We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Wanted: Dead and Alive!
You have probably seen it in old Western movies. The bandit robs a train and gets away with a bag full of gold. But his portrait ends up on a poster with the words, “WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE!” You wouldn’t want your image on a poster like that.
However, God has a poster in mind with you on it. The caption reads, “WANTED: DEAD AND ALIVE!” God wants you dead to sin and living for Christ. Rather than a bounty hunter, God sends out his Holy Spirit. And rather than a revolver, the Holy Spirit uses Baptism to bring you in.
Baptism is not a symbolic ceremony. In Baptism, the Holy Spirit connects us to Jesus Christ and gives us a share in his saving work. Our sin makes us deserving of death, but Jesus took our place. The life he lived, he gives to us. The death he died, he died for us. In Baptism, every one of Jesus’ acts become our own. When he was crucified, we were crucified. When he died, we died. When he was buried, we were buried. Our sinful nature is crucified, died, and was buried with Christ in Baptism. We are free from all our spiritual debts.
This doesn’t give us an excuse, though, to go on a sinning spree. Why would we want to go back into debt? Just as Jesus is risen from the dead, in Baptism we too have a new life! In Baptism, God changes us and changes what pleases us. Sin does not please God, and therefore we are never pleased to sin. The meaning of Baptism for our daily life is that we live to please God.
Dead AND Alive. That’s what God has made us. Dead to sin and alive to walk the way of Christ.
Heavenly Father, in Christ I am a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come. Help me to die each day to sin and revive me to do what pleases you. Amen.