April 27, 2009

By Faith: Baptism

1 Corinthians 10:1-5

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land …
Hebrews 11:29


Penned in like cattle in a corral, with Pharaoh behind them and the Red Sea in front of them, Israel had nowhere to go. Would there be no escape?

Then through the hand of his servant Moses, God performed the greatest salvation miracle Israel had ever seen. The waters split. A path opened. The impossible happened. Israel walked between two walls of water to safety on the other side.

This was an act of faith, says Hebrews. Israel had no other choice but to trust God to hold up those walls. It worked—for Israel, but not for Pharaoh and his army. The waters closed back in. The enslaver died, and Israel was free. Free at last!

The New Testament sees the deliverance at the Red Sea as an event pointing to baptism. Human beings are pursued by the enslaving powers of Satan and sin. They pin us against the wall of death. There’s no escape, except by a miracle. God provides the miracle in Jesus. He parts the waters of death and leads all his followers to safety.

Satan and sin, however, cannot follow. The waters of destruction close in on them. The enslavers perish. And we are free—at last!

That’s the good news about baptism. In baptism we die and rise with Christ.

Mighty God, Savior of your people, give us the faith, we pray, to follow Jesus in his dying and rising as signified in our baptism. In his saving name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Gordon Pols

Rev. Gordon Pols and his wife, Ann, have two married children and two grandchildren. After serving four congregations in Western and Central Canada, Rev. Pols retired from active ministry in 2007. He is currently doing parttime pastoral work with West End Christian Reformed Church, Edmonton, Alberta. He also works parttime for Crossroad Bible Institute, promoting a Bible study correspondence course for prison inmates.

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