New Life Through Death
Romans 5:12-21; 6:1-3 (NLT) When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death [separation from the life God had for us], so death spread to everyone [one man got us in a mess] . . . . Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many . . . . . But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ [entering into a different kind of life]. Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone . . . . So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 6:1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin [to our old way of life], how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?
Water baptism is not a checklist item in Christianity. Water baptism is a supernatural identification with Christ. Identification is, “The process of finding out who someone is.” The life Adam lost is the life Jesus recovered.
Mark 8:31-34 (VOICE) He [Jesus] went on to teach them many things about Himself: how the Son of Man would suffer; how He would be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes; how He would be killed; and how, after three days, God would raise Him from the dead. He said all these things in front of them all, but Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke Him. Jesus said, “Get behind Me, you tempter! You’re thinking only of human things, not of the things God has planned . . . . If any one of you wants to follow Me, you will have to give yourself up to God’s plan, take up your cross, and do as I do.
The first step in the process of identification is death. The old me must die so the new me can emerge.
1. In baptism we identify with Christ by dying with Him.
Adam brought us a life of base desires; selfishness, jealousy, envy, and craving what we do not have.
James 4:1-2 (NIRV) Why do you fight and argue among yourselves? Isn’t it because of your sinful desires? They fight within you. You want something, but you don’t have it. So you kill. You want what others have, but you can’t get what you want. So you argue and fight. You don’t have what you want, because you don’t ask God [don’t live in union with God].
We are dying to a life that is lived separate from God.
Romans 6:4 (NLT) For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
2. In baptism we identify with Christ by being buried with Him.
Colossians 2:12-14 (NLT) For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
It is the burial that certifies death. A dead man can be resuscitated, but not a buried man. Burials must be public.
Romans 6:5-8 (NLT) Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
3. In baptism we gain a new identity.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NLT) Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them . . . . 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Live like Jesus. Live on mission.