There was a man named Joe who hand committed grand theft auto and was caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Finally the day came for Joe’s release from prison. Within the first day after his release Joe was arrested again for the same crime plus he robbed a few liquor stores at gun point. Joe once again was tried, convicted and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Joe lashed out angrily at the court and protested he shouldn’t have to return to prison because he had already been there. The judge looked at him and said, “Joe, you paid your debt to society the last time you were in prison and you were released. However, when you were released, you were free to live in society and abide by the law, but you chose to commit crimes once again. You were not freed to do whatever you wanted; you were freed to do what was right.”
Does this sound familiar? So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! This symbolizes the freedom we received through the blood of Christ.
That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country.
Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did.
That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.