Scripture Reading: Romans 6:1-14, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Colossians 3:1-11
My daughter was baptized a few months ago.
She decided to follow Jesus in her elementary years, and considered baptism a long while until she entered middle school. The week prior, a pastor from our church sat down in our kitchen to talk to her about the weight of this decision. She was choosing to publicly testify Christ as her Lord to anyone who asked. This was a commitment to follow and serve Jesus no matter what, even when it was difficult.
The following Sunday she wrote a letter to Jesus, just between them, and pinned it to a wooden cross at the front of our sanctuary before taking her turn in the waters. As her daddy lowered her beneath the water he offered the words, “buried with Jesus in the likeness of His death, and raised to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
Scripture says we joined Jesus in His death when we were baptized. Death no longer rules over Christ Jesus, nor does it rule over those who believe in Him. What’s more, when we died with Christ, we were set free from the power of sin. “For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time.” As believers in Christ Jesus, we are to “consider [ourselves] dead to sin and alive to God” (vv. 9-11).
But if we’ve truly died to sin, why do we continue to live in it? The act of sharing in Christ’s death wouldn’t be a one-time thing any more than taking communion would be a one-time thing. In fact, we’re told to examine our hearts before we take the bread and the cup (1 Corinthians 11:27). We ought to examine our hearts in everything and invite God to search our hearts too (Psalm 139:23).
When we take a lackadaisical approach to our sin, we give it room to rule over us, to distract us. As those who have been crucified with Christ, sin is no longer our ruler. We are not under the law but under grace (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:14).
This begs the question: What in my life needs to die each day? What has become an idol, a security, a focus, or a prop that has pushed God aside? I never seem to see sin enter my heart until I hear it roll off my tongue—a little sarcasm here, a critique there. Then envy soon follows, before resentment settles in and camps out.
For starters, my pride needs to die. It needs to die a thousand deaths. It’s the temptation of the religious leader to get puffed up by our words, thinking the message is ours. But the truth is that God has planted His Word in our hearts (Hebrews 10:16). We are simply called to speak His Word when summoned.
There’s something else that needs to die for me in this season: production. It’s time for me to get quiet after a long season of pouring out. Making room for the death of an idol opens wide the gates for a new beginning, a new imagination for what God will bring about in the days ahead. I’m walking out these days with an expectant heart, putting my ear to the ground, and listening for a fresh refrain of reverence.
I wonder, is there something that needs to die for you today? When you are joined in Christ’s death through faith, you are also raised with Him in newness of life. Laying down your idols will open the floodgates for freedom to reign once more, making room for new life to spring forth again.