Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul to the saints which were at Rome, and more specifically, is found in the first eight verses of the chapter. In order to properly understand the transition that takes place within this portion of Scripture it’s first necessary to journey back to the final two verses of the previous chapter. In verses twenty and twenty-one of the previous chapter we find these words written by the apostle Paul—“Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21). With these words—and quite honestly with everything the apostle Paul had written thus far—the apostle Paul declared that sin was not only present within and upon the earth prior to the giving of the law, but so also was death present prior to, up to, and even after the law was given unto Moses atop the mountain in the wilderness. What the apostle Paul declares is actually quite astounding, for the apostle Paul declared that the purpose of the law being given was “that the offense might abound.” Prior to the giving of the law sin was present in the world, yet sin was present without and apart from the righteous standards of the true and living God. If you actually take a moment to consider what it was like prior to the giving of the law atop the mountain of God in the wilderness of Sinai, you will come to the knowledge that sin was indeed and was in fact present within and upon the earth. In fact, there are two specific instances within the Old Testament book of Genesis that not only describe the tremendous wickedness that was found upon the earth, but also the judgment of the Lord upon that wickedness and rebellion. While the Old Testament book of Genesis is indeed and as in fact a book that describes and outlines various beginnings, it is also a book that contains two apocalyptic undertones. What I mean by this, is that while the Old Testament book of Genesis reveals a number of beginnings within the earth, it also directly points to the judgment and wrath of God that would be revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and all ungodliness.
Consider if you will what Moses records in the first thirteen verses of the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Moses concerning the days of Noah, and the judgment the Lord would unleash and bring upon the face of the earth. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all w high they chose. And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:1-13). With these words Moses not only reveals that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, but also that everything imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Furthermore, Moses also writes how the earth was corrupt before God, and how the earth was filled with violence. What’s more, is that Moses also records how all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. All this was in addition to the sons of God coming in unto the daughters of men and producing upon the earth a race of giants that would move upon the face of the earth.
If you transition forward into the Old Testament book of Genesis—specifically to the eighteenth chapter—you will encounter another account of the wickedness of man upon the earth. Whereas in the sixth chapter of the book the wickedness of men had corrupted the whole earth, this particular chapter presents us with the reality that wickedness had consumed two specific cities within the plain wherein Lot, his wife and his two daughters dwelt. Within this chapter we find three men appearing unto Abraham, and after two of the three men went forward from the presence of Abraham, he was left standing with the Lord before him. Beginning with the sixteenth verse of this chapter we encounter the description of the wickedness that was found present within the cities of the plain—specifically, Sodom and Gomorrah: “And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thin which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is various grevious; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto Him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. And the Lord went His way, as soon as He had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place” (Genesis 18:16-32).
It is clear from each of these passages—and from the very first book contained within the Old Testament nonetheless—that sin most certainly did reign within and upon the earth prior to the giving of the law. In fact, not only did sin reign upon the earth prior to the giving of the law of Moses in the wilderness of Sinai several generations and centuries later, but so also did death and judgment. If you read the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will read of the Lord’s intention to completely judge the sin and wickedness of man upon the earth, and how the Lord was going to do so by unleashing and releasing a flood that would cover and consume the entire face of the earth. The Lord of hosts looked upon the face of the earth and saw that the imagination of the heart of man was continually evil and wicked, and the Lord could not strive with men anymore. The Lord determined it was necessary to destroy the whole earth with a flood to cleanse the earth with the flood waters that would be unleashed. Within the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis—not only do we find sin, not only do we find wickedness, not only do we find iniquity, not only do we find transgression and rebellion, but we also find death and judgment. Within this chapter we find death by way of the judgment of the Lord, and the judgment of the Lord by way of the flood waters which covered and consumed the face of the earth. If you begin reading with the tenth verse of the seventh chapter you will read of the judgment of the Lord being unleashed and released upon the earth—“And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same days where all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark…And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth” (Genesis 7:10-13, 17-23).
If you read the nineteenth chapter of the same Old Testament book of Genesis you will quickly discover the Lord’s judgment upon the cities of the plain—specifically, Sodom and Gomorrah. “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, O, not so, my Lord: behold, now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Hast thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gate up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and twoard all the land of the plain, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt” (Genesis 19:16-29).
