Walking through the Door (The Cage Series – Part 2 of 4)
Hello Friend! I see that you are still trapped in your cage. I am sad to see that you are locked inside, away from the beauty of the light, trapped by your sin… What’s that you say?…You want to come live in the light, but you don’t know how to open the Door?…Let me tell you The Way.”
First, you have to accept the fact that Jesus is truly the way out of your cage. Many claim to be the savior of the world, but only through Jesus can you be saved. (Acts 4:12) You have to believe and trust that God will do as he has promised. In John 14:1, Jesus tells us ““Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus goes on in John 14 to tell us of the heavenly home he is preparing for us. But we cannot go to that heavenly home unless we are free from our cage. God through his grace provides us the gift of The Door and we in faith must walk through it. (Eph2. 8 )
The door that Jesus provides is actually a water gate, also called baptism. Mark 16:16 says “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.” You may be wondering why a water gate? Why is this way so important? What happens when I go through the water gate?
When you are baptized, you are united with Christ’s death and resurrection. Romans 6 says we are buried with Christ in baptism and we are raised from the dead just as Christ was raised from the dead. Just as Christ was put into an earthly tomb, we are put in a watery tomb. As he was covered with the stone, we are covered by water. We are brought up from that tomb just as Christ was brought up from his. We are putting to death the sin we have and we are allowing Christ to live in us. We are choosing to die to sin and to live to righteousness (1 Pet 2: 24 ) Gal 5:24 describes it this way: “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” In other words, we repent and change our behavior from sinful to righteous so that we might proclaim “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Gal 2:20
Because we are united with Jesus’ death in baptism we are also united with his blood. Christ’s blood is able to cleanse our conscience (Heb 9: 14), forgive our trespasses (Eph 1: 7) and release us from our sins (Rev. 1:50) Baptism, therefore, is an appeal to God for a good conscience. (1 Pet. 3:21) Before baptism we are vile and repulsive, caged in our sin, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit wash, sanctify (purify, make holy), and justify (make guiltless) sinners in Christ’s blood. (1 Cor 6:11, Heb 13:12, Rom 5:9) During baptism, because of Jesus’ blood, our hearts are “sprinkled clean from an evil conscience” and our bodies are “washed with pure water”. (Heb 10:22) Because Jesus’ blood does all these things, God promises us that we will enter “the Holy Place of God”: Heaven. (Heb 10:26)
Not only are we united with Christ’s death and cleansed of our sins but in baptism we are spiritually circumcised. Before Christ came, to be considered holy before God, men had to have their foreskin cut off. Before baptism we are dead and uncircumcised in our sins but through baptism God removes sin from us, circumcising us, making us holy. (Col 2:9-13) And because we are made holy, we are able to come before Him.
During baptism through the Holy Spirit, we are “all baptized into one body”, Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12: 12-13). Eph 5: 23-27 tells us that Jesus cleanses his body, the church, with his blood and by washing her with water, cleansing her so that she has “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” We are no longer divided: Jew or gentile, slave or master, but are unified into one body: the church. (Gal 3:28,) It is through baptism that Jesus fulfills the promise he made in Matt. 16:18 when He says “I will build My church.” And we, having been baptized, are now members of His body, the church, each with our own spiritual gift in which to serve him. (Rom 12)
Once we are buried with Christ, we are raised to a new life, and God puts us under his grace. (Rom 6:4, 14) We were once dead, but are now ALIVE together with Christ, having been forgiven of our sins. (Col 2:13, Eph 2: 5) We have been born again, born of both water and the spirit (John 3:5) Each of us is now “a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor. 5:17 Being a new creature, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph 2: 10) Also, when we are baptized we are clothed with Christ, which means we now belong to Christ. (Gal 3:27) Being that we are now connected with Christ and made holy, we have been made complete (Col 2:10). Eph 2:19 says “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” And as such you are free to live in the Light, free from the slavery of sin. (John 8: 34-36) Because our sins have been removed and we have been made holy, we have been saved from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9) and instead have entered the kingdom of God. (John 3:5) Because God is now our king, we are slaves to Him and to righteousness, rather than slaves to sin, (Rom 6). And our reward and promise will be to live eternally in Heaven with Him (Heb 9:15, 1 John 2:25).
For some letting go of their sin, their cage, is hard. “Do I want to leave the familiarness of my cage? Do I want to change my life? Do I want to let go of sin?” But the choice is yours and yours alone, will you stay in your cage and eventually die in your cage, miserable and separated from the Father? Or will you let go of the cage, and choose to live in the light and in the blessings and in the way of the Jesus. In choosing to walk through the door, you are choosing to live your life differently. To live your life in way that honors both God and Jesus who have done so much to save you.
What if I chose to not go through the door? If you chose not to go through the door, then you are still a slave to sin (Rom 6, Rom 8:34). You are still trapped in your cage. You are separate from Christ, excluded from his body, and denied God’s blessings. And most of all you have NO HOPE! (Eph 2:12) Furthermore, because you are still trapped, the wrath of God remains on you. (John 3:36) 2 Thess 1: 8-9 says “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.”
Wouldn’t it be better to come to the light and not live in your cage of sin? Come my friend! Use the water gate and come to the light! “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” Acts 22:16
By Amy Ellis
Originally printed in the Spring 2011 Issue V4N2
Part 1 – The Cage and The Door
Part 3 – Living in the Light
Part 4 – Attached to the Body