Ask God to orient or reorient you to himself. Confess any known sin. Thank him for his forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and his sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s word. Pray for others in your life that they too would know and love God today.
“1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 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. 5 If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.”
When I read verses 3-5, I can’t help but think of Paul writing it with a look of bewilderment on his face, as if he can’t believe they would even think such a thing. If you have kids, it’s like when you’ve clearly explained something pertinent to living under your roof, then out of nowhere, they say something stupid. Your first response is to kind of go back on your heals and then you respond with something like, “Have you forgotten what I’ve been telling you?” It’s the kind of statement that is used to remind a person of what they already know. I think this was what Paul was doing here—reminding his readers of what he’s already told them. By identifying with Christ, we are fully submerged into His death and resurrection. By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone—it’s true; it’s the objective reality of our lives.
I like how Philips captured this thought when he wrote: “We were dead and buried with Him [Christ] in baptism, so that just as He was raised from the dead by that splendid revelation of the Father’s power so we too might rise to life on a new plane altogether.” This is the reality of our life as believers. The old age in which we lived is dead. It died when we put our faith in Christ. But the story doesn’t end there. With the death of the old way of life, the new way—the new age—is ushered into our lives by the resurrection. In this way, we are united with Christ.
It’s important to understand that it is not the act of the physical baptism that brings this change; it is through placing our faith in Christ that we are united with Him. When Paul wrote his letter, baptism so closely followed conversion that the two were considered part of one event. Although baptism is not a means by which we enter into a vital faith relationship with Jesus Christ, it is closely associated with faith. Baptism depicts graphically what happens as a result of the Christian’s union with Christ, which comes through our faith in Him.
Baptism is a picture of reality—objective reality. We have been symbolically buried with Christ through baptism and raised from dead to life with Him in order that we may walk in a new way of life! This is why it was so absurd to think that we can “continue to sin so that grace may increase.” We were raised with Christ because of the Glory of God so that we could walk in a new life. We’ve died to the things that controlled us so we could live in the new life under the Spirit’s power.
Take some time today and think about what it means to be set free from your old way of life, think about what it means to “live in the new life,” the life that is symbolized in baptism, and was brought about by your union with Christ.
*From what you have just read and considered what is a real implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer for today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through his Spirit as you go through your day. Ask him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell him “Yes” to his will today and ask him for his power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask him to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY TODAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.