Saturday

“Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (v. 4)

Romans 6:1-14 Saturday 8 February 2014


Background

Paul addresses an important question for the Christian way oflife. Even though God's grace is so abundant and saves us from oursin and all the ways as a society, we still mess up ourrelationships; if we cannot save ourselves however hard we try;didn't that then mean there is no point in struggling to live outthe good life?

Paul gives the answer by means of the image of participation inChrist through Baptism. When we are baptized (initiated into theChristian life), we were united to Christ. In the first story ofcreation, the Spirit hovered over the chaotic waters (Genesis 1:1-2), and dry land and creationemerged from the divided waters (Genesis 1:9-11). Baptism uses this imagery. InBaptism, we symbolically go down into the waters of creation, nearto the place of the dead and through the Spirit emerge again as anew creation, purified.

Paul explained that in Baptism we chose to enter into solidaritywith Christ. Entering the baptismal waters, we died because of oursin and are buried with Christ. God raised Christ, and in the sameway, we are raised from the waters of Baptism with Christ to newlife.

Our old self is crucified with Christ. In Judaism, the sacrificeof the life of an animal restored life to the worshipper. Christ'ssacrifice restored life to the one baptized. His crucifixiondestroyed the power of sin. Paul argues that it therefore made nosense to talk about continuing in sin. We are raised to new life inChrist, and therefore all our attitudes and actions will bear thefruit of this new life. We are freed from being concerned abouttransgressions of the law to live out the more exactingrequirements of a new graced life in Christ and our fitting andright place within creation.


To Ponder

  • In what ways do you recognise the struggle in yourself tobecome a new creation? Do you notice how your old self canre-assert itself, and how you have to wrestle, but going gently onyourself, to let God's new life shine through you?
  • What feelings do you notice in yourself when your old self isuppermost? And what feelings do you notice in yourself when the newlife of Christ has free reign within you?
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