Colossians

part 16


 

Second  danger & answer

5d. Baptised in Christ (5)

Type 2.  The Flood: saved by baptism




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:  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  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. 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:  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 

I Pet.3:18-22

5.d.ii(a) The conscience purged


In I Peter the apostle tells us plainly that the flood, and the saving of Noah and his family, is a figure of the  baptism that saves us. That it does not refer to water baptism is clear from the context: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God. If water baptism was meant then the filth of the body would be indeed washed away. It is the conscience that Peter has in mind here and according to Hebrews it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses the conscience not water. So water baptism is not in the apostle's mind here.


How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Heb. 9:14

5.d.ii(b) The prophets enquired


The flood record is given in Gen.6-8. We shall go through the account  bringing out the application apposite to our theme.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.  And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth

Gen.6:1-13
  


The opening verses to the account tell a woeful tale indeed. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Tracing the first few chapters of Genesis we see that two family lines are clearly set out. The ungodly line from Cain in Ch.4, and the godly line through Seth in Ch.5.

In Seth's line we have men such as Enoch and Methuselah. These two men are significant with regards to the Flood. Enoch was Methuselah's father;  he called his son Methuselah meaning: when he is dead it shall be sent. If one were to trace the ages of the patriarchs as given in Genesis it is noted that Methuselah died in the same year as the Flood. (Not in the Flood itself mark you, just the same year that the Flood occurred). Thus we have a clear prophecy given by Enoch of the coming judgement onto the  world.

We have an important point here. Ever before Jesus came into the world to take away our sin and bear our punishment, God prepared the way carefully. One and very important way in which He prepared the way  were the prophecies concerning the of the coming of Christ.

This was so that when Jesus came and fulfilled these prophecies there would be no doubt as to the authentic nature of His work and ministry. Matthew, for example,  centres  His gospel account around the fulfilment of prophecy in the life and ministry of Jesus. If doubt arises in men's hearts as to the  truth  then there is  no excuse for it is all plainly revealed to us now.

 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.  

I Pet.1:9-12

After His resurrection, as the gospels point out, Jesus taught His disciples that all these things that were accomplished were in direct fulfilment of the OT prophecies


Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?   And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself..................................... And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.   Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:   And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Lk.24:25-47

What a Bible study! Jesus Himself expounds the scriptures concerning Himself and opens the disciples' eyes. Prophecy indeed was an important part of God's preparation for the plan of redemption.

5d.ii.(c) He Himself bore our sins

The wickedness of men's hearts, and the evil thoughts of their imaginations were such that God said He repented of making man! The record of the wickedness is plain to see: every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. This indeed is a sorry picture of the human race. The text also gives us an account of the sons of God coming to marry the daughters of men. Much has been written on this, and whatever the truth, it is included in Holy Writ to underline the wickedness of that age.

Because of this great wickedness God decided that judgement had to come upon the earth. The language of Genesis is unmistakable. The whole earth with all its inhabitants had to be judged. God's method was to be of water, the whole earth would return to its primeval state: completely covered or baptised in water!

The intent? To produce a new earth for humans to live in, a new creation in fact! But first the end of all flesh had to come together with the passing away of the old creation.


 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.  Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. 

 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.  For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.  And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.  And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.  In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.  In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;  They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.  And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.  And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.   And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.  And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.  Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:   All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.  And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.  And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. 


Gen.6:13-7:24



God had a plan to save the human race. He found the one righteous man Noah, who is described a perfect in his generations. To him God gave clear instructions to build an ark that would save him, his family and the animals. This ark would be borne up by the judgement waters and save those inside. The eight souls would indeed be saved by a water baptism! But this is only a type, and it is the spiritual baptism of which this is but an illustration that truly saves us.

Firstly to fulfil His plan of redemption God had to find a perfect man, and the only one that could be found was God Himself manifested in human flesh. Secondly, the ark itself is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was made from  gopher wood. The identification of this wood is uncertain and may never be discovered. But the point is that wood in general is taken as an illustration of Jesus as the Son of man. That is His actual identification with the human race in the incarnation as the God-man. 

The ark was then covered with pitch, this was to waterproof the ark. But note also that during the flood it was this pitch that bore the fierce wrath of the judgement waters. The word for pitch in the Hebrew comes from the same word as atonement/ appeasement or propitiation.  The word is used in Gen.32:20.


And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease (=to make atonement) him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.  

