The baptism of a new Christian is one of the most joyful occasions in the Christian religion. At baptism, a person declares that he has left his former life to become a Christian.
However, Paul has shown that one important meaning of baptism is death (verse 3). Baptism is for people to declare that Christís death is for them. It is as if they died with Christ. We may ask how a ceremony with such a serious meaning could ever be joyful.
The answer is that God gives life to dead people (Mark 12:24-27; Hebrews 11:19). He caused Christ to live again after his death; in the same way, all Godís people will live again (1 Corinthians 15:12-22; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Even as death had no power over Christ (Acts 2:24), so death has no power over them (1 Corinthians 15:51-57). They have received the kind of life that death cannot destroy (John 11:25-26).
That is a promise for the future, but Godís people already have that new life in their spirits. When a person receives Christ into his life, that person is born again (John 1:12-13; John 3:3). In other words, that person has a new life: God has changed that personís life completely (2 Corinthians 5:17). That personís body may die, but their spirit will never die. When the personís body dies, their spirit will immediately be alive with God in heaven (Luke 23:43).
Because God has made such a great change in their lives, Christians should live in a completely different manner. Their relationship with God should matter more to them than anything else. They should love God, and they should show his love to other people (Mark 12:28-31). Their constant desire should be to please him (2 Corinthians 5:9).
That is a very joyful way to live (Luke 15:7; Philippians 4:4). In fact, it is the best way to live (Psalm 1; John 4:13-14).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.