Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 6:1-5 (NLT)
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.
Reflection: Romans 6:1-5 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
United to Christ and enslaved to God (6:1–23)
Paul’s answer to his critics is that God’s grace not only forgives sins, but also delivers us from sinning. For grace does more than justify: it also sanctifies. It unites us to Christ (1– 14), and it initiates us into a new slavery to righteousness (15– 23).
a. United to Christ, or the logic of our baptism (1– 14)
(vs 2) We died to sin. This is the foundation fact of Paul’s thesis. How can we live in what we have died to?
What is true of Christ is equally true of Christians who are united to Christ. We too have ‘died to sin’, in the sense that through union with Christ we may be said to have borne its penalty…. The New Testament tells us not only that Christ died instead of us, as our substitute, so that we will never need to die for our sins, but also that he died for us, as our representative, so that we may be said to have died in and through him…. That is, by being united to him, his death became our death.
(vs 3) The way in which we have died to sin is that our baptism united us with Christ in his death.
Baptism signifies our union with Christ, especially with Christ crucified and risen…. So union with Christ by faith, which is invisibly effected by the Holy Spirit, is visibly signified and sealed by baptism. The essential point Paul is making is that being a Christian involves a personal, vital identification with Jesus Christ, and that this union with him is dramatically set forth in our baptism.
(vs 4-5) Having shared in Christ’s death, God wants us also to share in his resurrection life.
These verses allude to the pictorial symbolism of baptism…. Sanday and Headlam put it graphically: ‘That plunge beneath the running waters was like a death; the moment’s pause while they swept on overhead was like a burial ; the standing erect once more in air and sunlight was a species of resurrection.’ It is far from certain whether the first baptisms were by total immersion… but the symbolic truth of dying to the old life and rising to the new remains, whatever mode of baptism is used.
‘In other words,’ wrote C. J. Vaughan, ‘our baptism was a sort of funeral.’ A funeral, yes, and a resurrection from the grave as well. For by faith inwardly and baptism outwardly we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection, and have thus come to share in their blessings.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen