It's By Grace Thru Faith Alone
No Water necessary
No water Necessary
1 Peter 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:”
It is strongly advised here, not to rest in the letter, but to look for the substance of what is here .
(from Adam Clarke Commentary) emphasis is mine.
“There are many difficulties in this verse; but the simple meaning of the place may be easily apprehended. Noah believed in God, walked uprightly before him, and found grace in his sight; he obeyed him in building the ark, and God made it the means of his salvation from the waters of the deluge. Baptism implies a consecration and dedication of the soul and body to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He who is faithful to his baptismal covenant, taking God through Christ, by the eternal Spirit, for his portion, is saved here from his sins; and through the resurrection of Christ from the dead, has the well-grounded hope of eternal glory. This is all plain; but was it the deluge, itself, or the ark, or the being saved by that ark from the deluge, that was the antitype of which Peter speaks? Noah and his family were saved by water; i. e. it was the instrument of their being saved through the good providence of God. So the water of baptism, typifying the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, is the means of salvation to all those who receive this Holy Spirit in its quickening, cleansing efficacy. Now as the waters of the flood could not have saved Noah and his family, had they not made use of the ark; so the water of baptism saves no man,” This text, as far as I can see, says nothing in support of immersion in baptismal water as the means of salvation;” End of quote
Peter is teaching that the fact that 8 people were in an ark and went through the whole judgment, and yet were unharmed, is analogous to the Christian’s experience in salvation by being in (union with) Christ, identified with Christ our "Ark" of salvation so to speak.
Peter is not teaching (as some twist the Scriptures to say) that immersion in water by a particular denomination saves you. Peter pictures the waters of baptism as corresponding to (prefigured by) the deliverance of Noah’s family by the Ark. Noah and his family's identification with the Ark (by going into the ark when the flood came) is a type of the believer's identification with Christ (by grace through faith) in which he or she identifies with Christ's finished work on the Cross and in so doing in a manner of speaking that person is now safe within the "Ark", Who is Christ Jesus. He/she has received Holy Spirit baptism and now qualifies for water baptism.
Peter seems very aware that his words are open to dangerous misuse. This is why, as soon as they are out of his pen, as it were, he qualifies them lest they be taken the wrong way. In verse 21 he does say, "Baptism now saves you" - that sounds like the water has a saving effect in and of itself apart from faith. He knows that is what it sounds like and so he adds immediately, "Not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience , The exercise of saving faith which triggers Holy Spirit Baptism which seals your salvation Eph. 1:13.
I hope this clarifies the question for you.
Peter did not say Water Baptism saves you.
As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the Bible teaches on the subject at hand. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to the conclusion that water baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation, is a faulty interpretation.
The term water baptism is assumed in this verse, Never stated.
Jesus plus anything else for Salvation equals NOTHING.
It's NOT Grace through Faith + all you can do.
It Is Grace through Faith Alone
Jesus plus Nothing else for Salvation = EVERYTHING.
Note: Water Baptism in the Bible is always after salvation and only by immersion (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Acts 8:38). Water Baptism is a public symbol of what has happened inside of a believer. It symbolizes the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. (Romans 6:3-4)
Rev. George Pryor Th.M.