF JESUS is a key phrase.
BAPTISM IS A FIGURE (a type, an illustration) of the Saving Power of Christ Jesus raising us to new life; via the Regeneration of the Holy Spirit that falls upon the elect, at some specific point in their lives, imparting unto them faith wherewith they believe unto salvation, repent, confess their sins, ask for forgiveness and life, and then walk in the Spirit (in obedience to the Law of God—which Christ did NOT abolish) to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (which is the violation of the Law of God). It would have done little good for Christ to die for us and pay the penalty for our sin, if He did not rise from the dead and raise us to new life with Him.
Those who think that water baptism saves are theologically near sighted, cross eyed, and pigheaded; as well as unscholary, ignorant, deceitful, and deluded. Scripture says, “He must increase, I must decrease” “That in all things HE might have the pre-eminence.” It is not about us. God has determined all, in His Sovereignty. Nothing “evolved”. Creation did not fall helplessly on its own. No man (or angel) writes his own script or directs his own steps or controls his own destiny. Those who believe otherwise believe what they want to believe, not what God says. They are ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Their understanding is incomplete, skewed, and compartmentalized, detatched from the whole; and thus, spurious.
God does not contradict Himself. As I have explained in my books and other Ruminations, Scripture says,
“4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7But unto every one of us is given Grace according to the measure of the Gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4)
“8For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2)
There is ONE baptism. Scripture speaks of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and of water baptism. Hmmm. 1+1=2. 2 does not = 1. Which do you think is real and which the “figure”...? Gee. It is so confusing. Which do you think is the real Jesus? — the “Bread of Life”, the Second Person of the Godhead at the Father’s Right Hand in Heaven or the bread served at communion in which Christ said “This do in REMEMBRANCE of Me” (not “This is actually Me and I am not Me”). Gee. It’s so confusing it hurts my head. How can we ever know the answer...?
Taking communion does not regenerate you, satisfy your sin debt before God, obtain forgiveness, or convert your soul / spirit / mind; neither does water baptism. CHRIST JESUS and the HOLY SPIRIT do...!
The passages quoted above (along with many others) clearly indicate that Grace (by which we receive Faith that enables us to believe) is NOT OF US, but is a GIFT OF and FROM GOD / CHRIST. The humans who water baptize an individual don’t save that person any more than the person who serves communion saves you. Those who believe otherwise have been sent strong delusion from God to believe a lie. The water does not save. The wine does not save. Neither water nor wine are alive; nor are they God.
The passage in Peter alludes to the 8 souls saved in the ark, “saved by water”. This is a figure of speech. They were not saved by water. They were saved by the pitch that sealed the boards of the ark water tight to keep the water out! (which water would have killed them). In fact, the very Hebrew word used for “pitch” (Genesis 6:14) is the same word “atone”: #3722, kawphar. Compare the same word in “purge#3722 away our sins” (Psalm 79:9); “And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement#3722 was made” (Exodus 29:33). Another form of the word is #3725, kip-poor (Exodus 29:36).
The passage in Peter says, “baptism doth also now save us ... by the Resurrection of Christ Jesus.” It does NOT say, “the water saves us by your resurrection out of the baptismal pool”. The baptism spoken of is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It does not say that water baptism saves; it says water baptism is a figure / symbol of CHRIST’S RESURRECTION which saves.
It has nothing to do with whether you believe the water or wine are saving you. Believing in a myth does not make the myth real. Our faith is in the COMPLETED Work of Christ (“It is finished”), not in a baptismal pool of water. The water baptism is an outward sign and act of obedience to serve as testimony of profession of an inward unseeable act of the Holy Spirit. If you are a member of a club of any sort and you are stopped at the door and you show your membership card. Does that membership card “make” you a member? No. You became a member by signing up and by the appropriate fee being paid. The membership card is EVIDENCE that you are a member.
Also, the Greek and Hebrew words translated “saved” DO NOT ALWAYS REFER TO the forgiveness of sins unto justification. The words can mean, “deliver, rescue, etc.” in different contexts. If this were not true then many dozen of verses say we save our own souls. There is a difference between doing what is right, which will “deliver you” from being in a sinful or wrong situation (and “deliver”, that is “prevent” you from any judgment that might result from your actions, had you committed them); but that is not referring to the remediation of sins in God’s Sight. If the rules of Biblical interpretation and logic are ignored, then I Corinthians 7:16 says that spouses can actually save the souls of their spouse; and I Timothy 2:15 says that a women can regenerate her own soul simply by successfully giving birth.
