Our Latest eVotional
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:3-4, 11
Years ago the popular Baptist preacher, R. G. Lee, was visiting the Holy Land. While there he wanted to see Gordon’s Calvary, thought by some to be the hill where Jesus was crucified. But Lee didn’t just want to see Gordon’s Calvary, he wanted to climb to the top of the rocky, skull shaped hill. As Pastor Lee stood atop the stark, barren hill, he became strangely silent. He took off his hat and bowed his head. After a few moments his Arab guide asked Lee: “Excuse me sir, but have you been here before?” “Oh yes!” Lee answered. “I was here 2,000 years ago. I was crucified with Christ and I was raised up with Him to new life.”
On Good Friday we sang the old spiritual asking: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” It is the clear, unequivocal assertion of today’s scripture that we were indeed there when they crucified our Lord! And what’s more, we were there when God raised Him from the dead!
In this marvelous passage the apostle Paul sets forth the reality of our union with Christ in His death and His resurrection. Paul says that we were “baptized” into the death and resurrection of Jesus so that we might live in newness of life.
The word “baptized” is a fascinating word. Rather than translate, it transliterates the Greek word bapto, a word without any religious connotation. Look up bapto in any Greek lexicon and you will see that it had two basic meanings: “to dip” and “to dye”. (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Walter Bauer) In everyday conversation bapto described the work of the fuller working with cloth. He would take raw, unbleached cloth and dip it into a vat of dye. When he brought the cloth up out of the dye that cloth was said to have been “baptized”, or given a new identity.
The New Testament uses the first century word bapto to proclaim our new identity, as we have been baptized into Jesus’ death and His resurrection. The fact of our baptismal identification with Christ is a fact that Paul says Christians should “know”: “Do you not KNOW that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” In Christ we have a new identity, having died with Christ to the reign of sin and made alive to God in Christ. This is something we “know”.
Remarkably today’s scripture contains the first command in Romans. Paul has gone on for 6 ½ chapters setting forth what God has done for us. Now finally, Paul calls on us to do something “So you also must CONSIDER yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
The word “consider” translates the Greek logizomai, a bookkeeping term. It meant to enter accurately into an account what you knew to be true. So to consider ourselves dead to the reign of sin and made alive to God is not something we feel; it is based on what we know. Nor is it based on wishful thinking, but on what the Gospel tells us. I might not feel my oneness with Christ’s life, but I consider and acknowledge it to be true. The essence of the Christian life is first, KNOWING our oneness with Christ, and then CONSIDERING it to be true in our daily living.
Paul nicely sums up for us the Christian life: “It is no longer I who live, but it is 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.”
“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Thank God, we were! And we were there with Him when God raised Him from the tomb! This is our Easter faith!
A fellow traveler,
P. S. Watch around mid May on our website for Water from Rock’s new publication “This I Know: The Bible Tells Me So. Here are 40 scripture reflections on some things we can know and consider for sure in the midst of life’s uncertainty.
You will bring water from rock for the community.
We take our name from the Bible’s story of the archetypal Exodus journey during which the people of God came to a place in the desert wilderness where there was no water. Yet, it was there in a hostile wilderness that they experienced God’s provision of water for them and leadership into a new future. We trust in a God who still provides, renews and leads His people.
Rooted in the Word
We are a ministry of Christian renewal rooted in the Living Word, Jesus Christ, as He reveals Himself through His Written Word, the Bible. Through the Written Word we encounter the Living Word in the incomprehensible wonder of His love. We are mindful that knowledge, even of the Bible, “puffs up” while love “builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We engage the Scriptures seeking to love more and know more of love. We purpose to search out God’s Word with both our minds and our hearts.
Ecumenical in Outlook
We honor all followers of Christ who have gone before us, and all who are among us now. We have much to learn and receive from all who have a lived experience of God’s transforming love. By reaching out to embrace the universal Body of Christ we strive to balance orthodoxy (right belief) and right living (orthopraxy).
In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.
(Rupertus Meldenius, 1582 – 1651)
Experiencing the Living God
We thirst to know God and not just to know about Him. We long for a living experience of God. We believe that God breaks into our world on the holy ground of His Word, and seek through His Spirit a living encounter with Him there. We daily aim to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength (Mark 12:30).
The arms of God be around my shoulders,
The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
The sign of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,
The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,
The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,
The work of God’s church in my hands,
The service of God and the neighbor in my feet,
A home for God in my heart,
And to God, the Father of all, my entire being. Amen.
—Fursey of Yarmouth, 6th century Irish monk