History of Redemption: Blog Post 33
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. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. - Romans 6:4 ESV; 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV.
What a wonderful week to think about and dwell on these words, when this past Sunday we got to gather at Marine park, and watch 14 members of our Redeemer family be baptized, as the sunlight danced off of the water behind them. Truly, I felt the weight of this means of grace for our church, as we celebrated this outward sign of the inward regeneration that had taken place within each of them, and as we remembered that we who walk with Christ have been identified with Him in His death, burial and resurrection. It was a powerful and moving experience for me, and I thank God for the gift of baptism for those in His church. He has blessed us richly.
I am struck today by the words “new creation”. Those who have been saved by grace are not “different” or “better” or merely “on the right path”, they are a new creation. The word creation seems to imply such a radical change, that the person is no longer the same person at all, but has been changed COMPLETELY. Not one ounce of that person is who they were before they accepted this gift, but they are altogether a new person. Who were they before? They were a bag of bones, the walking dead, with the wrath of God bearing down upon them. “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world ... and were by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3). This should cause you and I to tremble.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us ... made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). It has been said that Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people, alive. If ever there was a cause to celebrate, this is it! Those 14 men and women who were baptized, were vessels of wrath who have now been resurrected in “newness of life”, and are now vessels of grace, freed from wrath of God, justified, adopted into His family as sons and daughters, to the praise of His glorious grace! I can think of no greater reason to throw a party that this, that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Let us continue to celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to give much thanks and adoration to Him who has blessed us so richly.
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).