We were . . . buried with him through baptism into death in order that . . . we too may live a new life.
Sin has the value of showcasing God’s grace. Grace is good, and our sin makes grace more obvious and necessary. This makes just enough sense that someone in Paul’s day apparently suggested that we should “go on sinning so that grace may increase”!
I try to imagine how that might work with my wife: “Honey, the ways in which I will offend you today will be wonderful opportunities for you to show grace through forgiveness”!
That doesn’t work because sin is not simply a matter of something that is bad. The problem of sin is that it affects who I am at my core, and it affects all my relationships with others. That means sinning against my wife is not just about badness that needs forgiveness; it’s about our relationship. Conversely, doing what is good in my marriage is not simply about goodness that gains me credit. Doing good is about building a relationship with the one I love.
That’s what Paul is talking about when he speaks of being united with Jesus. It’s why baptism symbolizes “drowning” the badness of sin that gets in the way. The point is not just about getting rid of sin. It’s about wanting to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).
Heavenly Father, I know my lifestyle choices affect my relationship with you and my relationships with others. Please lead me in building good relationships rather than just focusing on my behavior. In Jesus, Amen.
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