Living out the Good News of the Gospel
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:3-7
Christ’s death on the cross and the Christian’s death to sin sound both frightening and liberating; both negative and positive. From the text, when Paul says, “Do you not know …,” he signals something every Christian should know—something Paul can assume is the experience and understanding of every believer. “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). Paul identifies that water baptism is the event in which we portray the justification by grace through faith. It is a demonstration of what becomes a reality for the individual who comes to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Paul’s intent is to guide Christians to a better understanding and application of their salvation to life. The understanding of baptism in the early church, which should be understood by Christians everywhere, is practiced and taught as a burial of the old sinful humanity and a resurrection to new life in Christ. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). With baptism as a reminder, Christians should not entertain the notion of willfully sinning. Not only that the old sinful person is dead, but a new person has replaced the old one. The new one lives with Christ. The Christian is not left to his or her own devices. The presence of Christ should mark out the life of the believer with power, in contrast to the powerlessness of sin, because of the crucifixion and resurrection (both His and ours). This means “we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6, 7). This is what it means to be a Christian. Our self-image is no longer just who we are by natural birth, but also who we are by rebirth. When we live our lives the way God called us to live by, we demonstrate the power of the gospel at work within. This is why it is “Good News;” that Jesus died to sin and rose to life, with the result that “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God” (Romans 6:10). The will to resist temptation and sin is effective only for the person in whom new life exists through the working of the Holy Spirit.