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Baptism: dying and rising with Christ

September 2, 2023

Daily Scripture

Romans 6:1-4, 11; Colossians 2:9-12

Romans 6
1 So what are we going to say? Should we continue sinning so grace will multiply? 2 Absolutely not! All of us died to sin. How can we still live in it? 3 Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life.

11 In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2
9 All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body. 10 And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by human hands. The circumcision of Christ is realized in the stripping away of the whole self dominated by sin. 12 You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

In his letter to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul said baptism identifies each Christian with Jesus’ death and his resurrection to new life. In Colossians 2, he wrote to other living people about the same idea: “You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God.” A few verses later he returned to that key idea, telling them, “You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:4). Yes, baptism is a symbol, but it also points to a profound spiritual reality. “The distinctive Christian understanding of baptism in terms of dying and rising is based on the convert’s relationship to Christ who died and rose from the dead.” (If you love Jesus but have never been baptized, you can click here for information about baptisms at Resurrection.)

  • Paul saw baptism as much more than a hollow token act. “Here (Romans 6:3) those ‘baptized into Christ’ lose their corporate solidarity with the ‘old self,’ which could also be translated ‘old humanity’ (in Adam), to find a new identity with Christ instead (see Romans 5:15–21).” ** We may still struggle, but Paul said in Christ we can see ourselves as “dead to sin,” as God does. Scholar N. T. Wright wrote of Colossians 2, “Baptism (the mode and sign of entry into the Christian community from the very earliest days to the present) is all about ‘putting off’ an entire way of life, an entire sphere of existence. It means dying to the old world and coming alive to God’s new one…. What are the religious and philosophical attractions in your world that are most likely to draw new Christians away from the ‘fulfilment’ they already have in the king?” *** In what ways has Christ’s gift of grace brought you “alive for God in Christ Jesus”?

Jesus, to call you “Lord” is not to say, “Thanks for letting me off the hook.” It is to say, “I want you, not my broken habits or instincts, to rule my life.” Thank you for giving me the promise of a better way to live. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Megan DelGrosso

Megan DelGrosso

Megan DelGrosso is a Pennsylvania native who moved to Kansas City with her husband and two children when she joined the Resurrection staff in 2021. She is the rezlife Student Ministry Director for the Leawood location after 10 years of student ministry and non-profit work in Pittsburgh. Megan loves spending time with her family, beach life, Marvel movies, and exploring new places.

Years ago I was working with a student who was explaining to me where she felt like she was in her faith journey. She showed me a picture of a girl coming up out of the water, and you could see just a thin film of water over the girl’s face. She explained to me that the underwater was her old life, her life before a relationship with Jesus, and life above water was the new life she yearned for, where she could take the next step of faith. She admitted it was hard, there were a lot of things pulling her in different directions. There were hard questions she had to answer, things she had to resolve in her heart and mind. And truly, how could she really put a relationship with Jesus first in high school? She knew was close to breaking through the water, but she hadn’t broken through…yet.

It can be hard to take the next step in our faith sometimes, no matter our age or season of life. There are some moments where I feel like I have that film of water over my face, like there is something holding me back from moving forward in my faith journey. Maybe you have something holding you back from taking the next step too.

I know that this student didn’t stay stuck. She asked hard questions, did the work, and lived a life of faith the way she hoped. Her next step ended up being prioritizing time to get engaged in church for her senior year of high school, taking on church leadership positions, learning more about faith, leading younger students, and participating regularly small groups. It was a huge shift for her, but it was incredible to watch. Now, years later, she spends her free time working with students and helping them navigate hard faith questions and helping them break through that feeling of stuck.

Whatever your next step is, whether baptism, joining a small group, committing to new devotional or prayer rhythms, if you are feeling stuck I want to challenge you to try to break through and take that next step. It can be hard, and scary, but also amazing, and life changing.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* D. S. Dockery, article “Baptism” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL., InterVarsity Press, 1992, p. 57.
** NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Locations 255705-255707). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
*** Wright, N. T., Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (The New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 168-169). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.