- Published: 12 December 2010
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Note the beautiful typology in 1 Peter 3:18-22:
1. The Ark. It is clearly implied that the Ark represents relationship in Christ. Noah and seven other persons were IN the Ark, high and dry, so to speak, thru out the entire catastrophe. They were saved thru the flood waters of judgment in the baptism of the Ark. These verses do not teach baptismal regeneration, but rather ceremonial water baptism. Ceremonial baptism was the shadow, real baptism, the substance, is relationship in Christ. In verse 21 the putting away of the filth of the flesh refers to ceremonial water baptism which Peter contrasts with real baptism, the answer of a good conscience toward God. See also Romans 6.
2. The Flood Waters. As touched upon above, these represent judgment. The flood was necessary to destroy a humanity corrupted by intermarriage with fallen angelic beings, the spirits in prison mentioned in verses 19 and 20. So it can not refer to human souls in some place of conscious torment like purgatory or hell, as some teach. For further study see Appendices 23 thru 25 of the Companion Bible.
The Flood Waters can be applied typically to the judgment which took place at Calvary. Christ at Calvary was baptized into the wrath of God. All the waves and billows of that wrath passed over Him. Psalms 42:7 and Jonah 2:3. The believer does not fear the wrath of God which is to come. He is in Christ, the Ark.
He is saved by the death baptism and resurrection of Christ.
3. The Eight Souls. This was the number of the persons in the Ark, and it is significant. Such numbers as 6, the number of man, and 7, the number of perfection, are examples known to most Bible students. The number 8 is the number of resurrection, the resurrection of Christ in which all believers will share. It is the hope of the believer, and it will make fully known and manifest the truth of God as it is in Christ.
The unbelieving naturally cling to the ceremonial baptism. It ministers to the flesh. But no one shall experience resurrection and see God without the experience of the real baptism in this life.
Which baptism is for you?
The One Baptism that we as believers in this administration of the Mystery have is our spiritual identification with our Lord Christ Jesus. We are complete in Him. (Colossians 2:10) The word complete in the Greek means fulfill or filled to the full. We have the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as ours, as well as being raised with Him and seated with Him in the far above heavens (Ephesians 2: 6), a place where no sin or sinner has ever been or will be. We also find our citizenship papers are from this same place. (Philippians 3: 20) Furthermore, since we have been raised with Him by the operation of God (Colossians 2:12), death and sin need no longer have dominion over us. We are to walk worthy of our calling, putting on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). We have obtained all of this by faith, and not of ourselves.
Paul writes and warns the Colossians in 2:2, that it is only through the "...acknowledgment of the Mystery of God and of the Father, and of Christ, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ", that they could find the wherewithal to walk in this world--not through the traditions, philosophies or the vain deceits of man. Behind all of these entrapments is religion, the mother of which is Babylon. No matter what form religion may take, idolatry is the foundation of its worship. The flesh is easily deceived into believing that the observation of rituals, holy days, doctrines, abstinences, and commandments of men will gain for the flesh, and hence the person a closer walk with God. This was the point of the attack being experienced by the believers at Colossae from the Gnostics and Judaizers.
Paul emphasizes to the believers that their completeness in Christ alone is sufficient. Religion would entrap the believer into holding onto something other than the Headship of Christ, which in this Dispensation of the Mystery provides our total life source.
Today the members of the Church of the One Body are also, as were the Colossians, subject to these attacks by spiritual wickedness. Our only Source for wisdom, knowledge, and power come from Christ who is our Life (Colossians 3:4), not from anything (including religion) of, or in the world. We can know Him by His Word. We can receive further wisdom and revelation about Him in His Word, and discover how completely we are identified with Him, and how by the One Baptism His finished perfect work was graciously implanted in us. Search the scriptures and see this identification for yourself.
The history books reveal that the question of baptism has been the cause of much bitterness, strife, and division. And the basis for these disputes has risen out of the failure to discern the dispensational differences that distinguish the ministries of the N.T. These can be divided up into three periods. Beginning with John Baptist it was water only with the promise of spirit baptism. Secondly, during the Acts period, it was both water and Spirit. The third period, the period that we live in today, followed Acts 28:28. The Pentecostal dispensation which began at Acts 2 came to an end because of Israel's unbelief. The only baptism that God honors for today is Spirit baptism.
Not long ago we heard a preacher give a commentary on Ephesians 4:4-6 where we find the seven unities to be kept by the Church. He had no problem giving a spiritual content to six of them, but the "one baptism" proved a problem, needless to say. One baptism means one, not two. What is it, water or spirit? It can't be both! The preacher saw the problem. He "solved" it by consulting at least 15 commentaries. All of them said it was water baptism! Consequently, each of us are faced with the responsibility of this decision: what will we believe, the Word of God or the commentaries?
The unities of Ephesians 4:4-6 are not to be made, but to be kept! They contain the only formula available to prevent divisions. If the churches kept these unities they would not be so powerless, and would not be the object of so much scorn and derision.
In I Corinthians 1:17, the Apostle Paul seems to have made a positive statement, For Christ sent me not to baptize, But to preach the gospel." Yet Paul had listed the names of three individuals he had already baptized. He also included the household of one of these he had baptized, so we don't know exactly how many Paul had baptized.
In the account of Paul, Silas, and Timothy preaching in the house of Justus in Corinth, (Acts 18:7, 8) we are told that many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized. Undoubtedly it was at that time that Paul had baptized those he named in the first Corinthian letter.
However, we are left with the question, "If Christ had sent Paul not to baptize, why had he baptized any of them?" In order to answer this question, and resolve the problem created, we must get a better understanding of the place of baptism. When John the Baptist began his ministry to Israel, he preached baptism for the repentance of sins.
Peter at Pentecost followed the same preaching as had John the Baptist, when Peter answered those who asked him, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37) Peter ' s reply was, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38) Notice that Peter said that remission of sins was through Jesus Christ and the result of their baptism unto Him. Peter did not tell them, "Christ died for our sins" as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15:3.
If we will look at the context of the Scripture quoted first, 1 Corinthians 1:17, we see that Paul contrasts baptism with the preaching of the cross. This then is the answer to Paul's statement, 'Christ sent me not to baptize...lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. " (made void)
Paul was sent to preach the cross-the death of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, not the baptism as John the Baptist and Peter had preached. Paul is stating, "Christ sent me not to baptize for the remission of sins, but to preach the cross for the remission of sins. " Paul had been given a further understanding of the place of baptism in the purpose of God.
Baptism was to be for the identification of the believer with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:3,4) Therefore, Paul was not hypocritical in saying one thing and seemingly doing another. By baptism he was identifying those believers with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.