By Rev. George Borghardt
You’ve already died. You did! Death’s already happened to you. There was no angel of death, no Grim Reaper, no Oscar-winning last breath. No, you died in the Baptismal Font. You nwere drowned in the water and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus suffered for you. He was beaten in your place. He was crucified. He died. They pierced Him with a spear. The punishment which should befall you fell upon Him and, by His stripes, you are healed.
You died in the flood of blood and water flowing from Jesus’ crucified side. You were crucified with Christ. You died with Him. You no longer live—at least not the way you used to live before your Baptism.
You are dead to your sins.You are dead to having other gods. Dead to trusting to your works and stuff. You are dead to misusing God’s name and despising His Word. You died to disobeying your parents, hating and hurting others, fornication, porn, sleeping with those to whom you aren’t married, stealing, downloading music you don’t pay for, cheating on your taxes, lying, gossiping, slandering others, pushing others down to push yourself up, and wanting to have the things that belong to others.
Oh, you were that person. You did those things. You lived in that death and you called it “life.” You don’t any more. You’ve died with Christ. You are alive to God.
He rose from the dead on Easter morning. You were raised with Him in the water and the Word. He is sinless. You are sinless, in Him. He cannot sin. You cannot sin, in Him. He is holy. You are holy, in Him. He is righteous. You are righteous, in Him. He lives and you live in Him.
But you don’t live like you’re alive, do you? You live in your sins, as though you were still enslaved to them. You hang around the grave where your sins were buried with Jesus. Your world is a prison with shackles of the iniquity and filth that you feel you “must” do.
You want to stop. You can’t—not on your own, anyway. You know you are better than this, but you really aren’t, because if you were better then you wouldn’t be committing the same sins day after day.
It’s time to die again! Repent of your sins— that is, confess them to God or your pastor or your neighbor and then beg the Lord to have mercy on you. Hold your sins under the waters of your Baptism. Drown them. And if they should float back up again, drown them again. Pop up. Drown.
They resurface. Drown again. You die to sins. Jesus raises you from the dead again. Rinse and repeat.
This is the Christian life. It’s dying to your sins and rising again in Jesus. Die to the way you are doing things on your own, to the sins that enslave you, and be raised to new life—His life. Repent and believe that Jesus saves you. He must. He promised that He saves you in your Baptism.
His life is then lived in your life lived for others. It’s not you doing it, but yet it is. It’s your life lived in Christ. The life you now live you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave up His life for you.
In Him, you fear, love, and trust in God above all things. You cherish the Lord’s Name and His Word. You honor Mom and Dad and all the authorities around you. You don’t hurt others but rather help and support them. You lead a chaste and decent life in all you say and do. You help improve and protect your neighbors’ possessions and income. You defend your friends, you speak well of them, and put the best construction on everything they do and say. And coveting? It’s not even something that comes to your mind.
When you fail, die and rise again in your Baptism. When you don’t fail, die and rise again in your baptism. For you have died to this world, to your sins, and you have been raised to new life in Christ—a life lived for the sake of others.
When you do die again, you won’t actually die, because you’ve already died once in Holy Baptism. Death will be just a nap. You will wake up. Jesus will awaken you to an eternal life where He is. You will be as you are now in Holy Baptism by faith—holy, perfect, and forgiven.
You will live eternally on that day because you are alive in Jesus right now. Right now, you are dead to your sins and alive to God in Christ. You have been crucified with Christ and now live in Him. The life you have now you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave up Himself for you.
Rev. George F. Borghardt serves as the Senior Pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in McHenry, IL. He is the president of Higher Things. His email is revborghardt @higherthings.org.