Lent Devotions 2009: Friday 20th March

“… this water symbolises baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the response of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”. 1 Peter 3:21

Before your first date with someone you wanted to look your best, have a shower, wash behind the ears, look smart and clean, and make a good impression. But looking good is not the same as being good. We are all painfully aware of our failings. To greater or lesser degree we have a conscience about our motives, whether we are doing good or wrong. When we do wrong we may feel dirty, want to wash ourselves clean, clean up our lives and resolve to do better.

The word “baptism” means washing, and whilst many religious cults have ceremonial washings, Christian Baptism is unique – having only one Baptism, which carries with it something of inestimable value. St Peter says “it saves you also” – that is, it washes you clean on the inside – and only by the gift of faith in Christ are you seen clean and acceptable to God. Marvellously by His means of grace He brings you to forgiveness, life and salvation.

The period that we are in, of Lent, may take its origin as a proscribed period of fasting of candidates for Baptism at Easter. Frequently we are reminded of our own Baptism in the name and power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are reminded of this washing that we don’t do, which is a washing and cleansing by God. It is unique in its power because this Baptism has “saved you by the resurrection of Jesus”.

As we look forward to Easter, beyond the cross where Jesus paid for our sins, we rejoice in the victory that He has won over death and the grave. We rejoice that we have been made clean, and that we now have “a good conscience toward God”, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. In Him we have received the water of life, and we have life for evermore through Him.

Lord Jesus, we rejoice in Your wonderful works and especially for the water of life. Amen.