At Mercy Hill Church we are so excited to be baptizing people this weekend. It really is something we have looked forward to for months. We believe a lot of things about baptism (it is a mark and a symbol, it comes after faith, it is by emersion, etc). But in this brief post I would like to lay out a couple things we believe about how our baptism helps us fight sin. There are a ton of reasons to get baptized, but this is certainly one!
In Chapter 6, the book of Romans says “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free[b] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Two things really jump out at me from this passage. First, the life of someone who places faith in Christ is marked by a fierce and determined fight against sin. The longer I live the more I believe the Bible when it clearly shows that justifying faith will be sanctifying faith. I think it is fitting that Paul then takes us back to baptism as he highlights the struggle against sin in the flesh. Why should we not sin? Well one prominent reason is that we are dead to it! That doesn’t mean we never sin in this world because after all, we still live in a fallen world. But the divine realty to which we are being conformed is death to sin.
Secondly, baptism gives us an earthly reminder of this spiritual reality. In Christ we have all been buried with Him in death but gloriously raised with him to new live through the very love of God. What we actually need to fight sin on a day to day basis is a remembrance of exactly what God has given us in the Gospel. Sometimes we may not feel very holy. There are times in the life of every believer when we succumb to temptation and feel the weight of unrighteousness. But what we need in those very hard and very real moments is a big giant dose of reality. I believe one thing our baptism gives us a physical memory that speaks a spiritual reality over us. I am holy because I died in sin but was raised to new life in Jesus. I am righteous because after my salvation, God sees me as He sees his very Son.