Yesterday we talked about guilt and how Jesus removes our guilt.
Once your guilt has been removed by your faith and in obedience in baptism then what is next?
The answer isn’t now I have been freed of my guilt and so now I have a license to live as if God doesn’t exist. Then God’s act is meaningless. You are still trading God in for a lesser god, namely- you.
So how do we respond to God’s grace? Paul talks about this in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
In Romans 3, as we discussed earlier, Paul said we live under the power of sin. The power of sin is death. We have brought death into our relationships, our finances, and into our dreams. Why would you want to continue in your futile ways once you have been shown the error? Why continue stubbing your toe in the dark when you have a light to keep you from the pain?
Paul then uses baptism as an illustration. It’s interesting that Paul chose this sacred institution of the church as a means of illustrating this concept. This tells us how important baptism was to the early church and the significant meaning they attached to it. It also demonstrates that Paul assumed that all of the Christians there had been baptized.
Paul says, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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.” Romans 6:3-4
In baptism we die to our old self; that part of us is dead now and we are made alive in Christ. Paul is saying don’t be a zombie. Don’t go back into living that dead way of life. You are no longer under the power os sin. You are now a slave to righteousness.
The new life Paul is walking about is living in Christ. In Galatians Paul marks out what this life looks like. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
How do you walk by the Spirit? First, you must know that you received the Holy Spirit as a gift to you the moment you placed your faith in Jesus. Peter promised in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
This is where the spiritual disciplines become important. This is why you must read your Bible, pray, and be part of a local church. As you practice these disciplines and they get into your routine you will learn how to listen and follow the Spirit. This is a facet of the Christian life where I can point you in the right direction, but you must do in order to understand how it works.
So don’t be a zombie! Live the life Jesus has given you so freely!