Note: This third part in a series written by Paul Baxter was originally supposed to go live in late February 2017. Unfortunately … we dropped the ball and never actually posted it. Overlooked, it’s been sitting in the Draft Folder waiting room until we were recently made aware of its omission by an Index reader. The first and second posts in the series can be found in the links below.
We are using the challenging and controversial I Peter 3:18-22 to help us answer three Tough and Troublesome Questions. The first dealt with why bad things happen to good people. Last week’s explored why God (seemingly) doesn’t do something about it. The third one …
How do we overcome the bad things that happen to us and rise up within us?
The First Christians who received Peter’s letter were asking this question: “How do we survive in these bad times?” What does Peter say to them and us? He began verse 18 talking about how Christ suffered and died for us, but he ends talking about how when it was all said and done Christ was “made alive.”
He triumphed over evil and death! Christ demonstrated once and for all time that His self-sacrificing love for us is the antidote for sinful self-centeredness, the antidote that will overcome evil and death.
It was Christ’s inspiring and empowering Spirit that enabled Noah to be a good and godly man even though he was overwhelmingly outnumbered by wicked and wretched people. We read in Genesis 6:9 that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries. Noah walked with God.”
How on earth was he not only able to walk with God when almost everyone else was disobeying God and doing their own thing, but also to talk for God – to stand up and speak out against evil and call people to confess their sins and change their ways before it was too late — before the great flood? It was the Spirit of Christ at work in him.
God is willing and eager to inspire and empower our lives, but we must do what Peter says in verse 21: Make a commitment to Christ to bury our self-centered life and begin a Christ-centered life symbolized by baptism. He calls this commitment “the pledge of a good conscience toward God” (verse 21).
Upon baptism, we become a part of a church created by Christ to be a “lifeboat for us” in a dangerous and often treacherous sea of life. In that lifeboat, His Spirit will inspire and empower us to overcome the bad things that happen to us and rise up within us!