A Reading from Holy Scripture
1 Peter 3:21
"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,!"
A Thought on 1 Peter 3:21
First, what does Paul mean when he writes, "Baptism, which corresponds to this..." In the previous verse, he explains that God saved Noah and his family, keeping them safe in the flood waters. From verse 20: "(W)hen 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."
Paul is comparing the safety that Noah and his family received from God through the waters that were flooding the world. In comparing this safety to our own safety that we receive for our souls in Baptism, Paul is expressing the great meaning behind our being washed in the water at the font.
Baptism is not the cleaning of dirt from our bodies, but the spiritual washing of regeneration by God. In Baptism, we are called by God to His own and in Baptism we receive the blessings of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. At our Baptisms we received God and in that very simple act of Word combined with water each of us became a member of the family of our Lord.
As Paul explains in Romans, in our Baptisms our sinful selves died with Christ in that water and we rise, as He has risen for us, to new life in Him. In rising to new life in Jesus we are full of the Holy Spirit who guides us along the pathway of faith all our days. When sin managed our lives, we were condemned; yet in the water of Baptism, we were saved from that condemnation and rescued by Jesus Christ at the cross. In Him we have salvation. Our souls are freed.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." - Romans 8:1-2
Your Baptism has saved you. Thanks be to God.
I described prayer in our first devotional as a "conversation" with our God. It doesn't have to be fancy; you can just talk. As we continue in our "stay at home" order by our Governor, let us take time today to pray for all of us who are at home.
Also, take time to pray for:
- Our first responders, police officers, and medical first responders who are dealing with his pandemic with courage and strength.
- All those who have been infected with this virus, that our Lord would provide for comfort and healing, remembering Jerry this day
- For all families dealing with loved ones who are battling this virus, that they be spiritually strengthened.
- For all doctors, nurses, and health care givers, that they be protected from infection while they provide their best care for the sick.
- For all scientists and researchers, that they work prudently to find a vaccine and treatments.
- For all of our government, including our President, Donald Trump; our Governor, Phil Murphy; our County Executive, James Tedesco; for all our local officials in New Milford (Mayor Michael Petrino) and Garfield (Mayor Richard Rigoglioso).
- For ourselves, that we be given patience and hope during this time.
- For those facing difficult times as they lose jobs, lose businesses, and lose hope, that we, as a people, come together to help those negatively impacted by the ravages of the virus.