“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”–Romans 6:1–4
Mark Twain, though a gifted author, had a deep disdain for Christianity. It is impossible to read much of his work without seeing his contempt for what he once referred to as a “slaughterhouse religion” because of the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice to pay for sins. Sadly, Twain meant his words as a dismissive critique, when he could have seen in them the hope he needed. For as Hebrews 9:22 says, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
Jesus’ sacrifice for us was part of God’s plan from the beginning of the world (1 Peter 1:19–20). It is not, however, just His death on the cross, but that death combined with the resurrection, that offers us the promise of new and eternal life. The purpose of the sacrifice was not completed until Christ rose again. Once we receive Christ as our Saviour, we have the gift of salvation and the promise of eternal life. This, however, is just the beginning of God’s plan for us. As we join with Christ in death and resurrection, we have the means to live a new kind of life even here on Earth.
The pattern for our life was set for us by Jesus. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). The Holy Spirit provides for us the power and ability to walk as He walked. Everything we need to live like Jesus lived is available to us. Only by identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection can we walk as new creatures in Him.–Paul Chappell
The Christian life is the life of Christ reproduced in the child of God by the Spirit of God who conforms him to the Word of God and enables him to live for the glory of God. It is not what we do for God, but what He does for us, in us, through us, and with us that make us like Christ.–HDS