May 17, 2015

One of the (many) scary parts about moving is selling your house.  It seems that it’s not nearly as easy to find a buyer for your house as it is to find a house that you like.  However, sometimes the part that you think will be the scariest and most difficult is the one that comes along smoothly and quickly.

Thankfully, that’s what happened with us.  The realtor sign in our yard now says, “Under Contract.”

Being “under contract” is a bit of a scary thought, isn’t it?  It binds you to something.  It’s a commitment.

When we were baptized, we made a commitment.  We bound ourselves to something.  Actually, to someone.

Paul asks a rhetorical question at the beginning of Romans 6.  It’s a question he fully expected from those who opposed the gospel after he had spent five full chapters expressing that the righteousness of God comes strictly by faith.  And he has an answer for that question.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  (Romans 6:1-4)

This is, in its primary context, not a passage on baptism being a part of the response of faith.  I believe it is, and I believe that this passage and lots of others express that truth.  In fact, the point of the passage would make no sense whatsoever if there were members in the pews (so to speak) of the church at Rome who hadn’t been baptized!  They would be off the hook.  Since they had not “died to sin” and had not been “buried with Christ through baptism into death” and raised to live “a new life,” they could “go on sinning so that grace may increase.”

But this passage carries the immediate purpose of reminding us of our commitment to Christ Jesus.  For Paul, it’s unfathomable that we would seek to live a selfish, sinful life, and use as our excuse that we are “saved by grace.”  The reason: we’re a new creation in Christ.  This is what he says in 2 Cor. 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

So there’s simply no way that we would consider increasing our sin since we’re “saved by grace.”  There’s no way we can do that.  We’re a new creation.  We’ve died to sin; we’ve been buried with Christ through baptism into death; we’ve been raised to live a new life.

We’re under contract.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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