Three BIG truths about salvation found in three LITTLE verses
- That God’s mercy is great toward us is proven by the fact that He designed a backup plan to save us if messed up the original plan.
1.1. (1-2a) = According to Peter, God’s plan to save people like us (to “elect” “exiles” like us – people previously w/o God’s mercy – i.e. Gentiles, 2:10) was before He created this world (it was “according to the foreknowledge [prior knowledge] of God” – i.e. His plan before Creation). Paul echoes this truth in (Eph 1:4).
1.2. IOW: God had already decided to give us (humanity) a second chance. He decided that if we screwed up His original plan, He would give us another chance to still live as immortal super-humans, planet-hopping through an infinite number of galaxies, discovering and transforming these strange new worlds for His glory (b/c that was the original plan for this universe and that is the plan for the reboot as well).
1.3. Support for this idea that God’s original plan and reboot was/is for us to be immortal galaxy conquering super-humans:
1.3.1. God originally made us immortal and gave us not just this planet, but the universe w/the mandate to: 1) conquer it (including terra-forming or turning it all into one massive Garden of Eden – or literally, Paradise) and 2) be its caretakers (Gen and Isa)
1.3.2. The reboot will be just like the original only this time without the possibility of sin or rebellion wrecking us or it (Isa and Rev)
1.3.3. In the reboot, we will not only (once more) be immortal (or super-humans unable to die) – but we will also possess super-powers (like the angels): 1) super-strength: one angel has enough strength to destroy a third of the planet or thousands of soldiers while suffering no personal harm (2Ki and Rev), 2) super-speed: angels can travel thousands of miles/globally in a very short period of time and without the aid of special vehicles (Job), 3) super-sovereignty: angels can control the actions of plagues and animals (2Sa and Dan).
1.4. Why this proves God’s mercy is great toward us (three reasons):
1.4.1. B/C that’s what Peter says in (3a “according to His great mercy”)
1.4.2. B/C God had no obligation to show such mercy to us (we are the ones who rebelled against Him even though He gave us everything). The only obligation God had to us after our rebellion is justice. Hence the reason the majority of people will go to Hell – i.e. the majority of people will receive justice – b/c the majority of people refuse to serve justice and live just/righteous lives for God.
1.4.3. B/C what God has prepared for us (in the reboot) far outweighs anything we could ever give back to Him (or do for Him) in this life (it is truly amazing mercy/grace) (1Co 2:9).
- If you want to be a part of God’s merciful (and awesome) reboot then you have to receive a legitimate baptism.
2.1. (1-2b “in the sanctification of the Spirit”) = The “in” is locative – or referring to the location where we were chosen/elected for salvation (or given the shot at the reboot). It is “IN the sanctification of the Spirit” which is a reference to baptism. We are saved IN the sanctifying and spiritual waters of baptism.
2.2. Why we can be confident this is the correct understanding of that phrase (“in the sanctification of the Spirit”) = B/C this is where we receive the Holy Spirit and His work of sanctification. IOW: This is the place where He: 1) cleanses/washes away our sins (i.e. He applies the work of Christ in forgiveness) and 2) gives us a new soul (i.e. He regenerates us or causes us to be born again). Baptism is the only place where all those things take place.
2.3. Hence why baptism is the only place God will accept our faith unto salvation since these are the things that need to take place (washing away of sin and the new birth) if we are to be saved. Can anyone be saved w/o their sins being cleansed and their souls renewed? (No). Yet such power is only found IN the waters of baptism (not your prayer – e.g., the sinner’s prayer). This is the reason we never see anyone (in Scripture) simply praying a prayer to be saved. They are instead commanded to be baptized if they are to receive Christ’s forgiveness/new birth (Joh 3:1-5; Act 22:16; Act 2:38; Gal 3:27; see also Tit 3:5).
2.4. Notice (btw) that Peter refers to both forgiveness of sin and the new birth in our verses (or in conjunction w/ this act of “sanctification by the Spirit”): 1) (2d “sanctification of the Spirit…for sprinkling with His [Jesus’] blood”) = forgiveness of sins; 2) (3) = Saying that the new birth (or being “born again”) takes place “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ also confirms that what Peter is talking about is baptism (Rom 6:3-4).
2.5. Peter is explicit about baptism as the place of salvation in (3:21) = Baptism is what saves us (IN this place our faith is accepted – i.e. our “appeal to God for a good conscience” is received. As further support, notice Peter (again) connects it to Christ’s resurrection — “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” – same as 1:3).
2.6. What is meant by legitimate baptism (two things): 1) it must be in a church (Mat 16:17-19; Joh 20:21-23 w/Act 20:28) = God has given the blood of Christ and the power only to His church. Daddy dunking the kids in the bathtub, or self-induced baptisms, or “Christian camp” baptisms do not (therefore) qualify. Hence the reason the common saying in the early church was “there is no salvation outside of the church.” 2) that church must be a church where Christ and His authority reside – which are only churches preaching the right gospel (Gal 1:6-9) = If a church does not have the right gospel, the only thing they can do is damn you to hell (irrespective of what they say or who they claim to be).
- To be baptized (or receive Christ’s forgiveness and the new birth for salvation) we must (first) commit to living the rest of our lives in faithful obedience to Jesus’ commands.
3.1. (2c “in the sanctification of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ”) = We get baptized with the understanding that we are going to live differently than we did in the past. Our lives will now be focused on obeying everything He commands in His words. The reason Peter puts this before talking about being sprinkled with Christ’s blood is b/c this is what we must (first) commit to doing (otherwise – no baptism, no forgiveness).
3.2. This then is the other condition to salvation. This (btw) is the gospel message that sets true churches apart from false churches. False churches preach faith alone as the only condition or requirement (e.g. the Evangelical church). True churches preach faith (expressed in the waters of baptism) and faithful obedience (otherwise no reboot for you).
3.3. The condition of committing our lives to faithful obedience in order to receive God’s forgiveness/salvation has always been a part of the gospel (Heb 13:8). Peter’s words are actually an allusion to when the Israelites entered into a covenant/saving relationship w/God on Mt. Sinai (Exo 24:7-8) = Notice the order. It is the same as Peter. The commitment to obey precedes the sprinkling w/blood (or the receiving of forgiveness). IOW: it is the condition to salvation.
3.4. Faithful obedience is (therefore) what the Scriptures are talking about when it speaks about repentance/turning from sin as the prerequisite to faith/salvation (Mar 1:15) = Notice, Jesus’ command to repent (or turn from sin and obey God) precedes – or is the condition to believing for salvation. Consider also Paul’s message in (Act 26:18) = Notice the similarities between Peter and Paul’s messages: sanctification/baptism associated with faith and turning from sin (or darkness and Satan) to God (or obedience to God) as the key to receiving “forgiveness of sins”.
CLOSING CONTEMPLATION = The gospel message of: faith expressed in baptism and faithful obedience as necessary to salvation was the commission of Jesus before ascending back to heaven (Mat 28:18-20). Why (then) have so many missed it?