October 5 I Friday
“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death...” —Romans 6:4
Christ’s death on the cross is the means by which we receive forgiveness, but many Christians overlook the significance of His burial. Condemned to death as a criminal, Jesus’s body was now a possession of the Roman authorities to bury as they saw fit. Normally, the Romans burned crucified bodies, but Pilate made an exception when Joseph of Arimathea requested to bury Jesus’s body in Joseph’s family tomb.
These details are not incidental. Hundreds of years earlier, Isaiah prophesied the unique circumstances surrounding Christ’s burial, writing, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death” (Isaiah 53:9). Christ’s burial, not just His death, was predetermined in the mind and heart of God with a purpose: that by being buried with Christ through baptism, our sin would be considered over and dealt with, dead and buried.
Scripture is full of images that say something similar about the finality of sin that has been placed on Christ. Micah 7:19 says of God, “[You] hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Corrie Ten Boom, whose family helped Jews escape during the Holocaust, used to say of this verse that God also puts up a “No Fishing” sign. Those sins are gone; nothing good comes from trying to fish them out again.
David writes, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”
(Psalm 103:12). These directions are irreconcilable; if a person continually travels west, they can circle the globe over and over without ever travelling east. Or there is Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” It is not that God is forgetful but that He never recalls these sins again. By God’s reckoning, when we are baptized into Christ’s burial, our sins are taken beyond our reach and are never to be held against us again.
Some Christians find this hard to believe. They feel trapped in a cycle of confessing the same sins over and over because they do not feel forgiven. But Paul writes, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The devil is the one who condemns, trying to smother us under feelings of guilt and shame for past sins, but Jesus liberated us by carrying our sin to the tomb and leaving it there. No matter how condemned we may feel, we can rest assured that forgiveness is an objective, accomplished fact true of anyone baptized with Christ into His burial.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me stand firm against the devil’s condemnation and to know experientially the freedom and liberty of my sin being buried with Christ. Thank You, Lord.