Alive – Romans 6:6-8
We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved by sin. For (the one) who has died, is free from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
Romans 6:6-8 (RSV)
To be truly honest, when I read the first part of Romans six, with all the discussion of being baptised into death with Christ, and buried with him, and united with him in death, I sometimes nod my head and smile and think, ‘Isn’t that really wonderful!’
Yet the truth is, I have absolutely no idea what Paul is talking about.
Frankly, as I reflect my life and the scripture above, I wonder what my ‘old self’ is. Yes, I know what Paul means, but I don’t feel it. I can’t remember my baptism and the destruction of my sinful body. Yet I don’t feel dead, I feel alive.
Maybe that’s the point.
Perhaps our life in Christ Jesus, both before and after, is not about feeling but about faith. As we attempt to charter a course through life, we know that we sin, but the point of baptism (and the death of the ‘old self’ – the desperate, deceitful, selfish life that spoils everything, especially community) is that we are not enslaved to sin. It can’t get a foothold in our lives and take over. Sin is no longer our master, even when we feel mastered. It is by grace we have been saved through faith.
Thus, the irony is, that even though this old sinful self which pokes its head up daily to see if the waters of baptism have dried off, we are living a life that God desires for us. To do the good works, to hear the stories of redemption, to be present in the blessing of life, so that when our natural death on earth comes, it is a blink of an eye, a transition to something we couldn’t possibly imagined once the waters of baptism were sprinkled, dipped or dunked over us.
God’s peace to you all as you experience this new life in Christ!
Pr Reid Matthias