Second Reading: Romans 6:3-4, 8-11

From Death To Life

How does the change of seasons inspire you? How does your attitude adjust as winter becomes spring?

Popular Translation

3 Don't you realize that when we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried together with him in a baptism of death. But, the glory of the Father raised Christ from the dead, just so we could live a new life.

8 If we died with Christ, we believe we will live together with him. 9 We know that, since Christ rose from the dead, he can't die again. So, death no longer has power over him. 10 When he died, he died to sin forever. Now that he lives, he lives for God. 11 Like Jesus, you should consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive for God in Jesus Christ!

Literal Translation

3 Do you not know that (we), as many as were baptized into CHRIST JESUS, were baptized into his death? 4 Thus, we were buried together with HIM through the baptism into death, so that, as CHRIST was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we might also walk (throughout life) in the newness of life.

8 If we died with CHRIST, we also believe we will live together with HIM, 9 knowing that CHRIST, having been raised from the dead, (can) no longer die, death no longer has rule over HIM. 10 That HE died, HE died to sin once and for all. But, that HE lives, HE lives towards God. 11 So, you (should) consider yourselves dead [to be] to sin, but living towards God in CHRIST JESUS.

In these verses, Paul continued the "black vs. white" logic he used throughout Romans. This time he compared death and life to answer a question: if God acted and saved us even when we were sinners, why can't we continue to live a sinful lifestyle? After all, we are now free from the Law! Why can't we do as we please?

Paul answered this dilemma in death and life terms. When we were baptized, we died to self and committed ourselves to God. To do otherwise would be to break our baptismal promises. To act selfishly would be to turn away from our oath to God.

But, Paul saw a deeper connection. When we were baptized, Paul held, we gained a sacramental bond with the death of Christ. In a very real way, we died along with our Savior. Since the Risen Christ still carries the imprints of his crucifixion, he has death with him. It is as if Christ absorbed the power of death and transformed it into new life. As baptized Christians, we are one with the Risen Christ and one with death turned into life. We live death transformed because we are in Christ. In other words, when we were baptized, in a spiritual sense, we really did die. Our physical death in Christ also meant a death to previous immorality.

If we touch death in Christ, we are also one with his resurrected life. Now we can live a life united with God. Just as Christ is oriented towards the Father, we, too, should commit ourselves to the Father.

So, why can't we do what we please? Because, in baptism, we change as Christ changed. Like winter that turns to spring, we change from the death of sin to a life forever with God. So, salvation does not mean a libertine freedom from the Law. It means a freedom of commitment, a freedom to align ourselves to someone greater.

Reflect on your baptism. Can you imagine what your life could have been before baptism? (Or, do you remember what your life was like before baptism?) How have you changed? How has your commitment to God grown?