The Apostle Peter teaches us that baptism doesnâ€™t clear dirt off the body, but it is a pledgeâ€“â€“an answerâ€“â€“of a good conscience toward God (1 Pt. 3:21). Outside of Christ, the conscience is a ceaseless drone of accusation and guilt. It bears witness against you that youâ€™re a rebel against God and grace. You deserve to be swept away in a flood of His wrath.
But baptism into Christ is a salvation from that guilty conscience. Baptism not only points to Christâ€™s death for our sin (by receiving Godâ€™s wrath), but His resurrection from the death which the curse of sin brought into the world. Those who are in Christ receive a covenant sign of that entry into Him. They hold up their baptism as an answer to the question, â€œHow can youâ€“â€“a sinnerâ€“â€“be justified in Godâ€™s eyes?â€ The answer of their baptism is: â€œBecause Jesus diedâ€“â€“the just for the unjust (1 Pt. 3:18)â€“â€“and rose from the dead; and by faith, I am in Him.â€
All baptized believers have an answer to give when asked for the reason of the hope that is in them (1 Pt. 3:15). Their answer is their baptism. Guilty consciences are promised a good conscience when they look to Christ alone and thus enter into His death and life. So hold up the only hope of a good conscience towards God: the righteous Son of God.