Be the New Creature Not the Old One
- Look up what your preferred denomination says about baptism.
- Reflect on what you find, what it means with regard to your own baptism, and if you are not baptized consider seriously finding an outlet to become baptized.
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change
What does it mean to be baptized? What does it mean to be baptized into Jesus’ death? For some their baptism happened may years ago when they were an infant. For others, it occurred as adults. Some denominations say that infant baptism is all that is required while other denominations insist the individual must be able to understand the choice they are making and agree to make it before they will baptize them. Does any of that have anything to do with being baptized into death with Jesus?
The point Paul is making with that statement from verse three has to do with the Law and why Jesus’ crucifixion was necessary for the plan of salvation to be completed in the first place. To atone for sins in Jewish law a sacrifice is required. The greater the offense, the more that is required to atone for it. In the case of fulfilling all the law for every human being who ever was or ever will be what level of sacrifice is needed?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Romans 6:3-5 (KJV)
Jesus Himself stated He came to do just that in Matthew 5:17-20. This fulfillment could only be accomplished by a sacrifice of such spotless nature no purely earthly creature or person would do. Hence God had to come to earth in the form or a man to be that sacrifice. Only the author of the Law could thus fulfill all of its ordinances for every person, for all time. But what does that mean for you and I?
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV)
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Ephesians 4:20-28 (KJV)
As Paul points out, if we are baptized into His death, we are also raised to new life again in the resurrection of Jesus. What that means is that all the bad things we’ve ever done or ever will do have been paid for and we are washed clean to be a new creation, a new creature as referenced in Ephesians 4:20-28. That new creature is no longer bound by the penalties due the old creature. Because we are now on this side of the Law and death brought by that law, we walk with Christ in this newness of life. That walk should by design look wholly different from the walk that brought us to death in the first place. In other words, the sins we heaped upon ourselves in the former life or that we committed without knowing, etc are now paid for. What the Law called for as punishment for the infractions of our lives has been paid. It doesn’t erase the fact that we committed those sins, nor should it. Our experiences make us who we are. They make us able to relate to others who are yet still in those sins, and offer them a better way; a way out they might not see in the middle of the mess.
When Jesus was resurrected, Thomas doubted hence the moniker Doubting Thomas. Jesus knew Thomas would doubt. He came back and presented Himself before Thomas and that interaction is recorded for us. Why is that important? Because how Jesus finishes that interaction, which is where He was speaking directly to us from two-thousand years ago…”Because you have seen me you believed. Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believe.”
You are blessed. Believe that, regardless of the situation you find yourself in. You are blessed. You have been crucified with Jesus but you have also been raised. The time has come to put off the old person, and walk the path laid out for the new person. In that way, you become the hands and feet of Christ for someone God puts in your life who desperately needs that new creature as well. Be the hands and feet of Jesus as the new creature to do the new things. Do not continue to be the old creature who needed a sacrifice by holding fast to the old sinful ways. Someone else needs that new, resurrected creature, not the old dead one.
This is the continuation of the devtion box. The flow runs from the right side of the Greek entry to here when that right column reaches the bottom of the Greek entry.
- In your journal list all the things the Old Man, the Old Person, the Old You went through and/or did that you believe Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross has purchased you forgiveness and contemplate those event’s impact on your life.
- After time in reflection on the Old Person, write as little or as much as you are led to write in your journal about what the New Person intends to do having been resurrected with Jesus.