Romans 6:1b-11 (NRSV)
6What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
As children, my siblings and I often played games that involved one of us pretending to die. If we forgot that we were supposed to be out of the game, we were forcefully reminded, “You’re dead!”
This passage in Romans is St. Paul’s forceful reminder that in baptism, God puts us to death and raises us to new life, and that new life is to be lived differently. In his comments on this passage, Martin Luther says that, unlike in our children’s game, Paul’s words are not just a metaphor; this is really true about us. We’re really dead to sin, and alive to God in Jesus Christ. We can’t go on doing whatever we feel like doing regardless of the consequences to ourselves or other people.
We have died with Christ Jesus, so our focus is no longer on what we can get away with, but on how we can bring Jesus to others by the way we live, as well as by what we say.
Help us to die daily to self, and to live for you and our neighbors. Amen.