So the first time he went out to spray the tomatoes and peppers for bugs, he forgot to rinse it out from the time before when he sprayed for weeds around the fence. He never had to do that before. That is why he had two sprayers. So he went right out and sprayed my miniature rose and his first tomato. That's when he smelled the herbicide. Uh-oh. Even if he had rinsed it out, the wand still had plant killer in it. And that is exactly what happened. The next morning I went outside and my little rose was brown and dead. So were the tomatoes, but the rose had been a gift from a voice student 20 years before.
I doubt that will ever happen again, but that doesn't change the results. Or so I thought. A few weeks later I went out to water my flower beds during the unseasonable dry weather we were having, and as I bent over the rose I saw it—one tiny red leaf, the color of new growth on a rose. A day or two later, another showed up. And today I had two small rose blooms. The rose had risen from the dead. Not two weeks ago I had snapped off all but one brittle brown stem, and now it is thriving once again.
Do you realize that is exactly the figure the New Testament uses of a person who becomes a Christian?
Or are you ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death no more hath dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he lives, he lives unto God. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. (Rom 6:3-11).
Too many times we use this to teach our neighbors that baptism is an immersion. What we need to focus on is that we are supposed to have died to sin and now live a new life, raised from that death to live a life unto God. Paul was writing to believers when he wrote those verses. I have no right to make excuses when I sin, not when I have the power of Christ's resurrection in my life. Speaking of which:
And you did he make alive, when you were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:— but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:1-6). Just as in Romans, you were dead, but now you have been made alive. Live like it.
We could go on and on with verses like these. You may never have realized how many there are, in fact, but that in itself tells us how important this is. It is also says, "There's no valid reason for having missed this, people!" Just like my little rose, we were supposed to have come back to life at our baptism. If we are still wallowing in the grave of sin, something is dreadfully wrong.
If you died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to [them] (Col 2:20).
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me (Gal 2:20).
…having been buried with him in baptism, wherein you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses (Col 2:12-13).