Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Jesus loves to forgive sin. Maybe you think that's great news. I do too. But why is it such a good thing? Theologian Michael Horton says frequently that the reason matters. Do we say, "Jesus loves to forgive and I love to sin, so it work out great!"?
The apostle Paul will have none of it. In Romans chapter six he uses probably the most forceful way there is in Greek to say that we don't continue in sin. He then reminds the Romans that as they believed in Crhist and were baptized they "died to sin" (v. 2). They were buried in baptism, which the Lutheran Reformers said was the equivalent of drowning the sinner.
Where does this break down? If we read ahead to Romans chapter seven Paul recognizes that even though he hates sin, he is still drawn to it. That old sinner Paul, though drowned in baptism, swims awfully well.
Let's be really clear. We don't drown anyone in baptism. The water is symbolic of drowning, and also of washing. But we do believe, with the historic church, that the water along with God's Word does have an effect. It delivers God's promise of forgiveness, and does it in a very concrete way, a way commanded by Jesus and affirmed by all Christian practice.
Have you been united with Christ in baptism? Then live as an heir of his resurrection. What, then, do we do when we realize our sin? We ask forgiveness and we strive again to live as his people, who have died to sin and live to righteousness.
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