“in which He also went and preached to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the great patience of God was waiting in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons [Noah’s family], were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that [rescue through the flood], baptism [which is an expression of a believer’s new life in Christ] now saves you, not by removing dirt from the body, but by an appeal to God for a good (clear) conscience, [demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God [that is, the place of honor and authority], with [all] angels and authorities and powers made subservient to Him.”
1 PETER 3:19-22 AMP
Jesus, Himself appeared to the spirits of those who were disobedient in previous time, particularly those of Noah's day. This doesn't mean that they had a chance to be saved. Their eternal fate had already been sealed by their rejection of the preaching of Noah. I don't know what Jesus preached to them, but I do know that He knows. I leave that to Him. One day, in the eternal kingdom, I can ask Him to elaborate. The point Peter was making here is that God brought salvation to Noah and his family (eight total - Noah, his wife, their three sons (Shem, Ham, Japheth), and their wives - see Genesis 5:32- chapter 9). This salvation was made possible by providing an opportunity for them to survive the coming global flood. The means for this was an Ark (large boat). Not only would Noah and his family be saved from destruction, so would animal life. God would restore life on the other side of the flood. Noah's obedience to God's instructions made a way for the saving of he and his family. Water was going to fall from the sky and the fountains of the deep were going to burst forth. The water would lift the Ark and the Ark would navigate Noah and his family through this cataclysmic (violent) event. Though the waters destroyed all human and animal life that wasn't on the Ark, it lifted the Ark to it's place of purpose. When we enter into the waters of baptism, we, too, are lifting up the Ark, Jesus, to His place and purpose - salvation to those who have entered the Ark. He has provided us with the way to be saved from the impending judgment. God will, once again, destroy the world in His wrath. This time it will be by fire (see 2 Peter 3: whole chapter and the book pf Revelation). The only way to be safe is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 3:25; 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14,20; I Peter 1:18-19). There is limited time to repent of our sin and enter this Ark (Jesus). When the gospel is preached and we accept Him as our Lord, we are responding to the call of God for salvation from the coming judgment. Just as in Noah's day, the message of coming judgment is being heralded. God, throughout history, has given mankind the opportunity to escape His wrath through His merciful provision of salvation. The Ark provided deliverance from the flood. Jesus, our Ark, provides salvation to all who trust in Him. When we trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are entering the Ark of eternal salvation. When we step into the waters of baptism, we are making the statement that He is our deliverer from destruction and our blessed hope of a new life on a restored earth with resurrected bodies (see Revelation 21 and 22). We will live with our Resurrected Lord forevermore!
The water of baptism doesn't save us, it lifts up the One who does. He is the eternal Lord and Judge.
Have you entered the Ark? If so, let the water of baptism glorify His name and proclaim your salvation publicly as a statement that you are unashamed.
Rev. Curtis Norris