#DailyDevotion Baptism Is A License To Do Good
Read Rom 2:17–29
Rom 2:28-29 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. (29) But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
Starting at verse 17 Paul begins to rail against the hypocrisy of the Jews who tell others what to do and not do and then go off and break the same laws they teach others to keep. Now this same logic also applies to Christians. We might note, St. Paul does not tell them to stop preaching the law. What is the point? To start being consistent and start obeying the law in light of the mercy of God.
The Jews we see here were pointing to their circumcision as their guarantee they were Abraham’s children and were making it a license to sin. Paul tells them this isn’t so. One is not merely a Jew by the outward circumcision of the flesh. One is a Jew whose heart is circumcised. There must be a conversion of the heart by the Spirit so one’s life does change because of the renewal of the mind.
Christians in similar fashion should not use their baptism as a license for sin. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit regenerate our hearts and give us faith which is to become active in our hearts. But if we use our baptism as an excuse to continue to sin we have made void our baptism and have despised the gift.
Now though baptism is a continuous calling to repentance of our lives. So when we sin it calls us back to God and to turn away from that sin. Our hearts are to be renewed there so we can recognize our sinfulness and to turn away from it. It is only the Spirit who renews our life and begins to have us keep the Law. It is only the Gospel which is in baptism that can change our lives.
We now like the Jews are called to live lives under grace. We recognize we are sinful like our fellow man and do not think we are better than them. We can sympathize with them and offer them the same life which we ourselves have received from Christ. A life without judgment from God but rather forgiveness, grace, mercy and kindness (mind you this still does not give us license to sin).
Lord Jesus Christ, continuously give us your Spirit and faith that our lives may not speak ill of your name among the unbelievers but rather point them to the grace, mercy and peace which you offer freely in baptism. Amen.