Friday

16 January 2015

“Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v. 11)

Psalm: Psalm 103


Background

At the beginning of this passage Paul is challenging those who argued that if God forgave sinners then we should go on doing wrong as the more a person did that the more God would forgive them and more grace they would receive. For Paul this idea was nonsense, for by entering into a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, we have died to such things.

Those originally listening to Paul would be very familiar to the practice of Baptism, which tended to be for adults, and was a public sign of seeking forgiveness from God and being given a new start, as was the case for people being baptized by John in the River Jordan (Mark 1:4-5). Paul takes this a step further and links the actions within a Baptism to the life of Jesus. With the practice of full immersion it's as if the water buries the person being baptized, which Paul uses as a sign of being linked to Jesus' death. Equally, the raising up out of the water is a powerful sign of being united with Christ's resurrection (verse 5). The sinful body is destroyed as part of this process (verse 6) and we are given a new life in return (verse 4).

As far as Paul is concerned, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has once and for all time (verse 10) mended the relationship between God and his creation which had been broken since the time of Adam (Romans 5:12). Death or sin no longer has power over Jesus (verse 9), and so feeling trapped by doing the wrong things or taking the wrong paths in life as a result should no longer have power over those who follow him. Instead we all have the opportunity to be "alive to God in Christ Jesus" (verse 11).


To Ponder

  • Consider times in your life when you found it hard to do the right thing and think about what it was that helped you through.
  • Pray for those who feel oppressed by what they have done wrong.
  • Give thanks for those who have experienced a new beginning to their life as a result of God's forgiveness.

 
Bible notes author:  Dr Richard Vautrey 

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