The victory God provides
…when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared. In it a few—that is, eight people—were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not as the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him. 1 Peter 3:20b-22 CSB
From the text, Peter illustrates salvation with a reference to Noah and his household, who survived the flood. The waters of the flood symbolize baptism. Baptism points to Jesus Christ; his death and resurrection is what baptism signifies. Peter writes that baptism is “not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.” When we wash dirt from the body, we cannot compare this action to baptism. Baptism is an ordinance Christ instituted and which the church administers by immersion with water. But this ordinance of baptism alone is not effective in obtaining salvation. Baptism is what the saved person must go through to express outwardly the “pledge of a good conscience toward God” that comes from the believer’s heart after confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior. Peter emphasizes the word “pledge” referring to baptism for it represents an appeal to God for a “clear conscience.” When we ask God to help us, we see the importance of baptism objectively. Without God’s aid we are unable to make a pledge to serve him. Once a person receives salvation and is baptized, he or she pledges to serve the Lord with a good conscience. The water of baptism symbolizes the desire of the person to be transformed as part of his or her response to God to live conscientiously for His honor and glory. “Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5). The doctrine of Christ’s resurrection is basic to the Christian faith to which Peter continues to emphasize in his epistle. This is also what Paul emphasizes in his letter: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Christ’s resurrection is the ground of righteousness and our guarantee that we will be victorious. Then, Christ has received the greatest honor imaginable, that “angels, authorities and powers” are subjected to Him. All created spiritual authorities and powers are subject to Jesus Christ. In the general context of these passages, Peter seems to imply that when Christ ascended to heaven, He proclaimed victory over the spiritual forces that were at enmity with him. It is the risen Christ who provides His followers the strength they need daily for life and service. We do not fight the battle against powers and principalities for Christ has already won the battle. So, we rely on God working in us through His Spirit to help us live for His glory.
Isaac De Guzman