I had a bunch of people over for supper Friday night….I mean a bunch. Sometimes people refer to this night as “Christmas at the Colleys”, but it’s more like “Christmas FOR the Colleys” because it’s a whole lot of fun and merriment and we are the ones who get a huge blessing from being around our family in Him. Some of today’s most faithful servants for Him were in our house last Friday night. Children brought me little bags of homemade goodness, candles, or ornaments, there was lots of food and laughter and there was even football in the yard.
But sometimes on this week, we’re a little preoccupied with prep (or even clean-up) and I’m distracted. It was the week I wore my sweater to worship inside out (big tag hanging from my hip and no-one told me till the very end. (…Though I was sitting on the second row. Of course, I was. You have to parade when your tag is dangling.) It was the week Glenn got home from the drive-through with my sandwich…only there was no sandwich for me in that bag. This party prep included old-fashioned glass bottles of Coca-Cola rolling out the back of my SUV onto my driveway and breaking explosively…on three different days. It included the squirrel that went berserk inside our house (https://thecolleyhouse.org/and-prior-to-the-lesson-this-morning). And yesterday, we went to take communion to the nursing home sisters…only we forgot to bring along the communion.
On the very last day—the day of the party— I was unquestionably out of room. I was out of room in the freezer, the refrigerator, and the countertops. Even more urgently, though, the food that was on the countertop had to find a home in refrigerator temperatures or it would perish. That’s why we call certain foods perishable. Thankfully God had provided a place of refrigerator temperatures; a place where the food could be saved. That place was, of course, the great outdoors. My screened in porch became the food-saving place that day.
I know it’s a simple analogy, but work with me here. I started carrying food from the counter toward the porch. Just before I got to the porch, I passed a big, long, empty farm table. There was plenty of room there for all the pies and casseroles. My countertop would be free if I set them all on the table. I would not have to go out in the cold. I would save a few steps. My dining room would not get cold. I would not have to lug it all back in later. So many reasons to just move the food from counter to tabletop. But there was one BIG reason why I could not stop short of the porch. The porch was the place where the conditions were perfect for the preservation of the food. It was the place where food would not perish. Further, once I got the food just outside the place of perishing and just inside the place of salvation, I had to close the door. I had to keep the warmth that was in my house from heating up the porch. I had to keep that food in a place that was separate from the place from which it had come. Mixing the two temperatures would have cause the food to perish; to be unclean. I’m sure, to this point, I’ve not shared any light-bulb concept with you.
But there’s a spiritual lesson here. Has not God provided a place where souls can be saved? Has He given us a place where we can be separated from the uncleanness that makes us perish? Is it okay to stop short of the entrance to that place, although there may be an alternative that seems good for many reasons. If I have moved toward that “porch door,” but not yet walked through it, am I in the place where the conditions are right for salvation or am I still in the place of perishing? Am I in the place of the saving element? Succinctly, if I’ve not passed through the door, am I saved?
I want to add, without commentary, the words of the Holy Spirit about that place…a place where the conditions are right for soul preservation. We understand that the porch door is very important when I’m in my dining room with perishables. How much more important is the door when the perishable is my soul?
He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who believes not will perish…Mark 16: 16.
Baptism does also now save us…1 Peter 3:21.
Arise and be baptized, washing away your sins…Acts 22:16
Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized, were baptized into his death…Romans 6:3
As many of you as have been baptized, have put on Christ…Galatians 3:27
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins…Acts 2:38.
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses…Colossians 2:12, 13
Some have said to me “But, Cindy Colley, you overemphasize baptism.”
When you read the words in italics above, can you honestly think that anyone could over-emphasize the importance of baptism? Is it possible to attach too much significance to the place of preservation…of souls?
“But what about all the other things we have have to do? They’re important, too.”
Yes they are. It was important to clear my counter. It was important to lug each pie and casserole through the dining room. It was important to grab the knob and swing the door open. I could not get to the place of preservation without doing all those things. But unless I got the food into the place of preservation, the contaminants would have compromised the food and (I can tell you for sure) we would not have eaten that food on Friday night. I did some pretty daft things through the week, but that was one thing I was going to make sure I did right. (And, by the way, if it had been hot outside on Friday, I’d have found a neighbor with freezer space. You just don’t take chances with food preservation!)
In life, we will get distracted. We will do some pretty daft things when under the gun. But we’d better get this one thing right. Being on the spiritual porch is being “in Christ.” That’s where spiritual preservation is (Ephesians 1: 3, 7), and the door to the spiritual porch—to being in Christ—is baptism (Romans 6:3,4).
I’d sure love to help you get to the porch. God’s given every one of us the porch door. And there’s a family of wonderful people waiting for you on the porch!