This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day) comes from none other than Gil Kracke:
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Romans 6:5, NIV)
I try to imagine how to approach a verse like this, one that stands with such vast profundity in such simple brevity. What words could be placed beneath these, which seem to carry such a weight as to move whole epochs? And yet it is wonderfully and maddeningly simple: the verse very simply dispels the ultimate fear that binds our timid hearts, that keeps someone from believing and trusting that for him or for her—for you and for me—there is the possibility of forgiveness.
This is a word for those for whom hell on earth is not hard to imagine, where it seems all too close to reality. It is a word for those who are so gripped with remorse from something in the past that living in its wake is like death to them. It is a word for one whose “gig is up,” who has received a quick and public exposure. It is a word for the one suffering a silent, slow death—a twisting and lonely life. It is a word for anyone who can resonate with the image that we each are the “walking dead.”
The wounds we carry (given or self-inflicted) are never to be minimized; it is no accident that our risen Lord carried with him the scars of his crucifixion. But as Tim Keller once observed, deeply wounded people are often deeply selfish people: they cannot not think of themselves and their wounds.
Where are these wounds for you? What afflictions do you find yourself brooding on or pushing into conversations with others? With these words from Paul, we are given hope that someone lifts us from the self-absorption our wounds crave. This is the collision of God’s grace into our wounds. Something besides me resurrects me.
Paul has no naïve understanding of people. He squares up to our bounden relationship to death, and still he asks, “Don’t you know that you have died to sin; how can you live in it any longer? As you have died to it, are you going to assume the position of giving it power, vivifying it for your own pain and pleasure? No, you cannot—you have died to sin! As we have died to sin, we have shared with Christ in his baptism into death; if we have been united with him into his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” United in his resurrection—this is something besides us restoring life to our wounded souls.
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