Our Union With Christ

Romans 6:1-11
6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 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.
 5 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. 6 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. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
          The New Testament teaches that baptism is a rite of initiation into the Christian faith, in which a person is immersed in water or has water poured over them as a symbol of their identification with Jesus Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is seen as an outward expression of an inward change, in which the person being baptized confesses their faith in Jesus and is cleansed of their sins.
          The Old Testament does not explicitly mention the practice of baptism. However, it does contain several passages that foreshadow the concept of cleansing or purification through water. For example, in Leviticus, various laws and rituals are described for the purification of people and objects, such as the use of water for the cleansing of lepers (Leviticus 14:6-7) and the washing of hands and feet before entering the tabernacle (Exodus 30:19-21). Additionally, the Israelites were required to perform ritual washings before participating in certain religious ceremonies (Exodus 30:17-21).
          In the Old Testament, water is also frequently used as a symbol of God's judgment and cleansing. For example, in Isaiah 1:16, the prophet speaks of the Lord cleansing the people "from their sins with hyssop and from their iniquities with soap." The psalmist also speaks of being washed clean by God (Psalm 51:2).
          In the New Testament, Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17), and he later commissioned his disciples to baptize others (Matthew 28:18-20). The apostle Paul also emphasized the importance of baptism in his letters to the early churches, stating that those who are baptized are united with Christ in his death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4) and that through baptism, believers are made into one body with Christ and with one another (1 Corinthians 12:13). Additionally, the New Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit being given to believers at the time of their baptism (Acts 2:38). This is seen as a sign of God's acceptance and empowerment of the believer for service in the kingdom of God.
          Baptism is an important aspect of Christian faith and is mentioned frequently throughout the New Testament. It is a symbolic act that represents the believer's identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. When we are baptized, we are joining ourselves with Christ and participating in his death and resurrection. We are dying to our old selves and being raised to new life in Christ.
          In Romans 6, Paul compares baptism to being buried with Christ in his death. Just as Christ was buried in the tomb, we are buried with him through the act of baptism. However, this is not the end of the story. Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too are raised to newness of life through baptism. We are no longer slaves to sin, but have been set free to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
          Baptism is not just a ritual or tradition, but it is an important step of obedience for believers. It is an outward expression of the inward transformation that has taken place in our lives through faith in Jesus. It is a way of identifying with Christ and his work on the cross. As we are baptized, we are declaring to the world that we have died to our old selves and have been raised to new life in Christ.
          As believers, we have the opportunity to experience the transformative power of baptism, just as Jesus did. When we are baptized, we are united with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. This means that we die to our old selves and our old way of life, and are raised to new life in Christ. We are made new creations, with the power to overcome sin and live a life pleasing to God. This is not something we can achieve on our own, but it is made possible through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. As we continue to follow Christ and grow in our faith, let us remember the significance of baptism and the transformative power it holds for us as believers.
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