October 6 I Saturday
“For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” —Romans 6:5
There are two words that describe the main aspects of salvation. The first word is “redemption,” which means “to buy something back.” In the Old Testament, “redemption” is used to speak of delivering things from evil in some way, whether it be property, fields, animals, people and even the nation of Israel. The New Testament then uses the word to speak of Christ’s act of salvation on the cross. The other word, “regeneration,” is the end for which we are redeemed. In a Christian context, regenerate means “to re-impart life,” which assumes there was life lost that needs to be restored.
Although redemption and regeneration happen simultaneously, some Christians think the Christian life stops with redemption. They think the main issue of the Gospel is whether they can confidently stand before God when they get to heaven. Forgiveness is certainly necessary to the Gospel, but our problem is not simply that we are guilty and need forgiving; it is that we are separated from God and need His life. Conversely, spiritual life is not something we receive when we die; we are immediately indwelt by the life of God the moment we believe.
If the Christian life were only about forgiveness, then the symbol of baptism would end with going underwater. But there is a resurrection in the Gospel, symbolized by being raised out of the water, and that resurrection is the impartation of the life of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus told His disciples that He would soon be going to His Father, He said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever—the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17). The Spirit is not only with us but in us, making us increasingly like Christ and empowering us to live according to all His fullness and resources.
Living this new life is living in union with Christ. It is living in daily dependence on Him so that His character, activity and agenda are expressed in us and through us. It is a life of intimacy with God where out of love for Him we spend time getting to know Him through prayer and reading His Word. It is living in a disposition of trust and obedience, serving Him no matter our job or location by His power and enabling. The Christian life is not merely about forgiveness nor the result of our capacity to imitate God; it is about God’s capacity to reproduce His character in us who are risen with Christ and who have been made regenerate by Him.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, what a blessing to know that by being united with You, I am risen with You. Thank You for the life You impart to believers by Your Spirit.