Lesson 20 - I Peter 3: 21-22

Lesson 20 - I Peter 3: 21-22

Lesson for June 9, 2013

The Book of I Peter

Chapter 3:21-22

Verse 21

And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In this verse we go from the actual historical deliverance in which eight people were inside of the Ark and were delivered, to an analogy.  So the entire verse 21 is really a parenthesis to teach a spiritual lesson.

And corresponding to that is the Greek noun “antitupon” from which we get the word antitype.  “Anti” means instead of - instead of the historical.  The historical Ark is called “type,” the antitype is the doctrine of the baptism of the Spirit.  The historical Ark is a type of union with Christ.  So this should be translated: “which also represents to us the baptism that now saves you.”  It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that delivers, not water baptism.  

Peter personally heard Jesus announce the baptism of the Spirit; he was there in Acts 1:5.  Peter declared this prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, the day the Church Age began in Acts 11:15-17.  The baptism of the Spirit had never occurred before the Day of Pentecost.  There was no baptism of the Spirit in the Old Testament.  The baptism of the Spirit is what distinguishes the Church Age from all other dispensations.  Being in union with Christ has occurred only in the Church Age and Church Age believers are the only ones in union with Christ, which is accomplished by means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

A personal relationship very similar to the preservation of Noah occurs when we become believers.  For that reason Peter was able to put together type and antitype, the historical Ark and the doctrinal baptism of the Spirit.   There was no judgment to those in the Ark; “there is therefore now no judgment to them who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)  Saves you is the Greek word “sozoo” meaning deliverance.   Spirit baptism is one of the 40 things accomplished at salvation.  The baptism of the Spirit actually puts the believer in union with Christ and as believers we share His life which is eternal life.  Water baptism merely portrays salvation but does not save.  So one actually saves and one represents salvation.

The “filth of the flesh” is the manifestation of the sin nature, positionally.  In other words Peter is stating that this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit not a bath!   Baptism of the Holy Spirit gives us the pledge of a good conscience toward God.  Our soul is saved but our sin nature is still active.  The possession of the sin nature makes the pledge of a good conscience toward God impossible without the baptism of the Spirit. So good conscience does not depend upon whether you sin or you do not sin after salvation.  Good conscience depends upon your relationship with Christ.

The resurrection of Christ made it possible for us to be in union with Him and to be delivered.  He is seated at the right hand of the Father; His sacrifice has been accepted by the Father.  Before Christ could be seated at the right hand of the Father He had to be resurrected.  Now we are in union with Christ at the right hand of the Father and therefore we have a good conscience toward God because we are accepted, not on the basis of who and what we are, but on the basis of Who God the Son is in resurrection.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is neither seen nor felt.  It is a fact stated in the Word of God for us to believe.  Technically, it is when the believer is placed into union with Jesus Christ at salvation.  There are seven baptisms in the Bible and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is but one of these.  The word for baptism in Greek is “baptisma” and literally means, “to dip.”  It was used to describe the dyeing of a garment or the drawing of wine by dipping the cup into the bowl.  John the Baptist and Jesus used the word to describe water baptism as submersion, therefore, the accurate interpretation of the word is “to dip into or submerge.”  (I Corinthians 12:13)

When a person trusts Christ as Savior they are “dipped into” or “submerged” into the “body of Christ.”  This, of course, is speaking of positional truth, signifying our union with Christ.  Water baptism for believers has always been a picture of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Submersion into water pictures how the believer becomes united with Christ. (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:4-5)


As I stated, there are seven baptisms in the Scriptures and all are for the purpose of identification.  Of these seven, four are ritual identifications and three are actual identifications.  In the apostate times in which we live, water baptism (ritual) and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (actual) have been distorted into a system of works.  Water baptism, for example, is taught by some as a necessity for salvation, which is false doctrine.  No one has ever been saved by being submerged in water.  The only purpose for water baptism is identification: identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, which it pictures.  It was a teaching aid for the early church before the canon of Scripture was completed.  As a matter of fact, water baptism is mentioned only once after the historical record in the book of Acts and it is mentioned as a source of division in the church of Corinth.  (I Corinthians 1:11-17)

