A Note From Chris June 24, 2021


One of the most encouraging and vivid pictures of baptism in the New Testament is in Romans 6, where Paul is addressing the temptation that some people apparently had to abuse grace by sinning more so God could forgive even more. That warped mindset suggests that by sinning more, we are actually expanding the grace of God, which is a good thing. Not so much. God doesn’t need our help in extending the bounds of his grace. Paul connects his teaching on grace to baptism, this action we take in obedience to God when we choose to trust in him:

Romans 6:1-7 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 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. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

That language that he uses in verse 3 about being joined with Christ (other translations say united with Christ) is that same sort of language used to describe marriage. Two different people are joined in a unique way, a way that no other relationship is joined. Marriage is a joining of two people emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually. Paul uses that language to help us understand the power in the union we have with Christ, and he connects it to baptism. When we are baptized, we are asking Christ to be joined with us in the most intimate, most unique relationship any person can have with God. Verse 5 says we are united with him. That language is used elsewhere to describe two pieces of cloth being sewn together to make one complete fabric. What an incredible gift God has offered us!

I often tell people I don’t know why God picked baptism as the action we take in receiving him as Lord. He could have picked side-hugs or high fives or whatever he wanted. But he chose baptism. I suspect one reason is because of the physical reminder baptism is to what is truly happening spiritually. Going into the water (death), buried under water (like a grave), and rising out of the water (new life) all are representative of what God is doing supernaturally in us. And like baptism, we don’t do much ourselves. When someone asks me what they need to do during their baptism, I often say, “Hold your breath!” Someone else prepares the water, does the dunking, and hands you a towel. Similarly, God does the heavy lifting in our hearts. Our job is simply to obey and unite ourselves with him.

This Sunday night is Cornerstone Nights – a worship and baptism experience at our Shiloh campus. We will meet outside (bring a chair) for worship, a short message, and prayerfully multiple baptisms! If you’ve been considering baptism and would like to be baptized in obedience to Christ this Sunday night, please email cornerstone@onecornerstone.org! Let’s all be in prayer for the event as we prepare for a great time of worship together.

Sunday morning we will continue in our Exodus series. Join us in person or online at 9:30 or 11:00.

Yours and His,
Chris VandeLinde

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