March 16, 2011

Baptized Into His Death

Romans 6:1-4

Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:3


What in the world is Paul talking about when he says we have “died with Christ,” as we discussed yesterday? To begin with, Paul is referring to something that has happened in our own experience.

First, says Paul, you died to sin at some moment in your own experience. “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death.”

That may confuse us if we were baptized as infants. In the early days of Christianity, most of the people to whom Paul was writing were adult converts who were baptized after personal repentance and faith. Their baptism was for them a visible expression of their death to sin and their resurrection to righteousness. But more than that, their baptism pointed to the power of the cross and resurrection that brings new life in Christ.

But even if we haven’t had the experience of adult baptism because we were baptized as infants, the symbolism is just as real and powerful. Because I am a believer in Christ, there was a moment in my life when I died to sin. And now, whenever I see someone baptized or I reflect on the sacrament of baptism, I receive a powerful reminder of that moment, confirming my new life in Christ.

Holy Spirit, stir up the memory of our death to sin, presented in the powerful picture of baptism, so that we may celebrate our new life in Christ. Amen.

About the author — Stanley Mast

Beginning in 1971, Rev. Stanley Mast has served churches in Missouri, Colorado, and Michigan. After teaching at Calvin Theological Seminary for a few years, he was the minister of preaching at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, until his retirement in 2012. Stan and his wife, Sharon, enjoy time with their two sons and five grandchildren.

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