Noah’s faith saved him and his family. When the Lord told him that there was going to be a destructive flood, he believed. He believed enough to construct the ark, and he and his family were saved. Noah had a faith that could look forward and see the invisible.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Heb. 11:1-3)
Noah lived in a world in which it had probably never rained. Genesis 2:5 says, “For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground.” So when the Lord told Noah it was going to flood, what was he supposed to think? He had never seen any small floods before. Yet, Noah’s faith and trust in God made him believe. Noah obeyed and built the ark.
“7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Heb. 11:7)
When Noah built the ark, he condemned the world. His construction of the ark made a clear distinction between the obedient and the disobedient. The obedient were preparing for salvation while the disobedient were preparing for destruction. Noah’s ark was a symbol of salvation for himself and a reminder to all others that they were condemned. Perhaps there were scoffers in those days that mocked Noah for his construction. Many may have hated what Noah was doing. However, Noah’s faith persevered.
Peter uses Noah’s ark as a symbol of baptism:
“When once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (1 Pet. 3:20-21)
Are there those who scoff baptism? If so, why? Like the ark, baptism condemns the world. If you believe that baptism is for the remission of sins, (Acts 2:38) then by being baptized with faith you are saved. For everyone that is not baptized, baptism is a symbol of condemnation. How do we deal with scoffers? We deal with it with our faith, just like Noah did. We must have a faith that looks forward to salvation, confident in our baptism into Jesus Christ.
Faith is the reason why baptism into Jesus Christ is for the remission of sins. There is nothing special about water, but there is something special about the “answer of a good conscience toward God.” Noah was not the only person in the Old Testament saved by faith and water. The people in Exodus who crossed the Red Sea were saved by faith and water too. They were fleeing Pharaoh’s army trying to escape to the other side of the Red Sea. God split the waters as they crossed over on dry land. Then the Lord closed the sea back on the pursuing Egyptians.
“29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.” (Heb. 11:29)
God has a tradition of using faith and water to save His people.