“There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”
There is also an antitype
The word “antitype” comes from two words anti (against) and type. An antitype is that which is set over against the type. The antitype is reality (He 9:24). The eight people in the ark were the type but now we have the reality. The reality is the point of this passage.
The type here is the ark and baptism into Christ’s death is the antitype. Baptism of the flood answers to the baptism of Christ’s death. The baptism of the flood foreshadows symbolically the death of Christ for our sins. This is the picture of identification with Christ in his death.
ARK – type of Christ
WATER – type of Christ’s suffering
Baptism of Christ’s death at Calvary
which now saves us—baptism
The antitype goes back to “water.” “Water” is the antecedent here (gender). The water represents judgment and symbolizes baptism in the death of Christ. As the flood wiped out the old world so baptism represents a break with our past life.
This baptism is not water baptism for believers. Those who were wet were unbelievers and they drowned. Baptism in water does not save us because those immersed in the water died in Noah’s day!!
The waters of the flood save but save only as a counterpart, not actually. Old Testament sacrifices were counterparts of the reality of Christ’s death on the cross. Those sacrifices did not save them but only in type. Waters of the flood only saved the inmates of the ark only in type.
The ark suffered the judgment of the storm of the flood. The ark was baptized by the flood. Believers were sheltered in the refuge of the ark. In it they came out of the flood to a new earth. By analogy, today God saves us by the death of Christ from our sin. At Calvary, Christ was baptized into the wrath of God. In that baptism, believers are saved. God saves us by the death and resurrection of Christ.
(not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God),
This is not referring to the washing away of our sin. Baptismal regeneration states that you become a Christian by water baptism. The waters of baptism cannot put away sins. Peter makes it clear that he is not dealing with H-2/0. Therefore, this is not dealing with the external rite of baptism. Water baptism does not save for it is simply a counterpart or picture of salvation. To prove this, the Holy Spirit adds this parenthesis.
“Answer” is literally a pledge, the pledge of a good conscience toward God. This word is a business term. In business contracts there are commitments that make the commitment binding. God says to Christians, “Do you accept the terms of salvation?” Our position of death in Christ gives us a good conscience toward God.
From what does baptism save us? From a bad conscience. Baptism does not save from sin but from a bad conscience. Baptism is a testimony that we have been saved from sin.
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the pledge of our position before God. The resurrection of Christ saves us eternally. The resurrection is the factual indication that the death of Christ was adequate to save us.
At the resurrection and ascension, God accepts the death of Christ to save us. Here lays the basis for our salvation. If the flood did not buoy up the ark, Noah and his family would have been lost. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we could not be saved. Our hope rests on the resurrection of Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus brings confidence in God, accepting us into his presence.
Today, like Noah’s day, we escape through the baptism of Christ’s death. In Christ, God gives us a new status quo. This gives us a “good conscience toward God.” When we enter the true ark (the death of Christ for our sins), God will save our souls. The resurrection stamps a guarantee that God will bring us into his presence in eternity.
God shut the door of the ark, and those inside are safe eternally. God saves us in the same sense that the water saved those in the ark. The water lifted the ark, and the death of Christ saves our souls.