by Stan Mitchell
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me. And the life I now live I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, ESV).
Juan Carlos Ortiz, an evangelist in Argentina, was fond of declaring as he baptized people: “I kill you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
Now there are some doctrinal places where we might disagree with Mr. Ortiz, but I like this statement!
There should be a distinction, sharp as a north wind in December, between the person who is plunged into the baptistery and the one who rises out again that extends beyond the location of their next place of worship. A change so fundamental is supposed to occur that the Apostle Paul calls it a “new creation altogether” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Christians are to be distinguishable from their neighbors. They are also supposed to be distinguishable now from the people they were then.
The same foul attitudes and language, the same selfish actions should be disappearing. Sweet dispositions of love and service, self sacrifice and submission to whatever God has to say should be emerging.
Of course we hope for growth, but it should be emphasized, the change that Christ calls being “born again” (John 3:3,4) is the principle premise of Christianity.
Not only can we become better people, we must. God calls us to. The same old carping and criticisms, arrogance and thoughtlessness so common in the world should not be so with us.
When you were baptized, when you were “killed” in the name of Jesus Christ, who was raised? You? Or Christ?