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Sign and Seal

1 Peter 3.21-22
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you. Baptism saves only in the sense that it represents what Christ has achieved. The waters of the Noahic flood symbolize baptism, and baptism is the sign and seal of salvation “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (see Romans 6.4). Peter references the flood because the flood pictures death, burial, and resurrection. The waters buried the earth in judgment, but they also lifted Noah and his family up to safety. The early church saw in the ark a picture of salvation. Noah and his family were saved by faith because they believed God and entered into the ark of safety. So sinners are saved by faith when they trust Christ and become one with Him.

An appeal to God for a good conscience. Baptism is not merely a religious ritual that washes the body; it is one’s pledge to God to live righteously from that time on which results in a clear conscience before Him. Peter reminds his readers of the pledge of their baptism at a time when they are facing suffering because of Christ and are tempted to turn away from the Lord.

More on baptism. God’s promise to save us through the victory won by Jesus Christ provides the basis for Christian baptism. Baptism means more than just a spiritual bath. It is not a magic moment that stands apart from the rest of God’s message to us. It is a sign, seal, and sacrament that reminds us, objectively and before our Christian family, that God saves us in Jesus Christ. In baptism we say, “Yes, God, we believe the promise. We identify with Your people. We establish Your leadership in our homes and lives. We join with others who love and trust You.” All who claim this promise are saved and receive a clean conscience, a new start, and an eternal hope.

When times of difficulty come your way, remember that you belong to Jesus Christ by faith and your baptism publicly testified to your new identity in His eternal family. And because of this union with Christ, you can be assured—no matter what comes your way—that He is always with you and He is always for you!

Pastor Jeff
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