Gen.32:20

When Jacob returned home he was afraid of Esau, so he wanted to appease his anger. This he tried by a gift. This is one of the uses of the word atonement, to appease.

In the flood we have a picture of Christ (the ark) bearing the judgement waters of God and those in Christ saved from the wrath to come. Christ's death appeased the wrath of God, He bore the judgement of sin instead of us. This is amply seen by a variety of NT scriptures, some of which are seen below.

Those inside the ark did not face the judgement waters, they were in the ark. Those who have been baptised into Christ do not have to face the wrath of God, for being in Him we are safe from the judgement of God, for the Saviour bore it all for us instead.

 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.   He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 
Isa.53:3-10


For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  

Rom.3:23-26


 For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. 

II Cor.5:21


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: 

I Pet.3:18

 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 

I Thess.1:10



5.d.ii.(d) the end  of all flesh

The purpose of God was to destroy all flesh, and start again with Noah. The old had to be destroyed completely, no half measures. Nothing of the old was to remain to be brought into the new creation. It all had to die in this mighty baptism of death.

We have already noted that Gen.4 mentions the ungodly line from Adam, and Ch.5 the godly line. It was the ungodly line that was completely wiped out; the godly line being saved through Noah. This illustration is important for us to understand. We have already spoken of it in  a previous study but such is its importance that we shall consider it further.

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 Adam 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 justification.  For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance 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. ........... 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 (=justified) 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.

Rom. 5:12-6:11


In the human race there are only two spiritual lines: Adam or Christ. And as we have seen previously we are either in one or the other but not both. We are either in the body of Christ, to use Paul's terms from I Corinthians, or in the 'body of Adam'. When we were born the first time into this world we were all of Adam's  ungodly line. We had no say in it, it was the way it was.

Christ came into  world to end the reign of sin and death and start a new spiritual line on the earth. This He did by His baptism at Calvary. At the Cross He destroyed the body of sin, the old ungodly line was dealt with, for He identified totally with our condition and was made sin for us, so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Consequently when we are baptised by the Spirit into Christ we are partakers of His death and resurrection life. The old man is co-crucified with Him.  We are freed from the body of sin ( or body of Adam) and placed into the body of Christ.

 The old heredity of Adam is destroyed in us and we now partake of the new heredity in Jesus Christ. We are no longer inherit that  of Adam, namely sin, death and judgement but instead are co-heirs with Christ! The judgement on all flesh has  come and brought the old man to an end for all those baptised into Christ.



5.d.ii.(e)  A new creation


And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;  And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.   And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.   And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen. And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:  And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.  Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;   But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.  And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;  And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.  And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.  And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.  And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. 

Gen.8:1-19

After the waters abated and the waters receded Noah sent out first a raven , then a dove. Eventually Noah had the signal that it was all over and that he, with his family and the animals in the ark, could leave the boat that had saved them from judgement and live once more on the cleansed earth.

Except imagine what Noah and the others saw! It was a different earth to the one that he had seen all those months ago. The old had passed away, and he could have said behold all things are new! There was no going back.

 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (=creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 
 
II Cor.5:17

This is a clear illustration of being baptised into Christ. By being identified in Christ's death and resurrection we enter into a new life, the old life has passed away, there is no going back. We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His dear Son. Just as Noah had been translated from the old earth to the new earth by this great baptism.

Noah was instructed to be fruitful and multiply on the earth. If one were to follow Paul's argument in Romans then we see that this baptism into Christ we are to bring fruit unto God.

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
  
Rom.7:4

This aspect is a big subject in its own right so we will not attempt to look at it in detail. What we find in scripture is that if we abide in the vine, (in Christ), which is just another picture of this truth, then we will bring forth fruit, more fruit and much fruit  as the husbandman prunes the branches Jn.15:1-5.

We read of fruit unto holiness, Rom.6:22; the nine fold fruit of the Spirit Gal.5:22-23; Eph.5:9; the peaceable fruit of righteousness Heb.12:11; the fruit of our lips Heb.13:15.

The point being that the result of our immersion into Christ will produce fruit, it is inevitable, it is the result of the life planted in us.

5.d.ii.(f)  Summary

Jesus is our ark, or propitiation, it was He who bore in His own body our sins, the just for the unjust. For those who are baptised into Christ they are safe from the wrath of God. The result of this is that we become a new creation, the old has passed away and all things become new. This results in a life that is fruitful for God. Such are some of the lessons we learn from the flood, there are many others and the reader is encouraged to search for themselves.



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