The way of safety.
Prediction of deluge and way of escape were alike trials of faith; beyond reach of foresight; rejected or neglected by the world. Key to the typical meaning, 1Pe 3:20, 1Pe 3:21. Baptism the initial seal of the Christian covenant. Text therefore sets forth salvation through Christ.
I. BECAUSE SENTENCE OF DEATH RESTS UPON ALL MEN (Rom 5:12).
As in the destruction of first-born (Exo 11:5). No exceptions. Covenant people saved only by the blood; so here (cf. Job 9:30). Men, even now, are slow to believe this. Maxims of society contradict it. From childhood trained to live as if no danger, as if many things more important than salvation. And when preacher proclaims (Act 2:40), men listen and approve and go on as before. Yet this is the first step towards salvation, the first work of the Holy Spirit—to convince careless (Mat 16:26) and well-living people that they cannot save themselves. Until this is done Christ has no attractiveness (Isa 53:2). Who would shut himself up in the ark if no deluge coming? Who would trust it if another way would afford safety?
II. IT IS GOD’S APPOINTED WAY OF SAFETY. (Rom 5:20) “The Lord hath made known his salvation.” As surely as the deluge is according to his word, so surely is the way of deliverance . But mark the way. Can you trust that which seems so frail? At the root of sin lies unbelief of God’s truth. This caused the fall. God says, Will you trust me? One will say, I live a good life; is not that the main thing? (cf. 1Co 3:11). Another, I pray that God would love me, and be reconciled to me. Does he not love thee? (Tit 3:4). Is he not longing for thee? (Isa 1:18). And is not this unbelief of what God says? Thou needest indeed to pray that the Holy Spirit should open thine eyes to what God has done. But that thy prayer may be answered there must be the will to be taught (Psa 85:8).
III. IT IS THE TEST OF FAITH. There is a faith which does nothing, which merely- accepts a doctrine. Such was not that of Noah. His life’s work was to act on what he believed. The object of our faith is Jesus Christ, the personal, living, loving Savior; not merely the doctrine that he died and rose again. “Make thee an ark” is more than knowledge that he is the Deliverer. It is taking refuge in him, and walking in his steps.