Rain and Grace

It’s raining outside.  It’s been raining for two days and the Greenbrier River which runs below my house is flowing almost at the full bank stage.  As it continues to rain today, I am watching my little boat ride out the rising water.  I have it tied to a large tree instead of the dock this morning because my dock is under water.  Yet, despite the fact that the river is flowing very fast, my boat is riding out the rising, fast flowing waters with ease.  Sitting on top and next to the river bank, my boat looks quite comfortable and not in any danger.

In looking at this scene, I’m reminded that St. Pater used the Noah and the Ark as an example of what Holy Baptism does.  Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:18-22 that it was the water which saved Noah and his family.  While the water rose and covered the whole earth, drowning everything that had life including the inhabitants of the earth, Noah and his family were safe inside the Ark.  The Ark was comfortably riding on top of the water, providing safety for those inside the Ark.  They were saved from God’s judgment upon the wicked human race.

Peter says; “Baptism, which corresponds to this 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 (1 Peter 3:21).  In other words, just as the water saved Noah and his family, so also the water of Holy Baptism saved all who are baptized in the name of the Triune God.  Please note it is not the water alone in Holy Baptism that saves, but the water is connected to the Word of God and the promise of salvation through the redeeming work of Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection.  From the Bible, we learn that God’s grace comes to us through Holy Baptism and saves us.  It cleanses us from sin and gives as Peter says a “good conscience.”  Those who receive God’s grace through Holy Baptism are cleaned and made ready to stand before the Heavenly Father without sin and guilt.  Like refreshing rain, it is a gift from God.

So like the rain and rising water in the river below my home protects my boat as she rides above the raging waters, so also the water of Holy Baptism keeps me safe until the day when I will stand before my Heavenly Father.  It is of course a precious gift from God – it is His grace that flows to me in Holy Baptism and it is His grace which keeps me safe during the storms of life.  “For by grace you havebeen saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not the results of works, so that no one may boast  (Eph 2:8-9).

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