Summary: A relationship with God is a life changing experience
GOD, WATER AND LIFE
SEPTEMBER 26, 2004
Romans 6:4-8 “Watermark”
A young girl boards an oceanliner for a trip to America—the new world. The emotions of fear and excitement rage within her as she climbs the gangplank. What she is doing is not an easy task. She is leaving behind family, friends and everything to which she has become accustomed. She is traveling to a new country that is filled with mysteries, challenges, dangers, possibilities, new customs and strangers. The girl has many questions, but one thing she knows for certain is that her life will never be the same.
A classmate of mind had a heart attack that was serious enough to require both by-pass surgery and also a major lifestyle adjustment. If he is to avoid another one, he must make drastic changes. He will need to eat differently, exercise on a regular basis, and deal with his stress more effectively. As if these alterations were not enough, his near death experience has also given him a new perspective on life and has caused him to understand what is really important in life. His life will never been the same
In a similar manner, life is different for Christians—as different as night and day, as death and life. The cause of this difference is the effect of baptism upon us. Paul views it as a life-changing event that becomes a watermark on our lives. Paul writes to the Christians in Roman, “Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom. 6:4).
CAUSE WITH NO EFFECTS
Paul has made his bold proclamation to the Romans, which is found in Romans 5:1. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God loves God’s creation and the people that God created. God has decided that nothing—no even sin—will stand in the way of God’s relationship with humankind. So God gave Jesus to live, die, and live again for the forgiveness of sin and for new life with God. Jesus died for everyone and there is nothing in all of creation can change that fact and God’s love for us. Our relationship with God was not dependent on our keeping the law.
Paul’s message was a scandal to many. “What good is the law then?” they asked. “Isn’t its purpose to please God so that God will love us and answer our prayers, and save us?”
For others, Paul’s message was perverted good news. They thought that if there are no consequences to sin, they could go on sinning to their hearts content.
Paul argues in this passage of Scripture that we cannot talk about continuing in our sinful ways because our baptism radically changes us. We have died and come back to life.
BAPTISM – FROM DEATH TO LIFE
Baptism is a time of our death—and new life. The early Church practiced baptism by immersion in part because of its symbolism. Those who were baptized went under the water—like they had drowned—and came back up for begin a new life. Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians “If anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation.”
Baptism is God’s claim upon us. When John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as a dove and a voice from heaven sounded, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” Though we don’t usually have as dramatic an effect at our baptisms, God is still proclaiming to us and to the world that “This is my child in whom I am well pleased.
Baptism links us to the cross of Christ. Paul writes, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him … Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (Rom. 6:6,8). As Jesus Christ died and rose again, so we die and rise again. What Jesus accomplished on the cross becomes personal in our baptism.
NEW LIFE IN CHRIST
Life with Christ is new life. Life has changed at its very center. The watermark of baptism in our lives is always present.
Baptism and life in Christ brings a renewed and restored relationship. The Scripture says that once we were enemies of God. Now we are friends of God. We can boldly say also that we are children of God.
In the old life, we either ignored God or lived that in one way, shape or form, God would judge us and punish us. In our new life we live in love and in the freedom of forgiveness. God is for us, who can be against us? We move from fear to faith, and from hate to love.
Our new life also gives us purpose and meaning. Before we lived only to survive. We worked hard and accumulated wealth and did the things we did solely for ourselves. We were focused on ourselves. Our new life gives us the abiding purpose of living to serve God and using our gifts and talents to glorify God’s name. Life is bigger as we live beyond ourselves.