[For more details, see my book, Does God Repent? — Can God Change His Mind?]
Have you ever come across a situation where a subject matter is brought up of any subject and there are 2 different opinions on the subject and both are right ?
Of course. In many situations... but NOT in DIAMETRICALLY opposed answers when there can be only one answer. Can a light switch be in both the “on” (up) position and the “off” (down) position at the same time. Of course not. Is there more than one way to shingle a roof? Yes. You can take the first row all the way across the bottom, or you can do a square upward. Can you start at the top of a roof and shingle down and it be just as good as starting at the bottom and shingling upward? OF COURSE NOT.
Is there more than one way (that is, route) to drive to the store from your house? Of course. Will driving in the completely opposite direction work just as well as driving toward the store? OF COURSE NOT. Do you have than one vehicle that you can drive to the store? Of course. But you can’t be in and drive two vehicle at the same time (unless you have a really special vehicle).
This is the law of contradiction. 2 different things cannot be exactly the same, in the same, way, at the same time, to the same degree. Something cannot be something and not-that-something at the same time. A cat cannot be a cat and non-cat (or a dog). Two diametrically opposed things cannot both be right.
[However, in our modern perverse age and GMOs created by Dr. Frankensteins, that which is bizarre is becoming more common—but it does not change reality; only confused, deranged perception.]
I met a mindless twenty-some year old (who, I believe, was gender perverse) in town a few years ago, who worked at a vegetable / fruit stand where I was shopping. When I was superficially discussing Christianity and other religions with someone else, this confused soul suggested that maybe ALL religions were right. He’s never thought too deeply and doesn’t know much of anything about “religion” (true or false) or logic, or common sense. But, that is par for the course for someone who lives in deluded fantasy believing that reality is different than it is simply because he wishes it to be so.
As far as doctrine goes, more than one thing may be possible... but both can’t be right unless we don’t understand all the details or the specific situation / application. As I explain in one of my books, I might tell one person that I had a hamburger for lunch and tell another I had a hot dog for lunch. Have I lied? Not if I had both a hotdog and a hamburger for lunch. Why I chose to tell one person about the hamburger and the other about the hotdog is immaterial as pertains to truth. But I could NOT have had a hamburger and a hot dog for lunch and also NOT have had either a hamburger or hot dog for lunch, at the same time, in the same way.
God is both 3 and 1 because He has said so. The fact that we can’t comprehend it does not change reality. Scripture may not come right out and say certain things as a whole; but Scripture gives us pieces of the puzzle to fit together; and knowing that God cannot lie or make a mistake or contradict Himself, then we use logic to harmonize and reconcile the different points to arrive at truth. Scripture says Christ laid down His Own Life and Took it back up again. It also says that God the Father sacrificed Christ and raised Him up again. It also says the Spirit of the Father resurrected Christ. Scripture makes other such seemingly contradicting statements; but there is no contradiction if God is One God in Three Persons (not merely three roles, symbols, offices, or concepts); as He has so revealed.
Scripture cannot contradict itself. If any verses seem to, then we are confused and need to find the harmony. But the Flood in Noah’s day could not have been local and worldwide at the same time. God could not have created the world in 6 days and also in unknown aeons and aeons of time. God can do all things that are logical and consonant with His Nature (reality, not fantasy). Can God make a rock so big He cannot lift it? The answer is, “God is under no obligation to enter illogical man’s delusions with him—in fact, He cannot because God is True”. Can God be Love and Hate at the same time? Of course. Those are both parts of His Nature. Can He demonstrate both at the same time? Of course, He can destroy our enemies, which at the same time delivers us. Can God love whom He has determined to damn to Hell? Of course not, God is not double minded. Could Christ have died for our sins and not died for our sins? Of course not.
Christians would do better to study Dr. Gordon Clark and learn logic, otherwise, they will ever be like the Hebrew Eunuch in Ethiopia, reading the Scriptures but not understanding what he was reading. At least he was HONEST; unlike the majority of illogical, anti-intellectual, nondoctrinal “Christians” who read and deludedly think that they understand. God is a God of order. God IS Logic. CHRIST is the logos (two short os as in log); the Logic, Ration (or by extension, Wisdom, Truth, and Doctrine).