The Same, but Different

Romans 6:3, 4 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

On a spiritual level, baptism is a wonder-inspiring miracle—dead men are raised and given life, sins disappear through no work or effort that we can muster, the Spirit indwells us, we are adopted as children of God—all through the power, grace, and efforts of our Lord Jesus. On a spiritual level everything is changed.

But on a physical level everything remains pretty much the same. You work the same job, keep the same family, retain the same circumstances, you struggle with the same weaknesses and temptations, you keep the same bank balance, go home to the same address, remember the same memories, and put on the same clothes. You, in other words, keep the same life with the same struggles and trials but with this earthshaking difference, you’re not the same.

It may be the same job and boss and stresses, but a new attitude toward work, a new response to the boss, and a new stress reliever for the stresses. Things should be different, because you are.

It may be the same family, husband, wife, children, and parents. But after dying to self and rising to let Jesus live in us, it’s different. There should be a new way to deal with marital disputes, train and discipline children, and honor parents, because it’s a new person doing it all.

And to be sure, you will struggle with the same weaknesses and temptations, but after being buried with the Lord in baptism you have a new answer to the temptations, a different reaction to them, a new source of strength, and a new compass in life.

After having been born again, (John 3) you keep the same bank balance (sorry about that), but something’s different. It belongs to the Lord now; you have a different set of priorities about where it should go; you have a different and better way of spending it. Now it is no longer a god, but merely a stewardship from God.

You’ll also have the same amount of time (hours, minutes, and seconds) every week and will have a lot of the same time commitments (e.g., work, school, etc.), but again, many things here will also be different. Now, we look to redeem the time (Eph. 5:16) and use it for the Lord’s things. Now, because we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, we use Sundays and Wednesdays differently, we make time for study of the Bible, we make the time to pray, and we reschedule our calendars to reflect a Christian view of what is important.

And you’ll also remember the same memories some painful and some pleasurable. But the view and interpretation of those memories will be different, because we can now look at our lives from God’s point of view. While previously we may have bragged about some things, now we may be embarrassed; and while we may have beforehand reveled in them, we will now want to learn from them.

Yes, when we come out of the waters of baptism, everything will be the same but everything will be radically different, too. If it isn’t, something’s wrong and needs to be righted. Things can’t just remain the same.

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
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