READING: Romans 6:1-11
10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
October. Probably one of my favorite months. No, not because it is supposed to be Pastor appreciation month (although admittedly that has a nice ring to it). The truth is I love the season as much as the month. Autumn. Leaves turning colors; crisp, cool air; HS soccer season (at least where I am from); football games and tailgate parties; bonfires; Homecoming parades; spice cake (with cream cheese icing); apple cider, apple butter; apple pie; APPLES; or for that matter: pumpkin pie; pumpkin muffins; pumpkin bars; pumpkin bread; my new Fall favorite…pumpkin spice lattes; PUMPKINS! I’m getting hungry just writing this.
But this blogpost isn’t about food. I could start a whole other blog for foodies. This is a devotional blog. And this post is about identity…our identity….our identity in Christ! Sure the things above describe things that I like, things I look forward to this time of year. And that gives you a small glimpse into who I am, but only a glimpse. It does not define me at all. You can’t take that list of things and think, “Oh yes, I’ve got this guy’s number.” Just because a person likes/dislikes things, appreciates/doesn’t appreciate something, or has an opinion one way or another about something, doesn’t mean that particular thing defines everything about them. But that seems to be how the world likes to view things. We think we know the whole sum of a person based on one relatively unimportant aspect of their lives.
But what if that one thing IS important. What if it is of such great importance that the Scriptures, our Confessions, our hymnody and other writings speak about it to our consciences in such a way as to cause us to understand it as the sum and substance of who we are and whose we are?
“God’s own child I gladly say it”: I am baptized into Christ! (Lutheran Service Book #594 st. 1, CPH St Louis, Mo 2006)
This hymn has quickly become one of my favorites as I am daily reminded of my baptism into Christ Jesus, and my relationship to my Savior from sin. In my own daily struggle with sin (Read Romans 7:7-25) I need this daily reminder that I am connected to Jesus in such a way that He who paid the full price for all of my sins imparts his righteousness to me. I am reminded that all of my sins have been washed away and that I emerge a new person in Christ.
Stanza 2 of hymn #594 states it quite well: Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ! I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice. Should a guilty conscience seize me, Since my Baptism did release me. In a dear forgiving flood, Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?
So you want to know who I am? Start with WHOSE I am. That is my identity now. Nothing less, nothing more. I am baptized into Christ…I’m a child of paradise! (Hymn #594 st. 5, CPH 2006)