February 17, 2023 Devotional
For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
What do we think about when it comes to baptizing a new believer into the Christian faith? I once heard a pastor talk about how, when they baptized people at his church, they also handed out engraved little tombstones to each new convert. While this is quite unusual, I believe it speaks volumes about the reality of the true Christian.
You see, for the Christian, being justified by grace also means we have died with Christ. Now, since no believer was literally crucified with Christ (all our thanks and praise be to God for this!), the sense of our dying with Christ is symbolic for a spiritual truth. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” We are literally deemed a new creation and told that the old has passed away. Paul explains this a little further in Galatians 5:24, saying, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”. As Christians, righteousness is given, not attained. As those whose lives were laid down with Christ’s, we can have comfort in knowing that our status before God is completely and totally independent of ourselves and dependent upon the work Christ has done in our place.
We are freed from the condemnation brought on by the law and brought into union with the Spirit of Christ at work within us. This is such wonderful news for the believer! We are free in Christ from the burden of the law and the terrors of death and sin. Romans 6:12-13 says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness”. God brought us forth even while we swam in the cesspools of our sin and iniquity, and He made us alive together with Christ, even seating us in the Heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 2:5-6). We have been created with a completely new perspective, a heavenly one. A perspective that is so completely and utterly focused and empowered by the love of such a wonderful Savior and God. Are we living with this perspective this very day? Are our lives marked by love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal.5:22)? None of us will lead a perfect life as Christ did. However, when we fall, we must realize we can fall no lower than the heavenly places we have already been seated in. Let the security of our heavenly perspective, that is, our sheer realization of the immensely wonderous love that flows from the wounds of our Savior, drive every thought and motive of our hearts and may we live in exuberant expectation of the promises He has set before us in His Word.