Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shall we go on sinning? Part 3

3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

Is it possible they’ve missed the point of grace!?  What Paul intends to do here is draw a reminder for them.  He says, don’t you remember that when you were baptized… you were crucified with Christ!  We are not only dead to our former ways, but they are buried.  To return to our old ways would mean returning to that old self.  It is like a dog that returns to its own vomit and eats it… Proverbs 26:11 - Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.

Now, Paul references literal water baptism here to remind them of the statement they were making when they were baptized.  While not mandatory for salvation, baptism is important of course because we are commanded to do it.  But in baptism we are making the public announcement that we are renouncing our past life and professing to have a new identity.  As I said, the significance of it gets lost sometimes in our day because we are safe in the church when we baptize…

In Paul’s day and in many foreign countries still today, baptism was done in a public place.  No baptisteries in the church or anything like that.  You got baptized in the nearest river or lake or whatnot… Baptism in the Bible exclusively declared that your loyalty was to Christ.  This was a risky declaration.  It often put the believer’s life in jeopardy… as well as their families’ lives. 

A Romans Christian faced death because you were only to be loyal to Caesar.  Not anyone else.  But being a Christian meant Christ over Caesar and that meant immediate death for treason.  Paul reminds them that being a Christian means that you are dead to your sin and are resolved to never go back to it.

Galatians 3:27 - For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
The message being sent is this.  RESPOND TO YOUR CALLING CHRISTIANS!  Or else in your continued disobedience you prove that you are in fact alive to sin and if alive to sin, you are dead to Christ.  The emphasis in this passage is not on the act of baptism but rather what it stands for.

But what if I do sin?  Because obviously Christians at some time sin don’t they?  As a Christian you cannot return to sin in the same was as you once did.  An adult can act like a child at times, but an adult cannot BE a child.  He can never go back to being a child.

In the same way, if you are truly born again you cannot return to a lifestyle of sin.  Well you might be thinking… well how do I know the difference?  How do I know if I am a stumbling in sin or living in it?  Well, ask yourself, if when you sin… what comes to mind first?  How you can hide what you’ve done or do your thoughts immediately go to the Gospel.  Remembering what Christ has done for you on the cross?  Do your think about how what you are doing is not only wrong or shameful… but not God honoring behavior?

You may not like to hear it, that God will make a Christian’s life harder if there is persistent sin struggles, but you know it is true… Have you not had times when life was difficult and you could trace it back to being a direct result of something sinful you did?  And that increased difficulty… that corrective discipline… it is intended to further sanctify you and put you back squarely on the path God has set for you. 

To send you BACK to the Savior.  Trusting in Him more and more.  1 John 4:4 - You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

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