Give thanks to the Lord;
He is our new life!
What a joy it is to stand alongside dear brothers and sisters as they are baptized. Their baptisms are beautiful reminders of the power of the gospel. There is new life in Christ! Apart from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which baptism portrays, there would be no reason to have a Christian faith. There would be no promises of God worth trusting. If Christ did not die and then rise from the dead, then a Christian’s faith is futile, and to spend this life following Christ is to live the life of someone deluded and pitiable.
But Christ died, and he has indeed risen from the dead! His crucifixion and resurrection have purchased and confirmed all God’s promises. Let me quote from J.C. Ryle, a 19th–century pastor whose writings are still read today:
- We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and memorial stone of the great work of redemption. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our substitute by our Father in heaven.
- Had He never come forth from the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid (1 Corinthians 15:17)? Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident that He has overcome the power of death from the devil (Hebrews 2:14)? But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really rose again for our justification.
The death and resurrection of Christ are the fulfillment of God’s pledge to save. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you can trust God for eternal life, for forgiveness of sin, for the power to change, for a firm and certain place in the glorious age to come. My appeal to all of you on this Baptism Sunday is to put your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Have a settled knowledge of God’s goodness toward you, a goodness that can now be measured by an empty tomb and a Risen Savior.