Friday, February 23

1 Peter 3:18-22 (ESV)

 18 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, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 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.  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, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Peter makes it very clear that Jesus suffered for our sins—the sins of the past, those we are currently committing, and all those we will commit in the future.  Jesus was righteous—He was completely without sin, yet He took on the punishment for our sins.  Think about that for a minute.  We get upset if we are blamed for something we didn’t do, yet Christ willingly took on the punishment of our sins.  He did it out of love.  He loves us so much that He was willing to suffer in our place.

How willing are we to suffer for Him and for the spread of His kingdom?  Most of us aren’t even comfortable talking about our faith with others, especially if we don’t know how they will respond.  Yet, Jesus endured much pain and suffering so our sins could be forgiven.

Baptism serves as a symbol of our identification with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.  It is a commitment on our part to make sure that the symbol of rebirth—being reborn in the Spirit will become a reality in our lives.

Are you living a life filled with the power of the Holy Spirit?  Are you living a life that reflects Jesus more today than it did five years ago, a year ago or even a few months ago?

Lord Jesus, help us to live out our Baptismal vows.  Remind us of the tremendous sacrifice you made on our behalf and help us to truly appreciate what that means for our lives.  Give us grateful hearts that are so filled with love for You that we can’t help but serve You and further Your kingdom.  Give us a boldness to share our faith with others and to know that it may require suffering on our part.

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