by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Peter 3:18-22
I. In our reading, Peter draws on the account of Noah’s salvation to illustrate how the Christian is saved.
A. Many people object to the straight forward reading of I Peter 3:21 because it stands contrary to what they have accepted.
1. To many people, baptism is simply a ritual without much meaning
2. Oh, they will agree that it represents thing, but that is as far as it goes. It has no meaning to each one of them as individuals.
3. Thus it becomes, in their eyes, an optional act
4. It has no purpose. It causes no change.
B. But let’s take Peter’s comparison and see the parallels between the saving of Noah and the saving of a Christian
II. What are we being saved from?
A. It seems straight forward. It ought to be obvious, but at the foundation of our controversies, people really don’t understand salvation.
B. Noah’s world was given over entirely to sin - Genesis 6:4-7
1. It wasn’t some sinning or most sinning.
2. The whole world was consumed with it, beyond eight people.
C. While our world has not reached the point of wickedness found in Noah’s day, still the fact remains that sin is widespread - Romans 3:9-18
D. From what do we need rescuing? From sin!
III. How was salvation accomplished?
A. Noah was saved by grace - Genesis 6:8
1. Grace means receiving favor or mercy, gaining a gift that was not earned or owed.
2. God could have justly wiped away the entire world, including Noah and his family. But Noah received a gift from God that wasn’t earned on Noah’s part.
3. We too are saved by grace - Ephesians 2:1-7
B. Noah was saved by faith - Hebrews 11:7
1. God’s gift would have been wasted on Noah, if Noah didn’t believe God’s warning.
2. God didn’t force Noah to be saved. He offered Noah a way to be saved, but that required Noah to believe God.
3. The fact that Noah believed God did not lessen the gift that God offered him.
4. We cannot be saved without belief - Hebrews 11:6
5. We are saved by grace through the means of faith - Ephesians 2:8
C. Noah was saved by works - Hebrews 11:7
1. All the faith in the world would not have saved Noah if his faith did not spur him to do as God directed.
2. The building of the ark led to his salvation.
3. Noah was obedient to God, not partially but completely - Genesis 6:22
4. Our salvation also requires action on our part - Matthew 7:21
5. Jesus saves those who obey - Hebrews 5:8-9
6. Faith cannot be separated from action - James 2:14-26
D. Noah was saved by water - I Peter 3:20
1. At first this seems strange. It was the water that destroyed the world.
2. But if we think in this way, we lost track of the goal. Noah was being saved from a world of sin and the water was the means God used to destroy sin.
3. Peter says that is the same way we are saved - I Peter 3:21
a. Peter makes sure we understand. It is not a physical outward cleansing that brings salvation.
b. It is the obedient heart responding to the call of God.
4. The water isn’t the salvation, but the means God used to bring about salvation - Romans 6:3-7
a. Notice that though baptism Paul says that sin dies in a man, leaving him a new creature.
b. Is it the water that does it? No, it is the medium through which God chooses to do His will.
5. Just as water washed away the evil from the world, leaving a new world for Noah and his family, baptism washes away our sins - Acts 22:16
6. It is the putting off of sin done by God through our faith in the working of God when we obey God - Colossians 2:11-13
IV. How are we saved?
A. In much the same way Noah was saved.
B. Noah wasn’t warned of the impending doom and then created his own method to save his family.
1. He was given the method by God.
2. He responded in faith doing as God directed
3. And as a consequence, he and his family was saved.
C. We are warned of impending doom as well - II Peter 3:9-14
1. We were given by God – not man – the means by which we can be saved
2. Our only choice, if we want to be saved, is to do as God directed completely
3. Only in complete obedience to God can we be saved - Ephesians 2:10
V. How will you be saved?
A. Listening to men who claim partial obedience is good enough?
B. Or by doing all that God commanded as Noah did?