06: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17
This is such an incredible verse, it has spoken to me loads in my life and journey as a Christian.
When I was a pastor at a church in Essex I loved taking baptism services. Getting someone into the water and publicly declaring their new life, witnessing to a radical change in them via the process of sticking them under water and pulling them back up was just amazing.
I remember when one guy called Rich got baptised. He was a well-built fella. I was so speechless when he came up to be baptised, he had seen a glimpse of Jesus and that was enough for him and for me, in he got.
I said to him that I wanted to push him completely under the water and if I could, hold him under a bit before bringing him up. The point was that it was important for Rich to know that everything above the water was now closed to him.
The air was no longer available for him to breathe, the noise of those watching, the sunlight bouncing off the top of the water, he was being buried under that water, and I was going to make sure he felt that separation.
That for me is essential, when we believe in Jesus and get ourselves baptised we are acknowledging that we are cut off from everything above the water. Buried. When we come up it symbolises this new life in such a powerful way that I can’t not get emotional at baptisms. Especially if someone was fighting me to be lifted up out of the water before I was ready to lift them! (Just a joke…maybe.)
When you decide to follow Jesus, and you say YES to him, the old has gone, buried and moved aside. The old anger, or way you would deal with things, the old life that controlled you and wrestled against the truth you have now found in Jesus. Sometimes for me, and I want to be honest here, this can be a daily reminder that the old life and all its unhelpful ambition, desires and cravings has been buried with Christ in DEATH!
I am a new man and no longer need to live that way. With new life comes a new focus and path to walk. Powerful verse that one.
Image Credit: Ben White