“Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” vs. 4
For Paul the crucifixion of Jesus was the central part of the gospel, and as he pondered it through his life he realized that unless believers embraced Jesus’ death their lives would likely remain unchanged. In fact he saw the lack of change in the congregations he served. People were being baptized but nothing was happening–they were continuing to live exactly as they had before. They had failed to see that they had been buried with Jesus in their baptisms. Their old sinful selves had been put to death. We still have a tough time grasping that truth. What Paul is saying is that in order to have new life we first of all have to die–and that is most definitely not an easy thing to do. It means identifying all the sin that defiles our lives and then nailing it to the cross–it means putting to death all our self-centered pride and egotism together with our selfish desires and addictions. That’s what baptism is, not a once for all time ceremony that gets us into the church but a daily washing and cleansing that is intimately connected to the grace of Christ. And once we’ve done that thorough self-examination, then and only then will we be ready to embrace Easter and celebrate the resurrected and restored new life that is ours in Christ.
Thought for the Day: What needs to die in me?