Our baptism demonstrates how we have died to sin and been given new life alongside Christ’s death and resurrection. This is our new identity and it must shape how we view ourselves and others.
Because Paul had just written in Romans 5 that whenever sin is great God’s grace is even greater, some carnal-minded people thought that they should become even greater sinners in order to increase God’s grace. In the focus scripture above, Paul responds: NEVER! Don’t you know who you are? Then he appeals to their baptism to remind them of the life that they have been given. When lowered down into the water, you are identified with Christ unto death. When lifted up out of water, you are identified with Christ’s resurrection.
Then in the following verses found in Romans 6:5-11, we read that baptism declares that when we place all of our trust in Christ, we are united with his death. Although this will not be fully realized until Jesus returns, we are in some real sense dead to sin. However, our identification with Christ’s resurrection impacts our present. Because we are united with Christ in this way, we are able to unleash the newness of life that reflects our relationship with the resurrected Christ.
Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection changed everything and therefore believing in it ought to change how we view everything and everyone. Our challenge is to get our minds to align with this truth.
A passage that exhibits the truth of our baptism is found in 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, which reads, “For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
In some sense, everyone died when Christ died on the cross. This is why God isn’t holding anyone’s sin against them. Therefore we no longer view others from “a human point of view,” a natural way of assessing things in fallen world where we judge by appearances. If anyone is in Christ they are a NEW CREATION. We must see everyone as included in what God did on the cross. We must reframe the way we see and think about people so that it lines up with the truth that Christ died for all, and therefore all have died. This means that we look at everyone with an eye of hope.
Not only are we to see others in light of the cross and resurrection, but we also apply this to how we see ourselves. We too often walk around embracing lies about ourselves that keep us in bondage to the part of our old self that is dead. We are not able to see who we really are in the victorious truth of our baptism. We are freed when we embrace the identity that has been given to us through the resurrection life.
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