“An Appeal to God for a Good Conscience”
By Bob Myhan
Peter wrote, concerning Christ, that “He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water” (1 Pet. 3:19-20). Some contend that Noah and his family weren't saved through water, but through the ark. Peter, however, said they "were saved through water." It is true that the ark saved them physically, in that it bore them up above the physical destruction brought on by the water below. However, the water saved them spiritually, in that it took away all the wicked people and their evil influence (Matt. 24:37-39).
Peter went on to write,
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, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1 Pet. 3:21-22, NKJV)
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; who is one the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Pet. 3:21-22, ASV)
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, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. (1 Pet. 3:21-22, NASB)
Peter says that baptism is “an antitype which now saves us." What is an antitype? An antitype is that which corresponds to the type to which it is related. The water through which Noah and his family were saved is the type and baptism is the antitype, corresponding to the water through which Noah and his family were saved.
We know that baptism in water is under consideration because of the connection to the word "water" in the phrase, “few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water," in verse 20. Thus, water baptism saves us. But how is it that water baptism saves us? Water baptism saves us in that our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ when we are “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Peter does not say that baptism saves us by itself, but "by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." If not for this miraculous event, by which Jesus was fully and finally declared, with power, to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4), neither baptism nor anything else would or could save anyone. Baptism does not save as the cause, but as a condition of salvation (Mark 16:15-16; John 3:3-5).
Notice, also, that the baptism that saves is "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God." That is, if one is baptized merely for the removal of bodily dirt, he has not been saved. But what is meant by “the answer of a good conscience toward God”? The Greek word translated "answer," in the KJV & NKJ, appears nowhere else in the New Testament, but its verb form appears fifty-nine times in fifty-eight verses, and is rendered "ask," "asked," "asking," "demanded," "desired," or "questioned" (KJV). The noun form must, therefore, mean "a request." In attestation of this, the ASV employs the word "interrogation," and the NASB uses the word "appeal," as quoted above. Notice, also, the following comment:
In Classical Greek the word means a "question" and nothing else. The meaning here is much disputed, and can hardly be settled satisfactorily. The rendering "answer" has no warrant. The meaning seems to be (as Alford), "the seeking after God of a good and pure conscience, which is the aim and end of the Christian baptismal life." So Lange: "The thing asked may be conceived as follows: 'How shall I rid myself of an evil conscience? Wilt thou, most holy God, again accept me, a sinner? Wilt thou, Lord Jesus, grant me the communion of thy death and life? Wilt thou, O Holy Spirit, assure me of grace and adoption, and dwell in my heart?' To these questions the triune Jehovah answers in baptism, 'Yea!' Now is laid the solid foundation for a good conscience. The conscience is not only purified from its guilt, but it receives new vital power by means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft).
Thus, only one whose baptism is "an appeal to God for a good conscience" is saved. If this is not so, why is it not? &
DO YOU WANT TRUTH?
By Charles "Skip" Sebree
One would think that surely most people want the truth. And yet one finds, at least in the realm of religion, that such is not the case. In Matthew 21:33-46 Jesus tells a parable of servants being sent to work in a vineyard who are beaten, stoned, and killed by those in charge. They even killed the vineyard owner's son. The religious leaders of Jesus' day correctly perceived He was talking about them and sought to kill Him. In Matthew 23:34-38 Jesus again tells of how the people had and will continue to kill those who are sent from God. Eventually, they killed Jesus for teaching truth.
Stephen, in his sermon in Acts 7, asks the people which of the prophets had their fathers not persecuted'? He tells them they were just like their fathers in resisting God. Because they did not like the truth Stephen was preaching, they stoned him to death.
The apostle Paul was beaten, stoned and left to die because he taught the truth. On another occasion, Paul wrote to Christians who were being deceived and misled by false teachers. Apparently some did not like his warnings for he asked in Galatians 4:16, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" It is obvious from these examples that many religious people do not want the truth, and are willing to do anything to keep from hearing it. (Please read 2 Timothy 4:1-4.) There needs to be a constant examination of one's attitude toward truth. Jesus tells us that it is truth that makes one free, John 8:32. Either one loves and seeks after the truth, even when it hurts and calls for a change in one's life, or one will do whatever necessary to keep from hearing it. Are you sincere in wanting to follow Jesus? Do you want the truth? &
BEES AND HEREDITY
A queen is the mother of all the 10,000 to 100,000 bees in the hive. Fertilized during a nuptial flight by a male bee four or five days after her emergence from her cell as a queen bee, she may lay as many as 2,000 eggs a day during the nectar gathering season, and keep that up for two or three years! All from one mating! After the male's sperm is deposited in her body, the sperm sac is torn from him, causing his death. Then she returns to the hive and deposits one egg to a cell, so the maggots are hatched in cells.
The baby bee, which hatches out of the egg in about three days, certainly does NOT resemble its mother. It is a fat white grub with neither wings nor legs and almost no head. Helpless, it lies waiting in its cell for nurse bees to feed it. So hungry are these youngsters that each one needs over a thousand meals a day. The greedy little creatures grow so fast that in six days each fills its cell tightly and is ready to take the next step in its life, the step that is called pupating. The nurses build a wax cover over the cell and the larva spins a silk cocoon inside. Within the larval skin wonderful changes take place. Legs and wings push out and the body changes shape to make three distinct parts - head, thorax, and abdomen. The skin hardens and turns dark. After twelve days the adult worker is ready to cast off her larval skin and chew her way out of her cell."
The transformation of grub into adult bee, during the pupating process, is a MYSTERY AND A MIRACLE far beyond human comprehension. It is impossible to explain it by natural causes. It is a well known phenomenon that can be explained only by admitting a supernatural Creator.
When the queen desires a worker bee, her pressure on the sperm-carrying sac in her body forces a sperm into the egg and a female bee is conceived. If a drone or male is desired, she does NOT press on the sperm sac; the drone is thus an example of "parthenogenesis, or virgin birth: for the drone has a mother and grandparents, but NO FATHER. This complicated manner of procreation defies explanation; save on the basis of Divine Creation. And honeybees have continued producing queens, workers and drones since ancient times- and honeybees are still honeybees!
* Rose aphids also give birth by parthenogenesis to live young. (See the June, 1961, "National Geographic.") Other examples include some moths, some marine worms, some plants and some birds.
Without serving an apprenticeship, twenty-four hours alter emergence from her cell and cocoon, the young bee begins her duties as a nurse bee, and she performs her duties without instruction, confusion or lack of skill - the perfect example of both individual and "community" instinct. She is able to make royal jelly and feed her sisters who are just coming into adult life. The entire process, from the nuptial flight, to the laying of so many eggs for so long a time, through the stages of larva, pupa and adult bee, is marvelous - as wonderful as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. It can not be accounted for by any theory of evolution. &