I’ve heard many people ask the question before, if God is so all-powerful, then why would He not just wipe out the balance against us in our sins? He’s the banker, He can forgive the debt. And it’s true. But then where would we be? Shopaholics with no balance on our credit cards standing the in the middle of the mall, that’s where.
In our fallen natures, we are slaves to sin. Again and again, “I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do.” (Rom 7:15). God not only forgives us for all our departures from perfection, but He wants to save us from ourselves, and break that repeated and bad habit of sinning. So He sent His son, Jesus to die on a cross. Paul, in his wordy wisdom, tell us “For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life.” (Rom 6:4)
Jesus died so that we could die with Him. If any death is a good death, then it’s death in Christ. If we die with Him, He then drags us beyond the grave and into life after death. Then we walk “in the newness of life”. Once the shopaholic has been slayed, a new being stands in the mall, one with the ability to resist the hypnotic and compulsive suggestion of the four letter word: SALE. The possibility is then before us to stop racking up the debt of sin.
I’m going to switch to a different metaphor now, and consider God’s motivation behind this death and new life he offers to take us through. Pretend you are engaged to the most wonderful potential spouse. You cheat on him. There are two ways this wrongdoing can be forgiven. Your fiance might say, “Look, I don’t hold this against you. I forgive you and wish you well, but you are no longer a good person to marry.” Or your fiance may say, “I forgive you. I love you and still want to marry you, but you need to change.” What is change but a death of an old way and birth of a new way? The death we die in Christ through baptism changes us so that we can have a relationship with God. We can’t continue to live in our old cheating way, or the relationship will fall apart. But true forgiveness, earnest change, and new life can bring about an amazing love – something that’s worth dying and rising for.