Union with Christ: The Root of Discipleship

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:1-4

Our union with Christ is the foundation of our discipleship. All our growth, our following after, our conformation, is rooted in our union with Christ. He died, he was raised from the dead, and we are baptized into that death and resurrection, in order that we too may live a new life.

Living the new life. This is discipleship. It grows out of the work of Christ, and out of our entrance into that work, namely, our union with him.

Shall we keep sinning? Paul asks the Romans. If grace covers our sins, why should we stop sinning? Why not keep sinning to show how powerful is grace?

Because we were saved with a purpose: to live a new life. Union with Christ cuts us off from the old life, the way of sin. How can someone united with Christ continue to live a life of sin? It doesn’t make sense, Paul tells us.

This does not mean the disciple is perfect. We struggle with temptations. We sin. But we do not walk in the way of sin. We do not let a sin go unchecked within us.

Unfortunately, some people who claim to follow Jesus, follow sinful patterns. Christians engage in premarital sex like it’s the new kiss, the status quo of relationships. Christians practice dishonesty in their businesses. Christians use foul language and think it’s not a big deal (after all, language doesn’t break up a home, does it?)

Brothers and Sisters, as I mentioned yesterday, we follow a person, Jesus Christ. Discipleship is not a salad bar of beliefs, at which we can pick and choose our lifestyle to suit our tastes. Discipleship is not even about following rules. We make the hard choices to reject the ways the Bible tells us are sinful and destructive for us—not because we must follow the rules of Christianity, but because of our union with Christ. We are one with Christ, how can we live in ways that snub this oneness?

Let us hold to the union we have with Christ and the new life which that entails. His new life, his way, for our good.

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