By Sam Gutierrez
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
In these recent blog posts we’ve been exploring the sacrament of Baptism. Last time we looked at adoption. Today, I want to highlight another major theme: Death and Resurrection.
A sacrament is a means of grace. This means that in and through the sacraments, we know and experience something important about who God is and what God is like. Just like water, God’s grace flows and saturates us. God is a generous gift giver to loves to pour out his goodness.
We are the recipients of this generous gift giving. As a result, with our hearts full of gratitude, we offer our lives back to God – mirroring his generous self-giving.
In previous blog posts, we talked about two gifts (graces) that God wants to give us: forgiveness of sins and adoption into his family. These are easier to explain and easier to accept. But baptism is also about dying and rising.
In an earlier blog, I talked about the mind-bending spiritual law: whatever goes down, must come up. In baptism, this spiritual dynamic is made visible. Jesus went down and came back up. We also must go down in order to come up. We have to humble ourselves in order to be exalted. We have to die in order to live. We must go down in order to go up. But, we can’t do this on our own. We need to get linked into Jesus’s life, death and resurrection. Only Jesus is good enough and strong enough to overcome sin and death. The gift that God wants to give us in baptism is HIS death. He also wants to give us the gift of HIS life. This is why Paul so clearly states that “for you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3)
The theme of death and resurrection is where full immersion adult baptism really shines. The old life, the old self, the old identity, the old efforts and being “good enough” are buried (die) – and there is an embracing of a new life, new self, new identity, new purpose and new power.
For this week, I’d like to encourage you to touch your forehead and say the words, “I’m baptized.” Now touch your forehead and say, “I’ve died with Christ and I’m alive in Christ.” When we do this, we acknowledge that we are dying to our old way of sin and receiving the gift of new life in Christ.