WANTED: Dead and Alive
“The old man has been put to death just as decisively as Christ died upon the accursed tree.” —John Murray
Baptisms are one of the great things about being a pastor. When I get to dunk someone and then pull them out of the water—man, it’s just like the best of the best. Water baptism is an outward expression of the inner transformation of Christ, and when someone makes that public expression, it just invigorates me from head to toe.
The word baptize means “to place into” or to “identify with.” Sometimes that means into water, but sometimes it means something else:
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? —Romans 6:3
This is not a verse about water baptism. It says we have been placed into Christ… and we have been placed into His death. This is a God mystery, but it’s true. The phrase is repeated again:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. —Romans 6:4
Whoa! What happened to the old you? You were placed into Christ Jesus, you were placed into His death on the cross, and you were also placed into the tomb with Him when He was buried. This is not theological trivia. This is how it happened—this is how it had to happen—in order that you too may live a resurrected life in Christ (because He can’t dwell in something sinful). This is spiritual reality, the truth about your identity in Christ—something that only God can do and has done outside of the natural realm.
Father, I ask that You would give me a moment to pause, right now, to contemplate what You say is true about my nature—that I am both dead to sin, and alive in Christ. This is too deep, too profound for me. I need You to lead me into the Truth so that I can be free to live according to my new nature as the Spirit leads and empowers me. Amen.
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