What is the secret of spiritual victory? How can a person enjoy what is often called an “overcoming Christian life?”
This morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read and reflected on Apostle Paul’s advice on this issue… And it’s not just Paul’s advice… He presents it as God’s provision through Christ!
Believe it or not, the answer is “BAPTISM” – that’s right “baptism” and the spiritual reality it represents! Surprised? You see, baptism is really about more than the water! It’s about Jesus and our identification with Him and what He did on our behalf!
First of all, it’s about His death – and our identification with Him in His death. His death becomes our death to our old way of life – living for sin and self!
Then it’s about His burial – and our burial, in a decisive way, to our past (B.C. – before Christ)!
Finally, it’s about His resurrection – and our identification, by faith, in His resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit that brought it about. It’s about believing that incredible power can work within us and transform our lives.
Apostle Paul’s advice? “Consider” those realities true in your life! The Greek word he uses is a mathematical term… It means to calculate something – to take the facts and draw a conclusion based upon those facts.
Paul also says we need to “present ourselves” (completely – every part of us, inside-out) to God, as those who have died, been buried and risen again with Christ! He declares that if we’ll do that – and do it decisively (and as often as necessary) – we’ll have spiritual victory! Here let me give it to you in His words… No, in his Holy Spirit inspired words!
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been BAPTIZED into Christ Jesus were baptized INTO HIS DEATH? 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… We know that our old self 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… Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him… So you also must CONSIDER YOURSELVES dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 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.” (From Romans 6:1-14 ESV)
Wow! What wonderful good news for those who have struggled with sin and self! We can enjoy spiritual victory through Christ – through the reality our baptism represents! (And believe me friends, that’s a good reason to obey Jesus and be baptized after we decide to become Christians!).
Oh, and here is Apostle Paul’s final declaration… “Sin will NOT have dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace!” All I can say to that is, Praise the Lord!!! Yes, Praise the Lord!!!