Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
"Peter" states in his epistle that baptism is a "like figure" that it does not put away the filth (sins) of the flesh but evidence of a good conscience toward God, representative of Christ's resurrection. If you remember, all that were immersed in the flood water died. (Genesis 7:21) except for 8 souls who were in the ark, a type of Christ. 1 Peter 3:20 "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. 1 Peter 3:21 "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:
Someone says, "baptism saves," and attributes 1 Peter 3:21 as definitive proof of that belief. It's very unfortunate that it reads the way it does. Baptism plays a role in our salvation experience, but not in the procurement of it. Baptism plays no part in being freed, rescued, regenerated, healed, transformed, cleansed, forgiven, washed, renewed, saved, regardless of the word or phrase we prefer to use to elocute on baptism, no term can make baptism responsible for what it cannot do. 1 Peter 3:18-21 states in detail how we're to understand baptism. This statement, "baptism now saves you," is the cause of the misunderstanding. This simple phrase, 'baptism is symbolic of your salvation," would have helped us avoid this misconstruction. That's what I believe Peter attempts to tell us in these four verses. He uses the event of Noah, his family, and the ark to convey his thoughts on baptism and the likeness of the two. Parenthetically, I don't read the scriptures with the thought that the writer is teaching doctrine, as much as I think that he's trying to get me to understand how the whole thing works. I think the "New Testament" writers use "Old Testament" events and stories, actual events, to help us understand the spiritual nature of our redemption. There is nothing that we can do, whether it was done in times ago or something we can plan for the future, that will add to what God has done for us. Getting dunked in water adds nothing to what Jesus did for us. Peter writes, "Christ died for sins once for all... He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." During that time, He went and preached to the spirits now in prison, (those who had died). Why? To "save a few" is the assertion. The Noah incident was a "corresponding'" event; "a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water." He's telling us of the symbolism of baptism; it doesn't symbolize the ark, the ark symbolizes Jesus. So what does the water symbolize, if we're looking at this as symbolism? He says, "corresponding to that (the flood water), baptism now saves you." Baptism symbolizes a "middle passage" type event. The water was the threat, not the lifeboat. Baptism is not a threat; like the flood water, it's a means to a new life. That's the correspondence it has to the flood. The prison to which Jesus went and preached to the souls being held there, is theologically identical to what goes on in the here and now. Many of us are prisoners of sin (Rom 6:16) which leads to death, if we obey it. Baptism alone won't wash us clean from sin. The death of Christ alone won't save us from our conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit. There must be a resurrection. Baptism illustrates the death, burial, and ressurection of the Christ Jesus. Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, (allegory) so that as Christ was raised from dead (reality) through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life (reality) (Romans 6:4). Eleven months in the ark represents death. Exiting the ark stands for newness of life. The event itself is a picture of baptism. That's what I believe Peter was trying to show us. Again, it is the Ark that saves us, not the water.
St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38.) By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.