6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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. (Romans 6:1-4 (ESV)
We too might walk in the newness of life. Romans 6:4 is perhaps my favorite verse in the Bible. I love it for how it clarifies the application of the gospel upon the sinner in baptism. How it is in baptism that we find the solution to the dilemma of sin. That because we are baptized we now walk in the newness of life, in the eternal life that Jesus won for us. That even now we walk in the newness of life, that is we serve Christ in everlasting innocence, righteousness and blessedness. In baptism we experience the joy of salvation.
Paul is addressing an accusation lodged against him. That his teaching leads people to sin. It fails to provide enough of a curb to sin. His opponents want to rely on the law. My guess is even many who thought they were aligned with Paul on this wanted to rely on the law to curb what they saw as bad behavior and sin. But the law doesn’t do it. The law can possible make a person’s outward behavior conform, but it cannot free a person from sin. In fact, the law has a habit of turning even outwardly good behavior into sin, or perhaps just leaving it as sin. We all too often make the mistake of not taking the problem of sin serious enough. We are sinners, and everything we do as sinners is sin. It may look good on the outside but it is sin. Moreover, sin isn’t something we can choose to serve or not to serve. Sin is a lord, a personal power that lord’s over us, if we aren’t being ruled over by God. What we do as baptized believers in Christ is the opposite, even though being both saints and sinners simultaneously we still manage to sin. The miracle is we also now manage to do something we could not before baptism, we do good, we walk in the newness of life such that what we do as forgiven sinners is counted by God as good, even such mundane things as feeding the dogs, making our bed, loving our spouse, eating dinner. The profoundness of it all.
We walk in the newness of life, it’s one of the phrases like Psalm 51’s “restore unto me the Joy of thy salvation.” The newness of life isn’t something we walk in based on careful, and fearful following of the rules. But rather it is an abundant joy that overflows through everything we do. It is the love of Christ poured into our very being that manifests itself in love, a love that fulfills the law. Oh this doesn’t mean we walk around with fake smiles all the time. But even in the midst of all life’s up and down we have the love of Christ, and this restores to us the joy of his salvation, this doesn’t go away, in this we share his resurrection even now.