From 1st Peter

I struggle with maintaining my daily bible reading and prayer times. I am even in an accountability group while deals mostly with this, and it is still a struggle. But you know, I never go away after diving into God’s Word and saying, “I wish I could have that hour back.” I only feel lifted up, fulfilled and empowered. Yet, just like the children of Israel, I forget it quickly and struggle to find motivation.

This morning I was reading 1st Peter. I was also going along with the notes in my MacArthur Study Bible, and it was very helpful; but the thing that stuck with me most wasn’t from the notes, but from the text itself. I want to quote it, and then quote the notes. The imagery of what Peter says here is so powerful.

1 Peter 3:18-22

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who fomerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”

Now there are lots of interesting things in there, but there is a certian point being made through imagery that is so powerful.

3:21 an antitype which now saves us. In the NT, an antitype is an earthly expression of a spiritual reality. It indicates a symbol, picture, or pattern of some spiritual truth. Peter is teaching that the fact that 8 people were in an ark and went through the whole judgment, and yet were unharmed, is analogous to the Christian’s experience in salvation by being in Christ, the ark of one’s salvation. baptism… through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter is not at all referring to water baptism here, but rather a figurative immersion into union with Christ as an ark of safety from the judment of God. The resurrection of Christ demonstrates God’s acceptance of Christ’s substitutionary death for the sins of those who believe (Acts 2:30,31; Rom. 1:4). Judgment fell on Christ just as the judgment of the flood waters fell on the ark. The believer who is in Christ is thus in the ark of safety that will sail over the waters of judment into eternal glory (cf. Rom. 6:1-4). not the removal of the filth of the flesh. To be sure he is not misunderstood, Peter clearly says he is not speaking of water baptism. In Noah’s flood, they were kept out of the water while those who went into the water were destroyed. Being in the ark and thus saved from God’s judgment on the world prefigures being in Christ and thus saved from eternal damnation.

Now isn’t that parallel imagery so cool?

[Originally written July 15th, 2008.]

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Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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