This Is The Beautiful Reality of Our Lives After Baptism!

This passage at the beginning of Peter’s First Letter, is about Baptism and what it means for us on many levels. The beauty of it is made even more powerful because it speaks directly to our own experience of desiring baptism, and the reality of our lives long after the powerful moment of our actual baptism.

First we see the theological truth of baptism when Peter reminds us that our baptism gives us a “new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (verse 3) This is the truth behind each of our baptisms. Because we have chosen in faith to be baptised, we have entered a new life. We have entered the life of Christ, a life that is eternal, as its ultimate end is to live with God forever in his heavenly kingdom. But it is also a new life of responsibility here and now. We have been given a new life to live in the present, in accord with the way of Christ. We are to be his faithful disciples, following his commands of love, and his Apostles, bringing the Good News to a spiritually hungry world.

We also see that, through baptism, we become heirs of something, “that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” (verse 4) In this baptism we are able to rejoice. But Peter reminds us of the reality of our faith in the world too. He tells us, “although for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, [tested], may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (verses 6-7) Here we encounter something very recognizable. Though we have been baptised, and though this makes us heirs to heaven, we still live here and now in the midst of earthly realities. We know that the world tests our faith, sometimes on a daily basis. We suffer the slings and arrows of persecution from outside and temptations within. This is our personal experience. But we have been given something that is stronger than those things, our faith. When we keep our focus on God, that strength of faith will always be increased.

Like the people that Peter is addressing here, we too have never seen Jesus in person, nor do we see him now as Peter himself had seen him, and heard him, and felt him, personally. Even so, we love him and we believe in him, and this is the reason for our joy here, even in the midst of our suffering. In this faith, our joy is so great that it is truly “inexpressible and filled with glory.” Because we believe in Jesus Christ, and because of his grace, we strive to live in his way. As a result, we are “obtaining the outcome of [our] faith, the salvation of our souls.” There is nothing else in all of creation that could cause this kind of joy.

Lord, you have given us an unspeakably beautiful gift of faith in calling us to baptism. Help us to always keep our eyes on you. Through the continuing flow of the waters of our baptism, give us courage and patient endurance when trials come our way both from without and from within. It is with inexpressible joy that we pray this in your name Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.