Friday, October 10, 2003

Noah’s Witness: I Peter

(Primeval Saints by Jordan)

I find it ironic and short-sited that Noah is mentioned in a book that covers patience and endurance, honor and family, and speaking versus acting in love if for no other reason than as a good bridge to do a blurp on baptism. It seems pretty random to have covered all those topics and have verse 20 of I Peter 3 on Noah and verse 21 on baptism. But the one thing that brings it all back together is the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in verse 22.

Chapter 1 talks about Christians living holy lives even as Christ has lived a holy life. Chapter 2 fleshes out the life of holiness by showing that its fruit is love in action—even if it means loving a harsh master—we are to remember that Christ has gone before in living for us the life of love through suffering. Chapter 3 begins as a reminder to husbands and wives to live through love—a quiet and gentle spirit and honor shown are among the virtues of a bride and bridegroom. Brotherly or neighborly love is brought up and once again suffering for righteousness sake is addressed. “Prepare to give a defense for the hope that is in you,” verse 15 says, but once again it is reiterated that no one is argued into the kingdom. And this is where Noah makes his appearance.

It took Noah some 120 years to build the ark, in Jordan’s mind, during which he proclaimed the truth in love both in words but primarily through the consistency of his faith in actions. To say something as absurd as “there will be a flood that wipes out the whole world brought about by the One True God as a judgment for the idolatry and pride of mankind” is blatant enough, but to live out that belief for 120 years is all the more radical a witness bearing. I Peter 2:12 says that honorable conduct is to be kept around the Gentiles, “so that when they speak…they may see your good deeds….” The idea here is that the City of man talks and the City of Man acts. The gentle and quiet spirit spoken of in chapter 3, though, doesn’t mean that the children of God are supposed to go through life silently, rather we are to exercise discernment in how and when we are to “speak the truth in love”. The fruits of our love are to be evident at all times, but we are to be ready when divinely called upon to bear testimony to that love from which our fruit is derivative.

But that love is derived as well, and Peter makes sure that we are constantly reminded that in all things, Christ is the first fruits. He is the example of all things from holiness to hope, submission to suffering, from living testimonially to loving evidentially.

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