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Noah and Baptism -tmp(2 Peter 3:20,21)

If you remember a commenter stated that water baptism is
necessary for salvation. It seems that by salvation he meant both justification
and regeneration in that he believed water baptism was (a) necessary for the
forgiveness of sins and (b) that you are raised to life by means of water baptism.
We’ve worked our way through several baptismal accounts and have been eroding
at his foundation (simultaneously addressing some other baptismal concerns and
God-willing reflecting a Bible based study). At this point though my commenter
brought up the (in)famous 1 Peter text as undeniable proof of baptism that
saves us.

[the spirits now in prison] who once were disobedient, when
the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction
of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through
the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt
from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, ({{1 Pet 3:20-21}})

So how do we reconcile Peter’s words with the volumes of
Scripture reflecting the salvation is of God by grace and through faith? Do the
technical aspects of the passage support Rory’s argument?

Peter aligns our thinking by showing us Noah and his ark so
it would probably be best to look at the historical event of the flood and the
New Testament usage of the narrative.

Genesis 6 gives us a setting of the sons of God seeing the
daughters of men and taking wives from among them. God declares that there is
an irreconcilable problem between Himself and Man—man is flesh. Another key
feature of this time was the wickedness of man which was very great. {{Genesis
6:5}} shows us how depraved humanity had become that every intent of man’s heart
was only continual evil. This was willful, blatant, focused thinking on evil.
God felt sorry for making man on earth and was grieved. The decision He made
wasn’t a light one as He decided to wipe the earth but Noah found favor in the His
eyes. While the wickedness of man in his thoughts and actions was focused on
corruption and violence ({{Gen 6:11, 12}}) God gave Noah precise details on what
was to come and the way out. Here’s the clincher: Noah did according to all
that God had commanded him ({{Gen 6:22}}). God told Noah to get into the ark with
his close family and Noah still obeyed right up to judgment day ({{Gen 7:5}}).
Animals came by twos into the ark and finally, then the rain and when the
waters prevailed on the earth for one hundred and fifty days (after forty days
and nights of rain), God remembered them and caused a wind to pass over the
earth and the water subsided ({{Gen 8:1}})

Jesus used an aspect of this story to direct people’s think
({{Luke 17:26, 27}}). The people were drinking and merry, said Jesus, being given
in marriage right up until the day the flood came and destroyed them all. The
day of the Son of Man will occur in the same way…catching people off-guard.
There may be rumors of it happening and lots of finger pointing ({{Lk 17:23}}) but
it will come by complete surprise.

{{Heb 11:7"" shows us a very different angle on the narrative.
The writer directs our attention to Noah’s faith and eyes. He ignores the
details of the story and doesn’t even look at the people all around while
telling us of Noah who didn’t see what God had promised would come, but went on
by faith to do what God told him to do. In reverently doing this he saved his
whole household.

Peter {{(2 Pet 2}}) directs our attention to something else when
he looks at the historical flood. He doesn’t bother looking at Noah’s faith or
the mindset of the people…but at the actual wrath of God in the event. His
Noahic flood beat is already part of an established cadence in the text. False
teachers will arise bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will
follow their sensuality and exploit believers with their lies: their wrath and
destruction is coming and is not idle. Now there’s the starting beat and here
comes the rhythm: God didn’t spare the angels but cast them into pits of
darkness reserved for judgment; God didn’t spare the ancient world but brought
a flood upon the ungodly; God didn’t spare Sodom
and Gomorrah
but reduced them to ashes as an example. But God rescued Lot
proving that God knows how to rescue the godly while keeping the unrighteous
under wrath.

Before I go any further would it be fair to squeeze these
texts and make them do more than what they’re doing? For instance, take the
Luke passage to show that no one will be saved from judgment but that the wrath
of God will fall on everyone alike unless people build boats. Or maybe take the
Hebrews passage to make it say that the faith of Dad is enough to save his
whole household? How about I take the {{2 Peter}} passage to show that
real salvation only happens during wrath? None of those things make contextual
sense.

Peter argues the point that if a person proves zealous for
what is good it doesn’t matter who is there to harm them. Because a person
suffering for the sake of righteousness is blessed and shouldn’t fear the
intimidation and troubling that comes as a result of that. The person is to set
Christ as Lord in their heart, being ready to defend and give an account of the
hope within with gentleness and reverence. This is to be done with a good
conscience so that slanderers would be put to shame. For it is better that a
person suffers (beneath God’s will) for doing good ({{1 Pet 3:13-17}}). 

Now Peter illustrates this point in the following verses ({{1
Pet 3:18-21}}). Particularly with the Noahic flood and how eight people were
brought safely through the water of the rainfall and the flood. They were not
injured but were brought safely through the potential of their death. But first
Peter draws our attention to the long wait during the construction of the ark…a
long period of continued work by the will of God culminating and going through
the destruction by water. These folk were safe, their good openly expressed
before everyone and even after the fact when we look back and see them as the
only survivors.

In that same manner baptism saves us—not the physical
removal of dirt from the flesh which is found in the dipping of a human body in
water, but the public pledge or appeal to God by a good conscience through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ. Check this out, a 1st Century Jew believes
and is saved, but now is publicly baptized with a good conscience making a
pledge that “I stand with Jesus, the resurrected Messiah who is at the very
right hand of the Eternal God and in celestial majesty.”  The 1st Century Jew is effectively
putting up a billboard that says “persecute me” but he doesn’t care….for if it
is the will of God it is better to suffer for doing good then to get by while
doing wrong.

-r-

The Full Series
1. Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
2. One Baptism Versus the Many?
3. Baptism and Big Problems
4. Baptismal Regeneration (Acts 2:28)
5. Deluge of Baptism Questions (Acts 1-22)
6. Baptism and Romans (Rom 6:1-11)
7. Noah and Baptism (2 Peter 3:20,21)
8. Paul On Baptism (1 Cor 1:14-18)

9. The Error of Infant Baptism


10. Remember Your Baptism (Rom 6:1-11)

Related

Russ On Baptism

Baptism of Linkage
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