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is also being distorted today into a system of emotionalism and ecstatic behavior leading to a pseudo-spiritual experience that is not found in the Word of God.  The gift of tongues, for example, has been distorted into a requirement to prove salvation and/or to prove spirituality.  Both are false doctrines.  The gift of tongues was a sign to the nation of Israel of impending divine discipline according to Isaiah 28:9-13.  The nation was destroyed in 70A.D. and the warning was stopped.  (I Corinthians 13:8, 14:21)  There are two words for “tongues” in Greek.  The first word is “glossa” and the second is “dialektos” and both refer to a known, spoken language.  This is confirmed in the book of I Corinthians when Paul insists that an interpreter be present when a person with the gift speaks in the local assembly.  The gift was used (before the destruction of Jerusalem and the nation) to evangelize Jews from many nations who spoke many languages not necessarily known by the apostles.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was prophesied by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.  This prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, which occurred fifty days after Christ ascended when the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit began.  This event marked the beginning of the Church Age.  Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for the Church Age believer only.  Since it is the means of placing the believer into union with Christ, the baptism of the Holy Spirit assures the believer of sharing Christ’s inheritance.  This inheritance includes becoming a member of the Royal Family of God.  We actually share Christ’s royalty, a royalty He received by defeating Satan in the Angelic Conflict.  Christ won this victory by His spiritual death, physical death, resurrection, ascension and session at the right hand of God the Father.  Because of our union with Christ we are different from believers of other ages and we are given a higher spiritual position.  What a privilege and what a responsibility!  (Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 11:15-17; Colossians 2:9-15)

Verse 22

Who is at the right hand of God, having gone into Heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

The resurrection of Christ, as it relates to this particular verse is found in greater detail in Hebrews 1:13.  The ascension of Christ is based on His resurrection and made it possible for Him to be seated at the right hand of the Father (session).   We call it Operation Footstool.

Hebrews 1:13

But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?”

This is a quotation from Psalm 110:1.  Christ was seated at the place of honor, emphasizing His humanity. Christ in His humanity was commanded to sit until “Operation Footstool” is completed.  The footstool of your foot was a sign of conquest in the ancient world.  In the Roman world there were three signs of conquest.  First, prisoners passing under raised spears was a sign of defeat.  The second was to put your foot on the head of the conquered.  The third way was for kings.  They would sit on a throne and the prisoners had to crawl up under the foot of the king.  That is the one we have here, and this is actually what happens to the fallen angels.  In other words, you rest your foot not on the ground but on a footstool which is someone else’s head.

Doctrine of Operation Footstool

Israel is under the fifth cycle of discipline and no longer represents Jesus Christ on the earth.  Since 70 AD Israel has been under the fifth cycle of discipline.  In place of Israel we have the Church as Christ’s representative on earth.  Remember that any Jew who believes in Christ is a member of the body of Christ, or the Church, just as any Gentile.  In that way cursing is turned to blessing for Israel during the Church Age.  Because of this and the session of Jesus Christ, the Angelic Conflict has intensified during the Church Age.  In fact, everything has changed.  The Church Age is a radical change in the function of believers because of the intensification of the Angelic Conflict.  In the past angels (sometimes Christ as the Angel of the Lord) were teachers of prophets, angels gave the law to Moses, angels were teachers in the Old Testament.  But angels are now replaced by human teachers — the pastor-teacher.  All of this is a part of the intensification of the Angelic Conflict and all of this started on the basis of the session of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:22-24; 2:16; 4:4,5; 5:23,24, 30,32; Colossians 1:18,24; 2:19)

The body of Christ is being prepared on earth by means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:10)  At the moment of salvation every believer is entered into union with Christ. Positionally, all believers are now superior to angels.  When the body of Christ is completed it is removed from the devil’s world by means of the Rapture of the Church. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)  Rapture is a technical word for the resurrection of the Church Age believers only.  The completed body, through the Rapture, then becomes the bride of Christ.  Once in Heaven the bride will be prepared for the Second Coming.  The bride returns with Christ at the Second Coming. (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Revelation 19:6-8) 

Then Operation Footstool begins.  Satan will be imprisoned for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-3)  Fallen angels will be removed.  (Zechariah 13:2; Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:24-25)  The removal of Satan and fallen angels, plus the rulership of Christ replacing Satan as the ruler of the world changes the environment of the earth.  Religion will be removed. (1 Corinthians 10:20-21) False doctrine will be removed (doctrines of demons). (1Timothy 4:1)  Spirituality will include ecstatic behavior for the first time. (Joel 2:28-29)

Hebrews 1:14

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

 All refers to angels.  As a result of Operation Footstool the fallen angels eventually are going to be removed.  So what happens to the elect angels?  They are already the servants of believers, and that is what they are going to be forever.  You have a guardian [servant] angel right now.  Angels who are now superior to us are going to be servants.   The principle is: What Jesus Christ did is so great that the elect angels are now serving believers on this earth.

Ministering is the Greek word “leitourgikoj,” which means a subordinate servant.  Angels superior to you by creation will take the place of subordination.   Already they are doing it.  Spirits is the Greek word “pneuma,” referring to the angels.

Are they [the elect angels] not all ministering spirits (subordinate servants), sent out (into action) for the sake (the purpose of ministry) of those [believers] who will inherit salvation (deliverance) is the principle of the guardian angel.  The guardian angel is a servant to you.  Why?  Because positionally you are in union with Christ, and Christ is superior to all angels.  And since positionally you are in Christ, and since positionally you are superior to all angels, then it follows.  If you have a position higher than angels then angels ought to be serving you.  Therefore you are served by elect angels at this time, and this is the way it will always be forever.