Open Arms Call Now Contact Us Online Giving

Fastened To Jesus

Sharing God's Word, Living His Love

Romans 6:1-11

January 7, 2024

How many of you are familiar with a “hook and loop fastener?” Actually, I think all of us are familiar with it, because a “hook and loop fastener” is just the formal name for what we know as Velcro. This sound of Velcro tearing apart is so universal that I’m sure almost everyone can identify it. In 1941 a Swiss engineer was walking through the woods and he noticed how burs stuck to his pants and to the fur of his dog. He wondered how that phenomenon might be turned into something useful. So after years of research he came up with two strips of material, one with thousands of tiny hooks and the other with thousands of tiny loops into which the hooks would stick. He named his invention Velcro, combining the words velvet and crochet.

Since that time, Velcro has been used in countless applications. The military uses it on their field uniforms as it is strong enough to hold things in a person’s pocket, yet easy to open if a person needs things from their pocket quickly. Many parents and grandparents appreciate the Velcro straps on small children’s shoes in place of shoelaces. We see it used to hang pictures on the wall and we use it in many ways to simply connect two items together.

In our second lesson for today from Romans, Paul talks about how we are fastened to Jesus. Obviously not through Velcro, but through Baptism. Paul makes it clear that in Baptism God connects us with our Savior, Jesus, both in His death and in His resurrection saying in Romans 6:4, “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.” With these words Paul emphasizes that Baptism is not just a ceremony. Something really happens when water is poured on a person and God’s name is spoken, namely that Baptism connects us to everything Jesus did and endured for us.

Think of it like being given shares to a company like Amazon. Although you might not be an employee of Amazon or have ever been inside the company’s headquarters, as a shareholder you are affected by Amazon’s ups and downs. If their stock goes up, your wealth increases. If their stock goes down, your wealth decreases. In a similar way Baptism fastens us to Jesus so that even though we have never seen Him, we share in what He did and accomplished.

But what does it mean that in Baptism we share in Christ’s death? About 20 years ago a man named John Darwin decided to fake his own death in order to escape his financial debts and to collect on a life insurance policy, so that he could live under a new name debt free. It worked for about 5 years, until John Darwin finally turned himself in to the police. While John Darwin was freed from his debts, he was never really free to live life to the fullest. Every day for 5 years he lived in fear that someone would discover his secret. He couldn’t pick up the phone and call his children to wish them a Merry Christmas or happy birthday. He couldn’t check in on his wife without ending the charade and owning up to his debts.

But in Baptism we are free to live life to the fullest with no fears as Paul says, “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death (and now) anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:3,7). In our baptism, we died with Christ, meaning that the debt we owed God for our sins has been paid. There is nothing fake about that, our spiritual debts have been paid and we are free to live the new life God gives to us, a life in which we no longer live to gratify our sinful desire, but rather live to please our gracious God.

However, this new life does not mean that we are now free to do whatever we want knowing that we are forgiven. Paul anticipated this type of question when he said in verses 1-2, “Are we to continue to sin that grace may abound? By no means!” In other words, now that our sins have been forgiven by the grace of God, should we sin all the more so that God can exercise His grace even more? Should we sin in abundance so that God has the opportunity to forgive us even more frequently?

No, of course not. It would be like asking, “Should I set my house on fire so that the fire department can get more practice at putting out house fires? Should I crash my car into a tree so that first responders can get more practice in responding to accidents?” No. While we have new life in baptism, we know we will not be free from sin as we live here on earth. We are still going to sin, but the difference is that we don’t live to sin. Instead, we live daily in the forgiveness that is ours in Jesus. Therefore, the baptismal font not only marks the death of our debt to God, it also marks the death of our sinful nature’s hold on us. You see, before we came to faith the Bible says we were slaves to sin. We could do nothing but take orders from our sinful nature and obey them. But thanks to baptism, Paul says our relationship with our sinful nature is dead. The Holy Spirit killed that relationship, so you could say the baptismal font then marks its burial site.

But if our relationship with our sinful nature has been destroyed in baptism, then why do we still listen to our sinful nature? Why do we do things or say things that we know will hurt others? Why do we, instead of turning the other cheek when we are hurt, seek revenge? Why do we still lash out at people when they cut us off in traffic or put us down? It shouldn’t be that way, right?

Even though our relationship with our sinful nature died in baptism and a new relationship with Jesus was born, our sinful nature is still trying to rule over us, it is still trying to issue commands. But we know to obey those commands are wrong, just as it would be wrong for our military today to obey orders from former presidents George W. Bush or Barack Obama. They are no longer the Commander in Chief; and neither is our sinful nature. We answer to Jesus, not our sinful nature, and our baptism will help us remember that and keep it that way. Just as Jesus died and rose again, part of us died and rose again in baptism. We are to relive this event daily by drowning our sinful nature’s voice through genuine sorrow over our sin, and by remembering that in baptism God gives us the ability to say “no” to our sinful nature’s commands.

While your baptism was an event in the past, it still has an ongoing effect in your life today. It’s like a person who comes to the United States from a war-torn country to start a new life and then goes through the process to become a citizen of this country. The benefits of the person becoming a United States citizen continue long after the event where the person was given their citizenship papers; and the benefits of the new life we receive in baptism continue long after our life here on earth ends. Our connection with Jesus in our baptism has future blessings for us and for all Christians. In verse 5 Paul writes, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” This means there is still more to come. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead physically, so will we be raised from the dead. This is the sure and certain hope we have as baptized children of God. Death is not the end. Death does not have the final say. Instead, death is but a door that leads to eternal life in the presence of God with all who have gone before us and all who will come after us.

On the day when Jesus returns to this world with all his power, glory, and majesty, our physical bodies will be raised, just as his body was raised. And on that day our bodies will be changed to be like His glorious body. Our bodies will be perfect and will no longer suffer any of the effects of sin. No arthritis, no cancer, no high blood pressure, and no heart attacks. Plus, our bodies will no longer be subject to death, for death itself, the penalty for our sin, will be no more.

There is an old saying that says, “God loves me just the way I am.” The first part of that statement is true, God does love you but just not the way you are. If that were true, then God wouldn’t have sent Jesus to rescue you and He wouldn’t have sent people to baptize and teach you. God does love you, but He loves you so much that He changes you into a better person. In baptism He destroys the part of you that loves to sin and makes you into a new person who loves to serve God. Remember that, you are baptized, be the person God has made you to be and live life to the fullest.

Mobile App
Coming Soon!
google-play.png app-store.png
Gravity Forms Pagination Must be Steps