Saturday, January 03, 2015

Identity in Christ - 8 (Baptized into Christ)

I sometimes wonder if "died with Christ," "buried with Christ" and "raised with Christ" ought to be done as a unit.  I am sure that there are details that are true in each item, that are valuable to understand.  But all three items form a continuum in our spiritual experience.

But it is "baptism into Christ" that actualizes all three items. "To baptize" means "to immerse" or "to place into" in the original language.  Linguists have found a pickle recipe where the vegetable should be baptized in vinegar. It is also used for "submerged" as in "sunken ships."

The Bible says we are "baptized into Christ." This is a process of identification.  When we give Jesus our allegiance,  the Bible says we were placed into his family,  and we were also placed into his body. It is as though we were inserted into Jesus' being.

It would perhaps be more accurate to say that the Father no longer views us without Jesus being in the picture. God views us with Jesus-colored lenses. We are Jesus-colored. We are continually followed around by a bright neon sign, with an arrow pointing down, that says "Jesus here."

● God's Perspective
As far as the Father is concerned,  when he looks at us, he sees Jesus. He sees his son, his heir,  his beloved.  He sees the one he will have a relationship of joy with forever.

He does not overlook or ignore our behavior.  But it is not the basis for how he treats us. The basis for how he treats us is Jesus, who is in us,  and who we are in. We will continue to look at how God treats our behavior,  but suffice it to say here, (since we just looked at "buried with Christ") that our old life, our old behavior, is dead and buried. God's concern is energizing and empowering our righteous behavior.

● Living My Life
We have an interesting contrast. We have many people who have given their allegiance to Jesus, and are attempting to follow him. They gave all their attention to that behavior that died and was buried with Jesus. Our Father gives all his attention to behavior that accompanies the new life that Jesus gave us.

We focus all our time and energy on stopping behavior that displeases God. God focuses his time and energy on promoting new behavior that agrees with our new nature, because the old is dead.

It seems to me that our thinking is backwards.  It is not that God wants us to continue engaging in sinful behavior.  We should both stop doing bad stuff and start doing good stuff. But too many people give all their attention to the stopping part.

It will never be enough to just stop.  Life, growth and renewal will always have a doing part. And it is always a 180° reversal of the stopping. Some of these are obvious. (Stop stealing; start being generous. ) Some will not be so obvious. But the result will always be a life more like Jesus.

No comments: