Saturday, January 24, 2009

Faith Before Rising In Newness Of Life … A Sunday School Lesson

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Ro 6:3-4 AV)

This is a glorious statement of the new birth experienced by souls who have placed their trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of this regeneration in his conversation with Nicodemus referring to this as being born from above or born of the Spirit (our common expression of being born again). The analogy of death, burial and resurrection is a picture of Christ's atonement and resurrection. The faith through which this newness is realized is that of trusting Jesus and what He did for us in the same manner Jesus trusted His father in all things. It is through faith that we experience regeneration or the born again experience. To see this need for faith to precede regeneration or rising in newness of life, we can observe the following.

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Ga 3:26-27 AV)

Many of our Calvinist friends are fond of insisting that men must be regenerated before they can believe because dead man can do nothing if not first becoming born from above. However, most Christians understand the texts provided above leave no room for regeneration (rising in newness of life) occurring before being baptized into Christ (itself preceding our rising in newness of life). The long-standing position of the church over these 2,000 years is that of faith in Christ through the preaching of the cross of Calvary as the precursor to baptism and regeneration as a child of God.