Saturday, December 17, 2011

Deeper Symbolism Than The Grave

In fact, the waters of baptism have an even richer symbolism than simply the symbolism of the grave. The waters also remind us of the waters of God’s judgment that came upon unbelievers at the time of the flood (Gen 7:6-24), or the drowning of the Egyptians in the Exodus (Ex. 14:26-29). Similarly, when Jonah was thrown into the deep (Jonah 1:7-16), he was thrown down to the place of death because of God’s judgment on his disobedience - even though he was miraculously rescued and thus became a sign of the resurrection. 
Therefore those who go down into the waters of baptism really are going down into the waters of judgment and death, death that they deserve from God for their sins. When they come back up out of the waters of baptism it shows that they have come safely through God’s judgment only because of the merits of Jesus Christ, with whom they are united in His death and resurrection. This is why Peter can say in 1 Peter 3:21 that baptism “corresponds to” the saving of Noah and his family from the waters of judgment in the flood.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, IVP, Leicester, 1994, page 968 (footnote 7)

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