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Tuesday, March 24, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

". . .baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" Romans 6:3

What does it mean to be baptized into Jesus, being baptized into his death?

Baptism and death. They are coupled together in holy writ. It is a mystery. It is also our hope.

As Jesus Christ gave Himself every minute to the Father agenda, so Jesus died out to His own zeal. He was human, as we are human; therefore, He was tempted in all areas like as we. But He did not sin. He did not yield to the allurements of self-governance.

Jesus made certain that at every turn--especially when applauded by the masses for miracle producing--that He did not permit Himself to be fooled. He refused the forbidden fruit. He would not bite into that which was hanging on the forever tree in the center of the world's garden. His mission instead was to reverse the disobedience of Adam and Eve by remaining obedient to the Father's directives.

Jesus was then baptized into the final breath by remaining true to Father's redemptive plan, not permitting this holy scheme to be compromised even
under the most grueling of circumstances.

Jesus allowed His very being to be baptized into a sanctified plot outside Himself. He would know nothing until it was revealed to Him. He would suspend His own knowledge of anything until He was signaled by the Father. Then He acted. He then did perform the Father's bidding--on time, just as directed.

This same Jesus has become our Model. He invites us to be baptized into the death to our own zeal.

How many within the courts of religion are overcome with their own zeal? Their energy drives are at fever pitch daily. For what? For the praises. They even hunger for audience approval in the name of Jesus Christ. They have become accustomed, even addicted, to this explosive feeling of ego achievement.

Such is anathema. It is heresy. It is sinful. It is like unto the Pharisees. The mature cross bearer cannot countenance it for a second.

The purpose of the cross is to teach this lesson of zeal submission.

It is the spiritual leadership in particular who must come upon this truth for they are responsible in great measure for the purity or impurity of instruction provided those under their tutelage.

Consequently, spiritual leadership must scour their motives to make certain that death to personal drive is real, that they have been baptized truly into the death of Christ in order to know His holiness in life.

"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."

“. . .newness of life”!

God has already proven Himself two thousand years ago. Death was followed with life. Jesus was there to reveal it. Disciples saw and handled it. They ate with Him, walked and talked with Him.

Life! "I am the. . .the Life."