June 02, 2004

BAPTISM by Tim James

1Pe 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:

The Word of God says that baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since baptism is also the believer's confession of his identification with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5), then it must be upon this basis that answers that he has a good conscience toward God. The only good conscience toward God is a clear conscience toward God. The only clear conscience toward God is one upon, which there is no ground to accuse. It stands to reason then, that when Christ arose from the dead, the grounds upon which the conscience accuses ceased to exist. On what basis does the conscience lays charges against someone? Is it not in the realm of the law that this screaming banshee within indicts us? Does not scripture declare that, in Christ and by His substitutionary satisfaction of the law, our "conscience is purged from dead works…" (Hebrews 9:14), and that the worshippers once purged should have no more conscience of sins…(Hebrews 10:2)? When our Lord put away sins by the sacrifice of Himself, was buried and rose again for our justification, what possible ground did conscience have upon which to accuse? Has not our sin been put away…does God remember it no more…is it not separated from us as far as the east is from the west? The conscience comes to the believer with the Law of God, turns on the searchlight of God's Holiness, scans the believer from top to bottom, even to the depths of heart thoughts and can find nothing but the pure, pristine, undiluted, unmitigated, unadulterated imputed righteousness of Christ. Conscience then must say, " Nothing here…no spot…no blemish…no wrinkle…nor any such thing…all is clear"! When a believer is baptized, he is confessing the unqualified success of the finished work of Christ…the answer of a good conscience toward God.