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.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy,” Proverbs 28:13.
Every day that we spend hiding our sins is one more day that we spend in misery. King David is a primary example of a person miserable in his sins. We see him cry out to God after he was thoroughly tired of his iniquity in Psalm 51. From David’s life we can understand how far our sinful desires can take us away from God and the sweet fellowship we can have with Him. David was dejected, depressed and unhappy with the sins he had committed with and because of his lust for Bath-sheba.
David is also an example of hope for the rest of us. We, too, can cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness, and He will hear and forgive. As a matter of fact, God wants us to go to Him confessing our sins on a daily basis; in doing so, we continue the fellowship we have with our Heavenly Father (Matt. 6:9-13).
On the contrary, covering our sins and pretending they do not exist will lead to bitterness, malice, lack of blessings and, most of all, hindrance in our daily walk with the Father.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me (Psalm 51:2, 3).
Galatians 1:3, 4
“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” Galatians 1:4.
Jesus gave His life for us! The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus combined is the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion and declared it throughout the Bible. Furthermore, it is the reason we do not have to wait until Heaven to enjoy the blessings of being believers! The beautiful reality of the sacrifice of Jesus is that He gave His life for us so that we can give our lives to Him. It is a win-win situation. (Gal. 2:20)
Salvation is so much more than escaping hell. It is having victory over Satan through Jesus while we live on earth (Rom. 8:38, 39). Satan cannot defeat Jesus. He has tried multiple times and failed; he will never win. But Satan can defeat us if we do not let Jesus fight with us. We are not watching the battle from the sideline; we are soldiers in the Lord’s army. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10, 11). Jesus gave His life so that we can be more than conquerors with Him (Rom. 8:37).
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31).
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man,” Hebrews 2:9.
The idea that Jesus has already paid for the sins of every human being that would ever exist on earth is an amazing concept. Even stubborn, prideful people who reject God’s gift and go to hell, go there with their sins paid for.
God says our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. There is no way we could be a perfect sacrifice. Therefore, God sent His Son, born of a woman, to be that perfect sacrifice. When Jesus went to the cross, He was receiving punishment from the Father and transferring it to the mind of God inside that body. Therefore, God, once for all time, for all people, paid for all our sin. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; . . . For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Heb. 10:10, 12, 14).
Since God paid for all sin, He certainly has the right to dictate the terms by which we can receive that gift. All we have to do is believe that Jesus died for our sins, confess that we are sinners, repent and ask God to forgive and give us His gift. He is standing there with outstretched arms offering free salvation to everybody. It cost man nothing, but it cost God the supreme sacrifice, His only begotten Son.
It is so amazing, how deep His love is for mankind. Are you thankful?