Thursday of the Baptism of our Lord – Romans 6:1-11

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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.

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. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Christmas is over and most of the returns have been returned. As usual, this was a wild ride for the people who deliver packages. So many people staying home and ordering things online. I saw more than one UPS or FedEx driver with harried, strung-out looks on their faces. In the beginning of December a few years ago, I came home to a package on my doorstep. It was a rather expensive, cordless hedge trimmer which I had not ordered. Had my children bought me a gift? Had someone else? No, they had not. Closer inspection revealed that the label had been misprinted and made no sense. The poor delivery guy had simply taken his best guess and left it on my doorstep.

What is one to do? I called the delivery company, explained what had happened, and we arranged for them to pick it up. There it sat on the grey cabinet in my carport for the next two weeks. They never came to pick it up. It had been ordered from Home Depot. Since I am a regular patron of that merchant, I threw it in the back of my car on my next shopping trip and stood in line at the returns desk. “What’s wrong with it,” the orange-aproned man asked me. “Nothing,” I replied. “I am not the guy on the label. I called the delivery company, and they never came. This belongs to you guys.”

“Why did you do that?” someone asked me a few days later. “You could have just kept it.” But that would have made me a thief, taking what did not belong to me.

Paul says that baptism has changed us. He imagines someone objecting to God’s gracious forgiveness of sins. This imagined objection runs like this. If God just forgives sins, why not just do whatever we want to do, whatever our desires and passions lead us. It is all forgiven, so, sin more, and get more forgiveness. But as Paul notes for us. We died to sin. That is just not who we are any more. The man or woman whom God has raised up from the waters of baptism is a different sort of person, dead to sin, alive to Christ. I get to say no to all those old sinful urges. I can do that.

That describes you too. You are no longer enslaved to sin. Live in that freedom today.

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