Baptism into Christ means that we are united with Christ. We are united with his death and with his resurrection. Our sinful self, the lost and condemned sinner, was killed with Jesus. It was nailed to the cross. The poor, blind, and broken person that we were before Jesus is no longer there. Instead, Jesus has raised us from the dead with him. There is a new person, a new creation, that lives in us. That person rejoices in God’s law, follows God’s will, and serves our neighbor.
The transformation is incomplete. In chapter seven, Paul describes the two forces at work in our lives, the flesh and the inner being. The flesh is the remnant of our sinful self. It desires only to sin and to turn away from God. The inner being is the new creation. It desires only what God wants, to do good. They are always in conflict. Even St. Paul finds that he can’t live the way he wants. When he desires to do good, sin leaps out like a mugger, and it drags him away.
Sin, however, is not our real identity. The real you is the new creation, the inner being. In Romans 8:1, Paul declares, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Because our real identity is tied to Christ, we are not condemned. Instead, God loves us the same way he loves Jesus. Because we are united with Christ, all he sees is Jesus. That is how we know that God is for us.
If God Is for Us, Who Can Be against Us?
Nothing can challenge God’s love for us. Our own worst sins cannot challenge God’s love. Our own guilty conscience cannot change his mind. Our failures to care and love like we should won’t push him away. Our identity is Christ. When God looks at us, he see only Christ’s holiness, Christ’s faithfulness, and Christ’s sacrifice. We are covered by him.
It’s not just internal things, like sin, that try to challenge God’s love for us. Paul writes in Romans 8:35 and 8:37, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Poverty, danger, execution, persecution, depression, sickness, and anything else the world can throw at us cannot separate us from God’s love.
Death, the greatest enemy of all, couldn’t separate Jesus from the Father’s love. When Jesus was dead, God raised him to life. The Father was faithful to his Son. He is faithful to us, too. Because he raised Jesus from the dead, we, who are in Christ, will be raised on the day he returns. Nothing can stop that.
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God bless you
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