1 Peter 3:20-21
Last week, I closed the article stating I would illustrate baptism in water’s part in salvation. I will start here with Peter’s own illustration, “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 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:”. The text states that 8 souls were saved by water “in like figure”. Genesis 6-9 is the narrative referred to with Noah and the flood. But, I thought it was the water that destroyed those not on the ark. The truth is the water was the same water. But did the water save separate and apart from the ark? And would the ark have saved if God had not told Noah how to build it and what the materials were to be? Did faith of Noah in God not have any bearing on those 8 souls? But their baptism was water according to the text! I believe we all know it wasn’t just water. It was all the above.
Let me illustrate another way. A mother has a daughter that will have a birthday, so the mother bakes a birthday cake. What makes it a birthday cake? (salvation). Was it the flour? egg? Water? flavor? The mixer perhaps? The bowl? The pan? The oven? Perhaps mother’s loving hands? What ONE thing made the cake? All were involved was it not? But these were not all. These simply make a cake! The daughter’s birthday made it a birthday cake.
In like figure, Baptism is just the point where salvation is culminated as “should be saved”, Acts 2:38. But that salvation included many other ingredients to complete. It included “Faith” which without it, a person was condemned Mark 16:16, and “Repentence” Luke 13:3,5, and “Confession” Acts 8:37 and Romans 10:9-10, then “Baptism for the remission of sins”, Acts 2:38, and “Faithfullness- to live overcoming sin by confession of that sin”, 1 John 1:9. To face God in judgment having done all of these, I am without sin and prepared to give account of my life in the day of judgment. But not any ONE of these grants salvation alone. Ie. Repentence is just that, a change in my life, but I’m still with all my sin, guilty before God. Faith is just that, knowing what God wants me to be and that I am a failure in doing so. There is no change in my life of sinning. I hope you seen the picture.
It takes my doing all that God commands I do to be faithful to Him and please Him. Then no matter how bad my life was, it is history and removed from my record through Christ’s blood, that by faith I apply in my baptism of water. I rise up to walk a newness of life. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
I hope this clarifies that H20 does not save, but faith in water baptism, applying the blood of Christ, and guidance of the Spirit’s word, grants salvation. My spirit is regenerated being cleansed of my sin, and I now have a relationship with God, being without sin. Water alone is just a bath of the flesh friends.