This week we’re in Easter Season!
Did you know there was such a thing? Well, think about it. We begin our Christmas celebrations with Advent, then build up to the big day celebrating Christ’s birth. But, with Easter, we celebrate Jesus’ victory at the tomb, then go through the rest of the year celebrating Easter Season, because Jesus is alive!
And, what better way to celebrate our new life with Jesus than through baptism? That’s what we’re doing Sunday at Woodland as Zoei, Jed, Jackson and Jack (I’ve known him his whole life) demonstrate their faith in Christ and show their desire to walk with Jesus all the days of their lives. And, to celebrate God’s grace to the five of you, the rest of this post is written right to you! …
So, group, what exactly is the connection between Christ’s work on the cross, the Father’s work at the tomb, the Spirit’s work of baptizing those who trust Jesus, and our work in the newly lacquered cattle tank we use as a baptistry at Woodland?
As it turns out, water baptism (like you’re doing Sunday) is an outward picture of the inner reality that those who depend on Jesus are new in Christ.
Romans 6.3-4 helps us with this: 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 (ESV).
Important to understand is that the baptism in these verses refers to the work of the Spirit of God that took place in your lives at the point when you first trusted in Jesus. This Spirit baptism means (in the full context of Romans 6) that you now have a new relatonship toward sin, because your old sins no longer stand between you and God. You’re forgiven, and you can now follow Jesus! Think of it this way …
There’s an inner reality. Jesus died and was buried, taking our sin on Himself. Then, Jesus was raised from the dead, showing the Father had accepted Jesus’ work for us. When we depend on Jesus by faith, we participate (this is deep!) in Christ’s death and burial, because we are joined by faith to Jesus. And (oh, joy!), we likewise participate in Jesus’ resurrection. That’s why we have new life with God.
This being joined to Jesus means that we’ve died to the sin that stood between us and God. And, it means that we have new life in Jesus, because we are new in Christ!
Then (and this is where water baptism comes in), there’s an outward picture. Going down in the water will point to your death to sin in Jesus. Coming up out of the water will point to your being alive to God in Jesus. And, all of this serves as a public demonstration that you are trusting in Jesus and desire to follow Him all the days of your lives.
Whew! … That’s a complex image, isn’t it? If it seems like a lot to take in, it is, and, like the Gospel itself, it’s worth spending the rest of your lives thinking about.
But, in this Easter Season, here’s the big truth that you can start to get your minds around:
Because the five of you (Zoei, Jordyn, Jed, Jackson and Jack) are depending on Jesus, you’re alive, because Jesus is alive!
Now, that is an Easter Season thought to carry with you all year, and the rest of your lives!
Bless you guys. I praise God for you … See you Sunday(:
For the rest of us, here’s a few thoughts to discuss as we think about being new in Christ …
“Baptism is an outward picture of the inner reality that those who depend on Jesus are new in Christ.” How does this definition of water baptism help you understand what goes on when people are baptized?
What about the picture of our death, burial and resurrection with Christ that we make in water baptism is particularly powerful for you?
What about this complex picture is most difficult to get your mind around?
“Because you’re depending on Jesus, you’re alive, because Jesus is alive!” How does this truth help you make the connection between the work of Jesus on the cross and your new life in Christ, if you’re trusted Jesus?
What has been your own experience with baptism?