Today's Foundations Devotional: A good conscience and becoming a disciple

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Memory verse

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name

of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the

gift of the Holy Spirit.

(Acts 2:38)

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A third condition for Christian baptism is made clear in the passage where Peter compares the ordinance of Christian baptism in water to the experience of Noah and his family, who were saved from the wrath and judgement of God when they entered by faith into the ark. Then, once within the ark, they passed safely through the waters of the flood. In direct reference to this account, Peter says:

There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely 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 (1 Pet. 3:21).

Here Peter first dismisses the crude suggestion that the purpose of Christian baptism is any kind of cleansing or bathing of the physical body. Rather, he says, the essential condition of Christian baptism lies in the inner response of the believer’s heart – “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” This inner response of a good conscience toward God, Peter indicates, is made possible through faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The first three conditions for baptism – repenting, believing and a good conscience – are summed up by a fourth requirement: becoming a disciple. Christ commissioned His followers to carry the message of the gospel to all nations.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you (Matt. 28:19-20).

Here making disciples, which precedes baptising, consists in bringing those who hear the gospel through the first three stages of repenting, believing and a good conscience. This makes new believers eligible for baptism, by which act they commit themselves publicly to a life of discipleship.

After this public act of commitment, those who have been baptised need to receive more thorough and extensive teaching that they may become true disciples – strong, intelligent, responsible Christians.

We may now sum up the scriptural requirements for baptism. The person must first have heard enough of the gospel to understand the nature of his act. He must have repented of his sins; he must confess his faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; he must be able to answer God with a good conscience on the grounds that he has fulfilled all of God’s requirements for salvation. Finally, he must commit himself to a life of discipleship.

We conclude, therefore, that to be eligible for Christian baptism according to the New Testament standard, a person must be able to meet these four conditions; conversely, any person who is not able to meet these conditions is not eligible for baptism.

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Prayer:

Lord Jesus, today I want to thank You again for Your complete, total

provision and for a life dedicated to God through repentance and

faith! Thank You Lord for that wonderful grace! Amen.

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