Burial of your old self

Paul told the Ephesians that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). He told the Romans that where sin increases, so does God’s grace. But he was sure to tell them that we shouldn’t sin more so we receive more grace: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 ESV).

When we are baptized, we are baptized into his death: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (vs. 4). Paul says that if we were united in death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his (vs 5). Paul tells us that our baptism brings our old self to death and we are raised a new person. This is a work of God. When our old self dies and our new self rises out of the water, “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus” (vs. 11).

Peter agrees. He uses the death/life language and links it directly to the waters of baptism. Peter says that through Christ’s death and resurrection he was “being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). He immediately shifts to the flood waters where Noah and his family were brought safely through the water. “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Christ” (vs 21).

What Peter says makes perfect sense because, like Noah, there is death under the water. At the same time God saves us by carrying us through the water. Christ is the vessel who carries us safely through the water as we become united with him.