Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6: 4 

This is one of those times when I feel the need to share one of my secrets, reveal a truth about the way that my mind works that is not one that I let out very often. You see, there are far too many ways that I forget the basic and vital fact that I am not the same as I was. In some ways this is the inevitable result of time and age; for, I have less hair, more wrinkles, and my knees creak more than before. Still, in many other ways the changes are much more important and are absolutely progressive and gloriously positive. 

When I start thinking about the negative and the impossible in my life, when these become my mind’s focal point, I have forgotten who I am. On the days when I doubt that God could possibly have anything useful for me to do, I have stopped listening to His voice. When I stop forgiving and start dwelling on the wrong that I think has been done to me, I have closed my heart to Christ’s love. Sadly, the list can keep going, for I do waste far too much of my life living in the past. In addition to this tendency to reside in the dusty halls of history, I also act and react to situations and to people in ways that are triggered and inspired by my old heart and mind.  

The old, earth bound, sin buried person was placed in a lead-lined box and stuck six feet under when I allowed Jesus into my life. A new, Spirit-filled me was reborn and freed to soar. There are still hard aspects to this life, bad decisions by me and evil intent by others will come my way, but I am free to react to it all from the perspective of God’s grand view and with His strength. As aspects of my dead and buried old being surface, and they will, I need to stop and look upon the face of glory that is the Spirit of Christ living in me. I need to speak my fears and confess my weakness to God; then, He always refocuses my eyes and redirects my mind onto the image of Christ that I am now becoming.   

We were buried therefor with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6: 4

The idea of baptism, as it has been practiced as a right and a sacrament by the church since days before Paul, is certainly being discussed here. Yet, it is not this act that brings about the important result that is mentioned. Without contemplation of means or of method, that is absent discussion of immersion verses sprinkling and babies and/or adults, the act of wetting down a person does nothing beyond announcing and proclaiming the reality of a relationship that is formed in the heart and is made real by virtue of the work of the Spirit of Christ within a person. Thus, the real baptism into Christ’s death takes place in the realm of the mystical and carried out by the Spirit. This is a work that is done as a part of that wonderous event that we often call conversion or new birth in Christ. In fact, this death of the old self is an essential part of the life-long journey of faith that is commenced when each of us surrenders our life to Christ.

We are allowed to experience the shame of the criminal’s death on the cross through Jesus’ literal pain, agony, and death there. He was innocent and undeserving of that fate, and we are each guilty and have more than earned the punishment that Christ endured. More so, the shame of this torturous implement is also ours as our sinfulness is viewed in contrast to God’s standard of holiness and righteous living. So, God requires that we surrender ourselves in full and total submission to Him; thus, we do place the comforts, the selfish pleasures, and the defining compulsions of our prior lives upon that altar of redemption. We undergo the process of dying to self with its literal, if spiritual, burial of who and what we were in a grave that also leads to our spiritual union with Christ. From this earthy and darkened place, we are raised up into the light of new life, and this is also something that is accomplished by the work of the Spirit alone.

From this point forward, we are called upon by Christ to seek to live out our days as followers of God’s way and doers of His will. Although this is something that we participate fully in as we are asked to set our eyes on Christ and ground our minds in God’s Word while surrendering our hearts to the leading of the Spirit, the strength needed and the power that living out this transformed life requires is provided by Christ through the presence of His Spirit. So, this is how we walk in the newness of life, and this is what it means to live in the fullness of the kingdom of God as it has come to be our own reality. In Christ we are made new, and through Christ’s work, as it is carried out in our bodies, the world that we touch is also transformed into a place where the Godly characteristics of love, justice, mercy, and peacemaking are tangibly present. Although this walk in the newness of life in Christ will never be easy as it operates in direct opposition to the ways of this world, it does place us in the center of the redemption that Christ has caused to exist here as a result of His resurrection in which we have now been joined.           

We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6: 4

 

Everyone experiences death. It is that great inevitable that hovers above each of our lives. We encounter its reminders on an almost daily basis, too. There is no escaping the influence that death with its loss and with its finality has on us and on our world. Yet, for those who truly know God by way of living in a relationship with Christ, death has gained a fuller and a very different emphasis and meaning. In Christ, the finality of the grave is a radically redefined sort of terminus, for Christ brings us together with Him into the presence of God, the Father, in a glorious celebration of our setting aside of the pain and the trials of living in this foreign and hostile land of our temporary wandering. Through Christ we come to our permanent home in the splendid perfection of heaven.

 

But the death that Paul is speaking of here is of a different sort. It is different; yet, it should still lead to just as profound a change and a transition in our lives as does the one that comes at the end of earthly life. This is a death that God calls upon all people to accept. It is also one that only some will dare to believe in and to trust Christ enough in order to surrender into its finality. Christ tells us to deliberately leave our well-established and familiar lives behind as we purposefully climb into the grave of submission to God’s will. As we join Christ in His death, it is His blood that cleanses us from all of the sin that has separated us from God, and it is His intervention before the Father that gains us a verdict of innocent from the only high court that matters.

 

Yet it is the next step that is most significant. Just as the Father pronounced His final victory over sin and over death as He raised Christ out of His tomb, so too we join in that victory. Christ leads us into a new life. This is not just a different lifestyle; rather, it is a life that is lived from a completely redefined perspective. We are made new by and through our relationship with Christ. Although this fact does not diminish the intensity of the struggle that we will encounter during the process of leaving our old, deeply ingrained ways of thinking and of acting behind, now there is hope and a promise of victory. Now Christ enfolds us into His resurrection. In this new life we should expect to walk daily in the company of God’s loving community. As we walk in our newness Christ goes with us into this day, and He uses us to claim His victory over the death that sin tries to bring into our world

We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6: 4

 

Everyone experiences death. It is that great inevitable that hovers above each of our lives. We encounter its reminders on an almost daily basis, too. There is no escaping the influence that death with its loss and with its finality has on us and on our world. Yet, for those who truly know God by way of living in a relationship with Christ, death has gained a fuller and a very different emphasis and meaning. In Christ, the finality of the grave is a radically redefined sort of terminus, for Christ brings us together with Him into the presence of God, the Father, in a glorious celebration of our setting aside of the pain and the trials of living in this foreign and hostile land of our temporary wandering. Through Christ we come to our permanent home in the splendid perfection of heaven.

 

But the death that Paul is speaking of here is of a different sort. It is different; yet, it should still lead to just as profound a change and a transition in our lives as does the one that comes at the end of earthly life. This is a death that God calls upon all people to accept. It is also one that only some will dare to believe in and to trust Christ enough in order to surrender into its finality. Christ tells us to deliberately leave our well-established and familiar lives behind as we purposefully climb into the grave of submission to God’s will. As we join Christ in His death, it is His blood that cleanses us from all of the sin that has separated us from God, and it is His intervention before the Father that gains us a verdict of innocent from the only high court that matters.

 

Yet it is the next step that is most significant. Just as the Father pronounced His final victory over sin and over death as He raised Christ out of His tomb, so too we join in that victory. Christ leads us into a new life. This is not just a different lifestyle; rather, it is a life that is lived from a completely redefined perspective. We are made new by and through our relationship with Christ. Although this fact does not diminish the intensity of the struggle that we will encounter during the process of leaving our old, deeply ingrained ways of thinking and of acting behind, now there is hope and a promise of victory. Now we are enfolded by Christ into His resurrection. In this new life we should expect to walk daily in the company of God’s loving community. As we walk in our newness Christ goes with us into this day, and He uses us to claim His victory over the death that sin tries to bring into our world.