Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baptism and Dying and Rising With Christ

Romans 6:1-6
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.

Paul begins this chapter with an absurd question. Shall we continue to sin . . .? He has just spent the previous five chapters presenting a righteousness that is apart from the law (Rom 3:21). The answer Paul gives here addresses a couple of things. One is how do we get people to live right if it is not by carefully following of the law? Two: If grace increases through sin, why not sin more?

Romans 6 & 7 clearly point to sin's rule and reign over the living. Christ died to and for our sins. Sin was defeated on the cross of Calvary. Our identification with Christ through faith makes us co-crucified with Him (Gal 2:2). What Christ did for us on the cross is something the law could never do.

In Chapter 6 Baptism is used to illustrate what has taken place in our lives. The word baptize literally means to dip, plunge, or immerse. A Messianic translation of this passage reads this way:

Romans 6:3-4 Or do you not know that all of us who have been immersed into Messiah Yeshua were immersed into His death? (4) Therefore, we were buried with Him through immersion into death, in order that Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so too we might walk in renewal of life.

I like the word "immersed". It reminds me that I am completely surrounded by Christ Jesus. I have left one way of living and I am completely submerged into a new way. Jesus, said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me". The old is now dead to me and I dead to it. As Christ rose from the dead, we too rise to newness of life.

What does it mean to be immersed in Christ?
Think of people at a lake. Some people sit at the shore and put their feet in the water. Others stay far from the water. There are others who like to float around on some floatation device. They are sort of half in half out. There are others enjoy diving deeply into the waters.
Which of these best describe your relationship with Christ? All of these are great options when enjoying the lake. But, when Christ calls us into a relationship, the invitation is to be immersed in Him.

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