Saving Grace

We are covered in the blood of Jesus

What shall we say, then? Shall we do 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. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like. – Romans 6: 1-5

People often do some awful things just to test the amount of love that their loved ones have for them. For whatever reason, they think that they must apply some difficult test to prove love.

Unfortunately, these tests sometimes cause the people in their lives great grief. That grief may be time-consuming, emotional, or financial. Nonetheless, they test repeatedly. It does not matter the stress and uncaring pressure that is made to bear upon that person.

Their question is, “How much am I loved? Will my loved one still love me if I do this or that? What if I cause extreme embarrassment? Will I still be loved?”

Unfortunately, to reach the depth of that love and be sure that the love held for them is genuine, they apply more stress or pressure. The test goes on and on just to prove love.

The above text was one of the readings for the first Sunday after the Epiphany, or the baptism of our Lord, which was celebrated last Sunday. This text tells us about ourselves when we experience the Sacrament of Baptism.

In the mystery of baptism, some unusual things happen to us. One of those unusual happenings is mortification or death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death. Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, may live a new life.

Realistically, death separates a person from life: his old friends, business enjoyments, and employment. However, the mortification or the death, which the Christian experiences in baptism, is a spiritual one. This separation means we die to the former life that we lived.

In the waters of baptism, we are changed. However, that change has nothing to do with us. That change is a gift to us from God.

The other unusual thing which happens in the mystery of baptism is vivification or being made alive. Baptism takes us through a process of life and death. Therefore, in the water of baptism, we come alive.

As Christ became alive in his resurrection, we become alive when we are baptized. This new life which the apostle tells us about is a spiritual life. In this new life, we have a unity with Christ.

Our Lord, in his death, broke the grip of sin which held us captive. Because of this new life, our old self is changed. We take on a new image, a new way of doing things.

Because we are a new creation in Christ through baptism, we should not continue to live as if we have no hope. Christ died that we might experience to joy of salvation.

We should not give in to sin. We have a choice. Sin does not have any control over us. We are covered in the blood of Christ Jesus.

As we celebrate this most significant period in the church year, Epiphany, let us live out our baptismal faith. We live out our baptismal faith by going to the place where we find God, where we receive His grace, which is in His word and in the sacrament of the altar.

We do not have to prove God’s love for us. His love cannot be challenged. It cannot be diminished. It is ours for all eternity. Amen.

• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; website:  

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