October 4 I Thursday
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death?”
When Paul talks about being baptized into Christ, he means that we have been united with Him so that what was true of Christ becomes true of anyone who believes in Him. We are baptized into His history, which means everything that Christ accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection becomes true of us when we enter into relationship with Him.
We are united with Christ first in His death. Paul explains, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Two verses later, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Every human being is born a sinner, subject to the wrath of God and powerless to pay the penalty that sin demands, yet that penalty is demanded and must be paid.
This is why God, in His mercy, sent Jesus to earth as our substitute. The Lord Jesus, who lived a perfect life and had no sin to be atoned for, satisfied the just wrath of God in our place by dying on the cross so that we might be recipients of mercy and be forgiven. As John writes, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It is on the basis of God’s justice that He forgives us, for when we are united with Christ in His death, it is as though we paid the penalty for sin we never could on our own.
“What shall we say, then?” Paul asks, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (Romans 6:1). In other words, do we have free license to do whatever we want since we have been irrevocably justified and any sin we could ever commit has already been forgiven because of the cross? “By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2).
Being baptized into Christ’s death means we have become people who are dead to sin. Though our sinful nature remains, sin’s power over us, death, was broken on the cross. Sin is no longer a problem we have to fumble around trying to fix. Paul does urge believers not to let sin reign in their bodies any longer, for this is subjecting ourselves to a slavery we have already been freed from, but in the legal counsels of God, we are saved and secure. Because of Christ’s finished work, we can live confidently knowing that God’s justice is satisfied, our sins are forgiven and we are freed from sin’s mastery.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your death through which I have been forgiven. Please grant me the confidence to share this most important truth with others.
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