Baptism Doth Now Save Us
By J. A. Connoll (Belfast)
Reading I Peter 3:18-22.
1 appeal for honesty of heart from every reader of this article, and I pray that neither pride nor prejudice will close your heart to truth.
If what I say has not the warrant of Holy Scripture, reject it. If it is confirmed, and founded upon the Word of God, you dare not reject it, for thereby you reject the God of the Bible.
Let us look at our text-v. 20 and 21 “Eight souls who were saved by water–the like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us.” By Divine inspiration the apostle Peter links the mighty deluge of Noah’s world, with the New Testament practice of baptism in Jesus’ name. The “Pulpit Commentary” paraphrases Peter’s words thus, “The water which is saving you is the anti-type of the waters of the flood.” In other words-the waters of the flood and the waters of baptism correspond as type and anti-type.
It is not uncommon for the Divine author of Holy Scripture to illustrate New Testament truth from the types and shadows of the Old Testament, so, in our text, the Salvation of Noah and his family is the fore-type of what God accomplished in the baptism of believers. I believe that great and thrilling truths will unfold, as we examine believer’s baptism against the Salvation of Noah by the flood waters.
WATERS OF SEPARATION
These waters separated the inhabitants of the ark from sin. In Genesis 6:12-13 we read, “And God looked upon the earth and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth: and God said unto Noah, “Behold I will destroy them with the earth.”
The deluge was God’s judgement on Sin. By the waters He covered sin and separated His believing children from it.
What a picture of baptism. Rom. 6:3-6, “Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? … Knowing this that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Separation from sin is the plan of God in baptism-The baptistery can be to you the sea of God’s forgetfulness. Here your sins can be put out of your sight, and out of God’s sight for ever.
Many a believer with a persistent sin problem has found the answer in baptism: through faith in Christ he has found a watery grave for his secret sins and bondage. You can be separated from your sins, like as Ananias said to Paul (Acts 22:16), “And now why ‘tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the Name of the Lord.” Friend-you would like to be a Christian, but your problem is that you cannot give up your sin. Let me tell you, to struggle is vain. God’s way is that you bury your sins in the waters of baptism, and rise to walk in newness of life; through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Again these flood waters separated the obedient from the disobedient, 1 Peter 3:20–“which sometime were disobedient when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” In Noah’s generation, an ark of salvation was provided, but because of disobedience only eight people availed themselves of the way of escape. Today Jesus Christ is the Ark of Salvation. In Mark 16:16, He said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Baptism is the test of obedience. Gal. 3:27–“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Have you been. baptized in Jesus’ Name? He asks, “Why call Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?” The disobedient will refuse to accept the revealed will of God-those who sincerely love the Lord Jesus will gladly submit themselves to the ordinance of baptism.
Baptism in Jesus’ Name not only separates us from sin but sinners too. In Baptism, the Bible Way, we proclaim to all that we are on the Lord’s side, and have renounced all the old associations to take our place with the despised family of God.
WATERS OF SANCTIFICATION
The flood waters cleansed the earth from the wickedness and uncleanness that had brought on it the judgement of God, but notice, the flood was not only a baptism of death unto sin-it was also a new birth unto righteousness. It brought to the earth a new beginning, new possibilities, and new hopes. The old sinful society, with all its works, perished in the flood. Noah and his family stepped from the ark into a new experience, free from the sins of a fallen generation, the flood waters had buried them-by the power of God the earth was renewed-all things were now fresh and clean.
What saith the Scriptures about Christian baptism-Rom. 6:4–“Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that, like us Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also shall walk in newness of life.” 2 Cor. 5:17–“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This is why in Titus 3:5, Paul calls baptism-“The washing of Regeneration.” Baptism is to the believer, what Jordan was to the Israelite’s; it stands between the new convert and the promised land. If you feel deficient in spiritual experience, try baptism in Jesus’ Name.
WATERS OF SALVATION
The flood waters were to those eight souls the waters of Salvation-the very thing that brought death and destruction to others, was the means of their salvation–the like figure by which baptism cloth now save
us.” Now please follow me carefully here-Man’s last and greatest enemy is death-Death is the curse of sin. Rom. 5:12, “wherefore as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Now the very thing that will destroy all men that is “cleath”-is the very thing that God uses to save His own-even the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:6–“Christ died for the ungodly.” Heb. 2:9, “That He (Jesus) by the Grace of God should taste death for every man.” The flood waters that drowned the old creation, could not submerge Noah’s ark–the waters of death that hold captive Adam and his posterity, could not keep our ark-the Lord Jesus-“If He was delivered for our offences, He was raised again for our justification.”
Baptism is often likened to the believer’s death to self and new life in Christ. It is all that, and more-it is the figure of Christ’s death and resurrection. Rom. 6:3, “So many as were baptized unto Jesus Christ were baptized into His death.” When you and I were baptized in Jesus’ Name we were thereby admitted into the Ark of God. Jesus said, “He that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved.” God guarantees that all who believe on Jesus, and obey the gospel, though they may die, yet shall they live.
God gave Noah a sign and covenant, that He would never again allow flood waters to destroy him or his posterity–Gen. 9:13-15:–“I do set my bow in the cloud and it shall be a token of a covenant between Me and the earth and I will remember My Covenant which is between Me and you, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
God has also given a sign and token of His Covenant to all who take refuge in Jesus Christ-the Ark of the New Covenant-Eph.– 1:13, “In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession”-Glory to God!
Every time I see a rainbow I am reminded of God’s Covenant with Noah, and every time I hear someone speak with other tongues I think of God’s New Covenant with His believing children, and I know “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in YOU.”
Finally, lest you jump to wrong conclusions, Baptism as an act by itself cannot save anyone-it must be preceded by repentance. It is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh-it is the answer of a good conscience toward God. Baptism is only a bath, unless it is entered into reverently, with the full realization that it is one link in a chain of acts of obedience that puts us into Him; associates us with Him who is able to save–but your obedience to the Gospel of Acts 2:38, is not complete without it, and remember the Holy Ghost is given to them that obey Him.
There is no magical power in the Waters of baptism. It is the Person with whom baptism associates us that really matters. “The like figure by which baptism cloth now save us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Water only saved Noah because of the Ark; without it he and his family would have perished. Baptism only saves us because of our Ark-the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood atones for our sins. That is why we baptize the Bible Way-in the Name of Jesus Christ. It is the power that resides in that Name which makes the difference.
Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM PENTECOSTAL TRUTH MAGAZINE, MARCH/APRIL, 1996. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.