Dying and Rising with Christ
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore 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.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We 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. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Its funny how pictures eventually just appear and just fit. I was struggling with finding something that connected in this passage – there’s so much here, but so much that is a challenge to represent. Finally, I saw it as I was walking into my house tonight. It was the remains of the flowers that we will eventually need to clean out of the garden before winter comes. Just a few weeks ago the flowers were still bright colors and in bloom. They were gorgeous much of the summer. But the first freeze came and they were gone the next day. So beautiful, yet so fragile. I asked my wife tonight about what we needed to do and she said that before we bagged up the stems and the plants, we needed to collect the seeds so they could be used to plant ones for next summer. And there was the picture. A picture of the flowers that have died but a promise of what is to come.
In this passage, Paul reminds us that out of our death (both of our sinful nature and our literal death that will come someday) will come life. Will come a life redeemed, renewed, forgiven. Consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Right now, we look out our kitchen window and see the remains of what were once beautiful flowers, but within every flower that has died are the promises of life that will come again.