It doesn't matter...and acts of violence
1 Peter 3:18-22 has two aspects that truly hit home for me in this past week.
The first is found in verse 18 where Peter writes "For Christ died for sins once and for all..." It doesn't matter whether or not you believe this happened. Christ has died. The debt is paid. That's all that matters. What you or I do with this act of grace...well that is a whole other matter.
The second is in verses 20-21:
"...during the days that Noah was building his boat. The few people in the boat - eight in all - were saved by the water, which was symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you."
When we think of baptism it is the child held lovingly in someone's arms over the baptismal font with the Pastor gently pouring water over the top of the baby's head or maybe at our most extreme, an adult being immersed in a baptistry or pool or pond or river. But here, Peter compares baptism to a 'flood'. And not just any flood, but one that is all about judgement and destruction, out of which God recreates a new world and a new start. I never thought of my baptism as a flood, but if I stop to think about how it rearranged my life, what else could it be? Paul picks up this theme in Romans 6 when he speaks about how we 'die' in baptism. More rearranging.
I guess it also hits home a bit more because of the Lenten season when I am a bit more reflective on these sorts of things. Floods not only rearrange your life, but they often sweep the place clean. All that debris. All that stuff that clutters our lives is swept away in a maelstrom of water. Well, that is baptism, and the debris that is swept away in my life is sin, death and the power of the devil.
Roll on cleansing waters.