God saves His people – from themselves, from the world, from sin, and death. When I think about the flood, I like to look forward in Scripture:
Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God. (Psalm 69: 1-3)
Drowning is a sea of sin, trying to swim - by the Law, by personal righteousness, struggling and tiring. However faithful and resolved we are, we cannot save ourselves. We call upon God to deliver us. His “ark” is a plan for salvation, a hope that lifts us out of the polluted waters. His plan, His work, His strength and power. It is specific, detailed, planned, and assured. The ark does not drift or founder, no matter the storms or the waves created by the world of sin and temptation. For this reason, hope has long been pictured as an anchor.
Then there’s the prophecy aspects of the flood story, bringing us through water to salvation:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (1 Peter 3:18-22)