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.
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 his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I think that sometimes it’s a little difficult to relate to Jesus. I know that He loves us so unconditionally that He was born into this world to live among us, but sometimes I just don’t know what I did to deserve that magnitude of love. Jesus is the one and only perfect, holy Son of God, and I, all too often, am aware of how flawed I am. I fall again and again. I ask Him to pick me up off the ground. He holds me in His arms and lets grace heal me. I always try to be brave and lead a life my heavenly Father would be proud of, but it’s a cycle; I know that, soon enough, I will choose a path that doesn’t lead to a life inspired by my Savior’s indescribable love. Imperfection is a painful and heartbreaking route.
In this letter to the Romans, Paul talks about how the process of receiving salvation should reflect how our Savior lived His life. In Romans 6:5, Paul declares, “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 his.” Paul paints us a beautiful picture of baptism, saying that when I was baptized as a baby, I died like Jesus died and was then resurrected like He was resurrected. So, when I was baptized nineteen years ago, the little girl who was vulnerable to sin died, and a little girl with a life full of nothing but the power of God’s love was born. That’s how powerful Paul believes baptism is.
If my journey really is an experience parallel to Jesus’, then it’s natural that pain is part of it—He certainly suffered enough on his way to the cross. But being born again means that I’m not going to get caught up in sorrowful things that make me forget I’ve got a new life. Paul said that we died and were reborn as beings that no longer had to worry about sin having power over us. Dying to sin doesn’t mean that I’ll never sin again, but it means that Christ’s love has power over our lives and sin doesn’t. This Lent, I want to trust in not only His power, but also the power of my baptism. I feel like I am always falling, but the truth is that I only really fell once—when I was baptized. After my baptism, I became a person who can’t be touched, bruised or blemished by darkness or sin. Therefore, when I recall how Jesus suffered out of love, how brave He chose to be when He died, I can use His example to love fearlessly and forgive unconditionally the way He does for me every day. Jesus Christ loves us so much that He wanted to understand the burdens of His people and be there for them in their sorrow…why shouldn’t we, the resurrected ones, mirror His life, and be brave enough to love that much?
Kayla Deep is a student at Sewanee (The University of the South) and member of Liberty Hill United Methodist Church. She is spending her 2013 Spring Break in Haiti.