January 22, 2015

Living a New Life

Romans 6:1-14

Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

—  Romans 6:4

Standing at the grave of a loved one, we feel the weight of death. Conversations fall ­silent. Hopes and dreams meet up against the hard reality of ­mortality.

Death separates.

Anyone who has lost a close friend or family member has felt the weight of this separation. Death leaves an aching hole, an empty space wherever that loved one used to be.

But through the gospel, even something as terrible as death can speak a word of hope. The death of Jesus separates us from the power of sin in our lives. And the death of a believer separates that person from the struggle with sin and brokenness in this life.

Nor does death have the final word. In God's redemptive plan, resurrection follows death. Believers will live with Christ. What's more, all who believe in Jesus do not need to wait for physical death in order to begin living the new life in Christ. The power of sin is broken in our lives, and like Jesus, we begin to live for God. Baptism reminds us that we live as different people: not as those forever left in the clutches of sin and death, but as those destined for a life of God's glory.

How do you see yourself? By God's grace, the weight of sin and death give way to the new life in Christ, giving hope even over the grave.

Lord, I believe that you suffered death for my sake and rose again to give eternal life. Break the power of sin in me. Give me hope even in the face of the grave. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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