Remember when phones were really not that smart? It still boggles the mind to think that through a ‘land line’ numbers could be dialed and voices could be heard with great clarity on opposing sides of the country and even the world. This writer is certainly not an expert on how those ‘old-fashioned’ phones worked, and certainly not on the computers in our pockets today. However, to try to explain to a young person now that all phones in the past could do at one time was make and answer calls will surly cause a sideways look with the eyes. Like those phones, however, baptism in the New Testament is described simply as a call and an answer.
Baptism is connected to calling on the name of the Lord.
This is made clear in the great sermon of Peter recorded by Luke in Acts 2. Quoting from Joel 2:32, Peter says, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Before he could finish the sermon, the crowd interrupted him to ask, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) In other words, “How do we call on the name of the Lord to be saved?” The answer is supplied in the next verse, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Those who gladly received his word were baptized that day (Acts 2:41). Calling on the name of the Lord is connected to obeying Jesus (Acts 9:14,21). It is again directly connected to baptism in Acts 22:16 where Saul of Tarsus was asked, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Baptism is very clearly involved in calling on the name of the Lord.
Baptism results in the answer of a good conscience toward God.
This is exactly what Peter says of baptism in 1 Peter 3:21, “There is 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.” The word translated ‘conscience’ means, “to think together with.” The idea that Peter emphasizes is that to be saved, we compare our actions with God’s will. We can then think together with ourselves and know that we are right with God because we have done what He commands. If baptism is what saves, we can think together with ourselves and know we are saved when we do what God commands. Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God.
The New Testament makes it clear that one is saved by calling on the name of the Lord and it is possible to know that we are saved when obeying the commands given by the Lord. Baptism is involved directly in both calling on the name of the Lord and the answer of a good conscience toward God.
In this way, God has clearly communicated His will for our lives and made salvation possible through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.