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First Peter
Chapter 3
verses 18-22
King James Version

18) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that
he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by
the Spirit:
19) By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
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.
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:
22) Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and
authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Ross’ Updated Paraphrase

18) Because the 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:
19) by which he also sent and preached to the spirits in prison:
20) who were sometimes disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God
waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which few,
that is, eight souls were saved by water:
21) the like figure even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away
of the filth of the flesh, but he appeal for a good conscience toward God,) by
the resurrection of Jesus the Christ:
22) who has gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God: angels and
authorities and powers being made subject to him.

The suffering of Christians during persecution is an imitation of the
suffering of Jesus – walking in his steps. (Hebrews 7:14-10:18) He suffered
for a reason – for our sins. He suffered not as one who was guilty, but “the
just for the unjust.”

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that
loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not
God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us,
because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might
live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved
us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If
we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
(KJV – 1 John 4:7-12)

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the
ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for
a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love
toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more
then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through
him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death
of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And
not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom
we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,
for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not
imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Ad-am to
Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's
transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the
offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be
dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one
man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that
sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the
free gift is of many offences unto justi-fication. For if by one man's offence
death reigned by one; much more they which receive abun-dance of grace
and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to
condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon
all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many
were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made
righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But
where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned
unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal
life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV – Romans 5:6-21)

He suffered in this life to reconcile us to God. He died and was resurrected
from the grave the third day.

“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of
holiness, by the resurrec-tion from the dead:” (KJV – Romans 1:4)

That same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead is the means by which he
preached to those who were disobedient in the days Noah was building the
ark. God had been patient and longsuffering with these people, but they
were imprisoned by their unbelief and disobedience, and refused to listen.
Out of all the people on the earth – at least thousands, and probably millions
or billions – eight souls were saved. And they were saved by water. Water
destroyed the world. Water destroyed the sin and wickedness which had
filled the world. But, water was their salvation. The same water which
destroyed the world, lifted them up, and the ark they were in, above the
destruction and the wrath of God.

In much the same way baptism saves us. Baptism is not a washing of the
body, it is a washing of the soul, mind and heart by God.

“And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,
calling on the name of the Lord.” (KJV – Acts 22:16)

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,
in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you,
being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he
quickened together with him, having for-given you all trespasses;” (KJV –
Colossians 2:10-13)

Before baptism, the conscience is bothered and unsettled by the knowledge
of sin, and baptism is the means whereby man reaches out to God to relieve
that guilt. Look at this chart (adapted from Garland Robinson). It clearly
points out what baptism does for the alien sinner, or the one who has never
come to Christ.

Person        Act                        Result                Scripture
SINNER        BAPTISM        SALVATION                 MARK 16:16
SINNER        BAPTISM        REMISSION OF SINS    ACTS 2:38
SINNER        BAPTISM        THE NEW LIFE             ROMANS 6:4
SINNER        BAPTISM        SIN DESTROYED         ROMANS 6:6
SINNER        BAPTISM        WASHING                    ACTS 22:16
SINNER        BAPTISM        CALLING                     ACTS 22:16
SINNER        BAPTISM        KINGDOM                    JOHN 3:5
SINNER        BAPTISM        CLEANSING                EPHESIANS 5:26
SINNER        BAPTISM        DEAD TO SIN              ROMANS 6:7-12
SINNER        BAPTISM        FREE FROM SIN          ROMANS 6:18
SINNER        BAPTISM        SALVATION                1 PETER 3:21
SINNER        BAPTISM        FORGIVENESS           COLOSSIANS 2:11-12
SINNER        BAPTISM        CHRIST’S BLOOD       ROMANS 6:3
SINNER        BAPTISM        A CHILD OF GOD        GALATIANS 3:26-27
SINNER        BAPTISM        DEATH OF CHRIST      ROMANS 6:3
SINNER        BAPTISM        NEW CREATURE         ROMANS 5:6
                                                                              2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
SINNER        BAPTISM        GOOD CONSCIENCE  1 PETER 3:21
SINNER        BAPTISM        PUTTING ON CHRIST  GALATIANS 3:26,27
SINNER        BAPTISM        RAISED WITH CHRIST   EPHESIANS 2:6
SINNER        BAPTISM        PUTTING OFF SINS      COLOSSIANS 2:11-12
SINNER        BAPTISM        SANCTIFICATION         EPHESIANS 5:26
SINNER        BAPTISM        BODY OF CHRIST        1 CORINTHIANS 12:13
SINNER        BAPTISM        WEARING NAME OF CHRIST  1 CORINTHIANS 1:13

The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave, the same Spirit which
gives us strength and direction to overcome the persecution or difficulties
that lay before us as Christians, that same Spirit by the power of the
resurrection declared Jesus to be the Son of God, resurrects us from the
grave of our sins to salvation.

Jesus has now gone into heaven.

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up;
and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly
toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white
apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into
heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so
come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (KJV – Acts 1:9-
11)

In heaven, Jesus sits at the right hand of God.

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of
God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in
the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the
determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by
wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having
loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be
holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always
before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my
flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither
wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to
me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that
he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to
him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up
Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of
Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore
being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father
the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see
and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself,
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes
thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God
hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
(KJV – Acts 2:22-36)

He rules as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set
him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality,
and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not
only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things
under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (KJV – Ephesians
1:20-23)

The majority of the religious world has denied the efficacy of baptism. They
have relegated its pur-pose to something other than what the scriptures
speak. They have placed “The Sinner’s Prayer” in the place of baptism.
There is one question I have asked for over the past forty-five years to those
who preach “The Sinner’s Prayer”: “Where in the Bible do you have an
example of anyone ever asking, or commanding, one who is not a Christian
to pray ‘The Sinner’s Prayer’?”

The main objection offered to baptism is that we are saved by grace, not by
works (Ephesians 2:8), and baptism is a work. Baptism is no more a work
than “The Sinner’s Prayer.” Both are no more than appealing to God for a
good conscience: one in words, and the other in obedience to what the
Bible says, in the likeness of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the
Christ

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (KJV -- Romans 6:1-
4).

Baptism’s efficacy is not the result of man’s work, but the work, or operation
of God.

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (KJV –
Colossians 2:12)

Both require the individual to believe (a work of God), and both require the
individual to put forth an effort: one to pray, and one to submit to the
command of God.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works
of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye
believe on him whom he hath sent.” (KJV – John 6:28,29)

“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then
prayed they him to tarry certain days.” (KJV – Acts 10:48)

The difference is whether one will submit to the terms found in the New
Testament, or whether they will attempt to establish their own rules,
regulations and standards.

“Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might
be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not
according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted
themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (KJV – Romans 10:1-3)

One holds out a false hope, and the other is based upon the foundation of
God’s word.

Baptism now saves us. When preceded by faith, repentance and a
confession of faith, baptism saves us. And, when followed by faithfulness,
baptism saves us. Baptism is not the end of faith, but the beginning of a life
of obedience and service.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been
planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness
of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him,
that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve
sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we
believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised
from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in
that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your
mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Nei-ther yield ye your
members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves
unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as
instruments of righteousness un-to God. For sin shall not have dominion
over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall
we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants
ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto
righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye
have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I
speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as
ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto
iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto
holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from
righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now
ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free
from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto ho-liness, and
the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV – Romans 6:1-22)

“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by
wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through
death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away
from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached
to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a
minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is
behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is
the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of
God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery
which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made
manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches
of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the
hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every
man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh
in me mightily.” (KJV – Colossians 1:21-29)