“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land that I should not destroy it, but I found no one.
Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deed on their own heads,” says the Lord God (Ezekiel 22:30-31).
Mind the Gap is an expression quite familiar to those who have traveled in Great Britain and have had an opportunity to ride London subways (they call them the ‘tube’ or the ‘underground’). The ‘gap’ is a small but potentially dangerous gap between the platform and the subway car.
In this passage, God expects someone to come forward to “stand in the gap”—that is, to intercede—for these rebellious people of Judah and Jerusalem—they are in a dangerous position spiritually, and they desperately need an effective defender.
Finding no one from among them, God here entrusts the prophet Ezekiel with this dire message of frustration and anger over their persistent sins—He has the prophet tell them they all will, therefore, suffer His indignation.
The beautiful message of Christianity is that we—mankind—have someone to Mind the Gap for us. Rather than standing a guilty distance from God because of our sins, we have a Savior—Jesus Christ—who sits at God’s right hand, ever interceding on behalf of His obedient children. May we ever show our deep, abiding gratitude by living a life devoted to Him and His Great Cause.
“There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).
Peter has just explained the significance of the ark in the days of Noah and here compares it with baptism in the Christian Age. The ark saved those who chose to get on board back then just as baptism in water saves those who submit to it today.
He further explains that it is not the taking of a bath, but it is the answer of a good conscience toward God—the only way a person can have a good conscience toward God is when he does what God has commanded.
And this process of salvation can take place only because Jesus conquered death when he was resurrected from the grave by the power of God—for salvation to be offered, Jesus had to die, be buried, and be resurrected. Today, when a person submits to baptism in water, he or she symbolically reenacts this process. Peter says baptism, then, saves us.
“Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-38).
The evangelist Philip has joined the Ethiopian traveling along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza and has preached “Jesus” to him. As a result of this teaching, the Ethiopian knows he needs “belief” in Jesus and “water” for salvation.
Philip tells him what he still lacks before he can be baptized: expression of faith. The Ethiopian shows his desire to change his life (that is, repent) as he states his faith in Jesus as God’s Son, and Philip baptizes him. This classic account from the beginning days of Christianity presents a solid illustration for actions every person must take if he or she desires salvation.
Jesus has given His life on the cross—He shed His blood—to validate this plan for all mankind. And this is the plan to which God expects us to submit if we want forgiveness and assurance of salvation—that is, an eternal home in heaven.
“Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22).
Simon, known as the sorcerer in Samaria, has become a Christian through faithful obedience to the plan of salvation, culminating in his being baptized for the remission of sins.
Soon after his obedience, Simon observes Peter and John exercise the miraculous power given them by the Holy Spirit; he immediately asks if he can buy it, thus, sinning. The Apostle Peter speaks the words in this text to him as a remedy for the sin he has just committed. This passage shows that believers can sin.
When obeying the gospel, we confess our faith in Jesus as the Son of God. When we sin after our obedience, we pray that God will forgive us or we ask a fellow Christian to pray for us; thus, God’s plan allows us every opportunity to maintain a faithful relationship with Him.