A. They are “different” from unbelievers around them. The
unbelieving world therefore mistreats, slanders and persecutes
1 Peter 1:1
B. Unbelievers also judged Jesus and mistreated him, but Jesus
bore it patiently and entrusted himself to God who is faithful.
God raised Jesus out of death and exalted him in glory. This is
the gospel story.
C. Truly believing this gospel enables Christians to stand alone
against an unbelieving world and to suffer with assurance (good
conscience). They are not evil-doers, as the world accuses, but
are imitating Christ’s suffering, trusting God for final
vindication and glory.
D. The enemy is not other people but Satan and his forces, and
Jesus has won the victory over Satan and all evil spirits.
II. Faithful people have always been out of step with the world and
have had to trust God to vindicate their trust in him (3:18-20).
A. Noah’s believing family was slandered by an unbelieving world
B. But God reversed the world’s mocking judgment and had the final
word by means of the Flood (Gen. 7:21-23; 8:1). The Flood water
“saved” those believers from their wicked world and judged the
unbelievers who mocked Noah. (Not saved “from water” but
“through water”. After the Flood, there was no confusing the
two groups of people or their true status as determined by God.)
III. The water of baptism is to suffering believers much as the Flood
was to Noah’s family (3:21-22).
A. The water of baptism “saves” believers “now” (undergoing
trials) from the stigma and sting of unjust judgment and cruel
1. This is not about removing impurity, but about living
confidently (in good conscience) under persecution.
2. “Salvation” in the midst of persecution comes by remembering
that God will have the final word about all parties involved.
He has demonstrated this by raising Jesus from the dead in
glory, and exalting him over all his foes (3:22).
B. The water of baptism also “saves” believers from union/
identification with the unbelieving, mocking world which await
God’s judgment. Peter had made a similar point years before on
1. That audience had helped kill Jesus (Acts 2:22-24), but
God had raised and glorified him (2:32-36).
2. This announcement convicted their hearts (2:37).
3. Peter commanded repentance and baptism in Jesus’ name
(2:38-39). He urged them: “save yourselves from this
perverse generation!” (2:40).
4. Those who believed were baptized and 3,000 left the ranks
of unbelievers to stand publicly with God’s people (2:41).
IV. To be baptized is to take a stand with those who trust God’s
faithfulness as seen in Jesus’ resurrection. The person baptized
pledges to imitate Jesus’ obedience even under persecution. For
all these reasons, baptism “saves” believers when they are called
to suffer for God’s sake.