Ephesians 4:3-6; One baptism, part 10. Water baptism as a public testimony (1Pe 3:21-22).
length: 67:18 - taught on May, 27 2021
Thursday May 27, 2021
1PE 3:21-22 - water baptism as a type or picture of true salvation by faith.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 And corresponding to that [Greek construction shows “that” to refer to “the water”], baptism now saves you — not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience — through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
“that” (vs. 21) is neuter and refers to the neuter noun “water” (vs. 20). “Corresponding (Greek: antitupon - in the same manner) to that baptism now saves you.”
The other nouns in vs. 20, “ark” and “persons,” are feminine. By the laws of Greek grammar, “corresponding to that” has to refer to the water of the flood, and so the baptism Peter speaks of is water baptism. “Saves you” would not refer to eternal salvation, but deliverance from something else. Still, the deliverance Peter speaks of is related to our salvation. Much like we saw in Jam 2, that the saving James spoke of was the saving of the life despite the persecution they faced, so Peter is encouraging his readers in the same way. He does not want them to hide their faith in the face of persecution, but rather to boldly proclaim it. It is the same truth that Jesus taught, MAT 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Peter is referring to water baptism, which is made clear by his reference to Noah. The ark saved Noah and his family from the water, “and corresponding to that (Greek: antitupon = after a true likeness), baptism now saves you.”
Peter is saying that baptism has as a correspondence to the deliverance of Noah and his family. Judgment was coming and the way of escape was the ark.
Judgment was to begin with the house of God (1PE 4:17). Also, Peter may have in mind that in 70 A.D., Galilee, Samaria, and Judah were going to be overrun by the Romans.
As in water baptism, the ark did not save the souls of those on board, but their lives. As we have seen, no ritual will save or cleanse anyone. So then, it is not the washing of the flesh that is the antitype, but the appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter refers to baptism here as symbolic, like the ark was a symbol of Christ and the same water that killed everyone was the same water that delivered those who were in the ark. Remember, everyone in the early church was baptized in water and to all it represented their salvation. Peter uses baptism as an example because he referred to Noah’s salvation from the flood. Still his use of baptism is symbolic of the salvation that came to them all through faith in Christ.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
Baptism was public. Your whole community came to know you were a Christian, which made you open to persecution. “A good conscience” - you did not hide your faith from the world.
And baptism was public. We can imagine a Jewish convert who might want to skip the baptism ritual so that he might avoid the persecution that would come from his family and neighbors. We know that there were some in the Sanhedrin who believed in Christ but who would not openly admit it, knowing that they would be excommunicated from their position and their society.
For people afraid to get baptized, for whatever reason, doing so would be seen as an appeal for a good conscience through the resurrection of Christ, of which baptism was a symbol. This fits what Peter finishes the sentence with: Christ’s position of authority.
who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
If one was afraid to get baptized because of persecution, why should they fear anyone when Christ is seated at the right hand of God, above all powers?
That he is not teaching baptismal regeneration (that water baptism saves a man) is clear in his statement, “not the removal of dirt from the flesh (actual dirt or sin), but an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The appeal for a good conscience is the open manifestation of their faith to the world, of which water baptism was a type, in the face of persecution.
Knowing this, the context of the passage makes sense.
And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you [publicly manifesting your faith without fear], yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God [the example of Christ manifesting His faith], having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 And corresponding to that [referring to “water”], baptism [open manifestation of faith] now saves you — not the removal of dirt [filth: dirt or sin] from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience — through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
Returning to John’s baptism:
Repentance, confession, and forgiveness of sins in the water would not be different than what was viewed in the OT washings.
John’s uniqueness is that he did it to others and warned of the coming kingdom of heaven that they were to be prepared for.
But then there is a distinction when Jesus makes the scene.
"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 "And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
There is therefore a distinction between the baptism of John and that of the Lord which He would perform on His church. Metanoia (repentance) is appropriated by pistis (faith).
When a person believes in Christ as his Savior, he has repented, which means to change the mind or turn around. John told Israel to repent of their sins, which they knew to be against the law. The pagan Gentile world were never under the law, so their repentance was also from sin, but from paganism. A secularist or atheist would need to repent from his false ideas.
But all who would come to faith in Christ would have had revealed to them by the Holy Spirit that they are sinners hopelessly on the path to judgment and that only Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Repentance is implied in the faith in the gospel.
Paul’s speech at the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, Act 13:
"From the offspring of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, 24 after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 "And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'
"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
John’s baptism was not the same as being baptized in the name of the Lord in the church.
First, before we meet the twelve disciples who were only acquainted with the baptism of John and who did not know that the Holy Spirit was given to the church, Luke records the same issue in the great teacher Apollos just prior.
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John [he does not know of the baptism of the Holy Spirit]; 26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he helped greatly those who had believed through grace; 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
Apollos didn’t teach anything wrong, he just didn’t have the whole story of the blessings given to the church. Just as Jesus, after His resurrection, revealed Himself and His mission as being clearly presented in the OT scriptures, so Apollos did the same. And in the manner of John the Baptist, he taught repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. It would be hard to imagine that Apollos did not know about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, though some are of the opinion that he did not. Still, we can say fairly confidently, though we’re not given details on what particular truths Apollos lacked, that he was not acquainted with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and perhaps he also didn’t know of the beginning of the fulfillment of the New Covenant in the church - that by faith in Christ all men are made clean, redeemed (forgiven of all sin), entered into union with Christ by the baptism of the Spirit, made the temple of God in whom Christ and the Holy Spirit dwell, made new creatures born of God with divine nature, etc. Priscilla and Aquila spoke to him privately and explained the fulfillment of all these things.
Then, immediately in the history from Luke, he ties the experience of Apollos with twelve other disciples whom Paul runs into in the same city, Ephesus. These also have not heard of the Holy Spirit being given to the church. It is possible, though not stated, that these men might have been students of Apollos or heard him speak in the synagogue.
And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, 2 and he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." 3 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." 4 And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 And there were in all about twelve men.