What if you were born in to an absolutely evil family. One that wants only hurt and suffering for you and wants you to be a slave. In my illustration with the kids I’m using the story of Cinderella (I know it is her step-mother and step-sisters, but I think the kids will be able to see past this to the point). If you were born into such a family what would you give to have a re-do? What would you give to be born again, but this time into a family that loves you and wants nothing but good for you? That wants to serve your needs in love rather than treating you like a slave?
This is the situation we all live in. We are children of Adam, born into the family of sin. Sin is from Satan and he is the father of lies who wants us to be a slave to sin and to experience pain and suffering for all eternity along side him.
But we have the opportunity for a Re-Do. Paul tells us that through baptism we share in the action of Christ’s death. We die to our present family of sin and then are reborn into Christ’s family.
Jesus tried to explain this to Nicodemus in the 3rd chapter of God. We must be born again. Nicodemus asked, “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus explained, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” We can’t be in two families. By flesh we were born to the family of sin, but we can die to that family and be reborn in and through the Spirit into Christ’s family. We get a re-do!
The part about the Spirit is a big deal. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit permeates into us, changing us. This is something that is repugnant to the family of sin. It is unforgivable. The image it brings back for me is from the movie The Jazz Singer, the Neil Diamond version. The main character is a Jew with a father who is saturated in the law. His son goes off and lies to his family and moves in with a gentile woman. When his father uncovers his betrayal of his faith and family, he rips his clothing and declares to his son, “you are dead to me.” The person who was his son is no more, he is out, disowned, dead.
The words we use are “we are dead to sin”. Notice the nuance in that wording, our family of sin has disowned and disavowed us. When we accept the Holy Spirit, the father of sin rips his clothing and says, “you are dead to me.”
Going deeper, think back to the story of Ruth and Boaz. Before Boaz could take Ruth as his bride, there was another who had first rights, just as sin has first rights to us. But, when sin disowned her, Boaz made her his bride. She was free from that family and re-born into the family of Boaz.
Are we tempted by sin still? Of course. But we are no longer in sin’s family and we can never return. Christ never will release us and sin has no power of Christ. We are dead to Satan. He loves to use us to cause others to stumble, but our aroma, which is a sweet perfume to our Lord, is stench to him because it comes from the Holy Spirit.
Those who have been saved by grace in Christ’s death and resurrection – believers. I, through Christ, have died to sin; how can I live in it any longer?
Baptism of the Spirit, where the Spirit of God, in grace, is poured out over us as a covering of Christ and to permeate into us to make us into a new creation, one capable of holiness to enter the very presence of the Lord.
Through baptism we are buried (going under and coming back out)just like Christ, and also like Him, we may live a new life to the glory of the Father. Living it as a testimony, through teaching, through work, through family.