I've got a post in my drafts that I've been working on for awhile (and will continue to work on for awhile) about why I'm Lutheran -- the "why" being mainly the Sacraments. I have long desired to spell out my reasons in detail for my confused family and friends, and I am better able to do that in writing better than in conversation. In the meantime, Rebellious Pastor's Wife discusses with a Baptist how baptism now saves you also (1 Peter 3:21)
The title of her post calls to mind one of the turning points for my husband and I in our conversion. The footnote to 1 Peter 3:21 in the NIV Study Bible begins, "In reality..." and goes on to explain how "baptism now saves you" doesn't really mean that baptism saves you. How can you begin a study bible footnote with "in reality"? It belies a fundamental lack of faith in the words of Scripture, as if the Apostle Peter were a bit mistaken about reality and needs the commentator to help him out. That was when the scales began to fall away from our eyes. As evangelical protestants, we claimed to possess the highest view of Scripture, taking the words on the page at face value. But -- in reality -- we were reading our theological presuppositions into the text.
Presuppositions like: baptism is a human work. Human works cannot save. Therefore, baptism cannot save. So, almost unconsciously, we read "baptism" as "the spiritual reality that baptism symbolizes" -- or even "spiritual baptism".
But St. Peter, far from being out of touch with reality, goes on to clarify: "not as a removal of dirt from the body" (because he is talking about an actual physical washing with real water, he specifies that its effect is not ritual outward cleanliness) "but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience" (the remission of sin and guilt). How can water do such great things? "...through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him."