William Andrew Dillard
BAPTISM AND THE NOAHIC FLOOD
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 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:” I Peter 3:18-21
From earliest Sunday School Days, most Christians are enthralled with the story of Noah and the Flood. But, its implications extend to the church age with underscored import to modern day saints. Some attempt to deny the denotations and connotations of the verses of scripture at hand; others do their best to explain them away as meaningless. Still others make them to mean much more than they are intended to mean. So what might one rightly infer from them? Noah was a righteous man. Accordingly, he and his family found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was blessed to build the Ark., and he is listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. When the sloosh ways of heaven were opened, the fountains of the deep surfaced, and rains came for forty days and nights, water bore up the Ark to the saving of their lives. However, the same water that bore up the Ark to the saving of their lives also caused the death of all others who drew the breath of life.
Now consider the parallel. Let it be understood that there is only ONE THING in the entire universe that is purgatory of sin: the blood of the Son of God. Yet, many of the people who drown in the flood were spiritually saved, but disobedient people. So it is the obedience of life that is under consideration in the figure. It is through obedience that a good consciousness toward God is created. Baptism is the first step of obedience for every saved person. Additionally, it is in that good consciousness toward God that His will is advanced in and through men. The obedience in water baptism brings a good conscience toward God, but the same water refused leaves one devoid of that good conscience. The difference is symbolized as gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble at the fiery Judgment Seat of Christ as shown in I Corinthians 3:9-15. So, it may be spoken of as the saving of one’s life to the glory of God, and to one’s personal reward. Therein is the figure spoken of in the verses under consideration.
Remember this the next time you hear some immature Baptist say, “Baptism is not important.” It is important, so much so that it is likened unto the difference between those in the Ark and those outside it.