Romans 6:1b-11 "Baptized Into Christ"
My dear Christian friends,
Every time I perform a baptism . . . every time I witness a baptism, I think about how special God’s gift of baptism really is. Maybe you do too. Because he loves the souls of all people, God sends the Holy Spirit to work faith in our sinful hearts through the power of his Word and the application of plain old water. That is amazing! But that’s what God does – amazing things.
The Apostle Paul explains this in greater detail in our text. He tells us that when we are baptized into Christ Jesus our life changes . . . our life takes on new meaning. We go from our old way of life to a new life in Christ. We call it the Christian life. But before we take a look at this new life, let’s reflect back to the old way of life.
Our old way of life is called the sinful life. When Adam & Eve fell into to sin, their descendants would also be sinful. You and I inherited that sinful nature from them – we call it the Old Adam. The Old Adam – our sinful nature – wants nothing to do with the Lord and his will. Without him, we are enemies of God and we fight him by listening to Satan, by following the influence of the sinful world we live in, and by deliberately sinning against God. Yes, the unholy three pulls at us from all sides. Our thoughts, our words, and our actions do not show love and respect to God in any way. Under sin’s influence we defy God and deny God. Sin makes slaves of all of us. The Bible says, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God [Rom 3:23]. None of us can deny it.
So, something had to change. I guarantee that neither you nor I could do anything to change our sinfulness and our eternal separation from God in hell. That’s why God put together a plan that would change us and our future forever. His plan was very simple really: I will send my sinless Son to take your place and face the full punishment for your sin by suffering, being rejected by me, and by dying in your place. How is that for a plan?
Jesus came to this earth just like God said; he took on human flesh and became fully human, except for one thing – he was sinless. Jesus became the perfect sacrifice . . . he paid the ransom price by shedding his blood. He was rejected by God so we wouldn’t have to be. And then he died – he gave up his life so that you and I could be forgiven and saved. It is finished. Jesus completed God’s plan perfectly. Every detail was covered.
Furthermore, his sacrifice gave us the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the certainty of being with Jesus in heaven. Satan was defeated; sin can no longer controls us; and hell is no longer our destiny. Believing in Jesus makes us the beneficiaries of this wonderful inheritance which God offers and gives. Talk about amazing! But then, that’s what God does – amazing things.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Apostle Paul tells us about the blessings of baptism. Through Holy Baptism, we are blessed by God with the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual blessings that come our way through his working through water and the Word of God. BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST, the believer dies to sin and rises to lead a new life in Christ. This life is totally different from our old way of life. Paul reminds us that through baptism we are intimately joined to Christ. Our sins became his, and his righteousness now belongs to us. Before our baptism our sins separated us from God, but through baptism our Savior has separated us from our sins.
Through baptism, we have entered real life in Christ. This is a life filled with God’s love, forgiveness, power and guidance. Our New Man wants nothing more to do with sin. Baptism is like a funeral ceremony for sin and eternal death, and the Christian experiences a resurrection from the dead. Because we have been completely joined to Christ, we can and do live this new life of faith here on this earth, and it will find its fulfillment in heaven.
We are no longer slaves to sin. That sinful nature died with Christ; the New Man lives in Christ. Baptism effectively drowns the Old Adam. Our bodies were tools and willing servants of our sinful nature. Jesus has freed us and gives us daily strength to crush the sinful nature and live that new life to his glory. BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST means sin has no claim on us. Jesus claims us as his own.
BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST means we will also live with him. By rising from the dead, Jesus is now outside the sphere of death. He cannot and will not die again. Jesus subjected himself to that once, but that’s over. Jesus lives; he lives in glory; he lives eternally. Jesus sits on the throne; he rules over heaven and earth; he rules over all of us. Through baptism, we can be certain of our new life with Christ – here on earth, and eternally in heaven. We share in his holiness and righteousness right now, and perfectly in heaven.
My fellow Christians, all this applies to you and me. However, we aren’t fools. We recognize the battle that still is being fought within us. Our Old Adam is constantly trying to retake what it lost; our New Man is constantly trying to defend the new life Christ won for us, and to grow in love and service to our Savior. We have the certainty that we will be with Jesus in heaven – not because of what we have done, but because of all that Jesus has done. Jesus defeated Satan and death; Jesus won the victory for you and for me; Jesus empowers us to live a new and holy life. That is amazing! But that’s what God does – amazing things.
BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST! That is what we are. Our lives are changed. We turn away from sin; we turn to our Savior. We strive to please him, and not our sinful nature. We look to daily serve our Lord, and not to serve ourselves. We love Jesus more than our earthly life. It’s only when we see Jesus with the eyes of faith, that we see clearly. It’s only when we grow in his Word, that we grow in the joy of our salvation.
May baptism be more than just a ritual we go through because that’s what we do. May we always see it as the Sacrament Jesus intended it to be, and how intimately it is attached to the work of Christ, and how important it is for every soul. May we grow in the grace and love of God and serve him with our whole heart. And as the Apostle Paul said: count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. To God be the glory! Amen.