I've recently concluded a brief sermon series on the story of Noah and the Flood. The story seems to me to say something profound about the condition of human sinfulness. If you could find the most innocent, most dedicated, most pious, most conscientious person on earth (probably not the category any of us are in); kill everyone else (THERE we are!); and start all over with just that rarified collection of super-saints, how much better would the world be?
Really not much at all, apparently. God did just that very thing, and Noah managed to be mired in sin in a mere three verses (if we can still agree that it is sinful to be wandering around naked in a drunken stupor).
The problem is not “out there,” but is inside each of us—including even the best of us. Divorcing your spouse will not solve your problems, even if you are the better half of the marriage. Throwing up a wall around the church and building some sort of commune or compound will not solve our problems. Leaving church A and driving down the street to church B will not solve your problems. Wherever we go, our often sinful and rebellious hearts go there with us. How will we escape our own selves?
And so, the ultimate solution was not just to get rid of some of the sinful people or most of the sinful people, but to get rid of them all and start all over—the entire destruction of fallen creation. But this time, we who are lost in the flood (“buried with Christ through baptism into death”) are, by the miraculous power of Christ, somehow the transformed survivors who are “united with Him…in the likeness of His resurrection” “not [through] the removal of dirt from the flesh, but [through] an appeal to God for a good conscience.”
All of which you already knew. But it stirs up good things in my heart to speak of it, and I trust that it does you no harm to hear it again, either.