Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life
– Romans 6:4
We are beginning to see more sun after what has been a long, wet, winter, and it feels almost as though spring has not really happened! More light and heat can bring joy to us, and positivity. This month we will record the 182nd anniversary of the chapel, and the 32nd anniversary of our church. We look forward to that. We look forward even more to a baptism at the end of the month, which is the first for very many years. We hope and pray that this will be a time that we can look back on in years to come as a marker of new life, and new hope, in our life and witness.
Even as we rejoice at these things, we are aware of many heavy burdens being borne in the fellowship, particularly as we have dearly beloved friends who are battling their way steadily, near to the end of their pilgrimage in this world. I felt that the well-known words of Romans 6 were particularly appropriate for us all. We feel torn in ourselves by thankfulness and rejoicing on the one hand, and a deep sadness on the other. Yet, this is the season that the Lord has ordained for our fellowship, that we might share together both joy, and sadness. We should not be ashamed, or embarrassed, of either emotion, or even a mixture of both at the same time!
The ordinance of believer’s baptism should be a great comfort to all of us at this time. It speaks so clearly to us of Christ’s burial and resurrection. It reminds us of the precious cleansing from sin which we receive upon our conversion. Most personally, it identifies each one of us with our Lord. We are buried ‘with Him’, and as He was raised, so we are raised to walk in ‘newness of life’. Of course there is even more, for we know:
This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.
If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. — 2 Timothy 2:11-12
There are many other scriptures besides that link together Christ’s death and resurrection with our own experience. What a blessing it is to know the Lord Jesus as our Saviour. How precious it is to ‘hide ourselves’ in Him, to be able to look unto Him as the one who has gone before us, and has defeated death. As one modern hymn writer puts it so well ‘Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered’. For the Christian, death is only the doorway to eternal glory. So let us laugh together, and weep together, knowing this — that the life which Christ has won for us can never be taken away from us.