It is clear from each of these passages that sin most certainly did abound—and not only abound, but also increase within and upon the face of the earth. The entire sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis reveals the tremendous truth that sin not only increased upon the face of the earth, but also that it was continually present upon the earth. Moses records how the whole earth was filled with violence, and that the whole earth had become corrupt before the living God as He looked down from heaven upon the wickedness and transgression that had covered and consumed the entire earth. So prevalent was the wickedness, the transgression, the rebellion, the iniquity, and the sin of men upon the earth that the Lord had to destroy the earth by way of flood waters which covered and consumed the entire earth. Within the Old Testament book of Genesis we understand just how prevalent and how pervasive iniquity, sin, wickedness, transgression and rebellion was upon the face of the earth, for there are two specific instances when the Lord unleashed judgment upon the face of the earth. IN the sixth chapter we read of the Lord’s judgment upon the face of the whole earth, while in the nineteenth chapter we read of the Lord’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and upon the face of the whole plain wherein Lot, his wife and their two daughters dwelt. In all reality, I would dare say that we recognize and understand just how pervasive and prevalent sin was upon the face of the earth by way of the scope and magnitude of the judgment the Lord unleashed within and upon it. Think about it—the Lord had to cover and consume the entire face of the earth with a flood of waters in order that all flesh and everything that had breath within it would die from the face of the earth. The Spirit of the Lord could and would not strive with men forever, and as a result, the Lord would destroy the entire earth by way of a flood that would completely cover and consume the entire earth. The Lord could not tolerate the iniquity, the transgression, the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah any longer upon the face of the earth, and as a result of this, He needed to judge the wickedness that was found present within these two cities. Within the Old Testament book of Genesis we find the Lord’s judgment upon the face of the whole earth, as well as the Lord’s judgment upon the cities of the plain—specifically, Sodom and Gomorrah. What’s interesting and worth noting, is that in the case of each of the judgments of the Lord, the Lord spared certain individuals from being consumed by His judgment. During the days of the flood, the Lord spared Noah, Noah’s wife, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and each of their wives. During the days of the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord would have spared Lot, his wife, and their two daughters, yet because Lot’s wife looked back, only Lot and their two daughters actually escaped the judgment of the Lord.
In the fifth chapter of the New Testament epistle to the saints which were at Rome, the apostle Paul wrote how the law entered in order that the offense might abound. In other words, while it was true that sin did already abound upon the face of the earth, and that sin had already been judged by the Lord through fire and flood, the offense before God would increase and abound all the more once the law was given unto Moses atop the mountain in the wilderness of Sinai. When the law was given, it was a very specific standard of holiness and righteousness that was given unto men thus directing them how they were to conduct their lives and live before the true and living God of heaven and earth. When the law entered into the picture sin, judgment, and even death were already present and prevalent upon the face of the earth, but the law only increased and enhanced the offense before the living God. In other words, it was one thing to sin without and apart from the law, but it was something else altogether different to sin in light of, and in the face of the law which was given by the Lord of hosts unto Moses atop the mountain the wilderness. The law would not increase sin upon the earth, but would increase the offense upon the earth, for now there was a standard that had been written with and by the very finger of the God of heaven and earth. It is one thing to sin without and apart from the law—perhaps being ignorant of the requirements of the law—but it is something else altogether different to sin after the law had been written upon tablets of stone, and was now given in written form before and unto men. After the law was given unto Moses, the offense would increase, for now—while sin was already prevalent and pervasive upon the earth—any sin and transgression that was committed before the true and living God would be a direct violation of that which had been written by the very finger of the living God upon the earth. Any sin, any transgression, any rebellion, any wickedness that was committed upon the earth after the law was given would not only be a direct offense before the living God, but it would also be a direct violation of the law of God which was given unto men.
What is actually quite remarkable is that despite the fact that the offense would abound upon the giving of the law, grace would abound much more in the face of sin. In fact, the full and complete statement of the apostle Paul In this particular passage of Scripture reads as follows: “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace di much more abound” (Romans 5:20). How absolutely wonderful and magnificent it is that despite the offense abounding in light of and in the face of presence of the law, grace would much more abound in the face of the law. I can’t help but consider the reality that the offense would be greater with the presence of the law, and the law would increase the offense before God; however, the greater the offense before the true and living God, the greater the grace of the Lord would be toward those who call upon His name. There is a particular passage found in the New Testament gospel of Luke that speaks of this reality when a woman came and anointed Jesus’ feet with the tears from her eyes, the perfume from her alabaster box, and wiped those same feet with her hair. “And one of the Pharisees desire Him that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box ofointment, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, He spake within Himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had noting to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I supposed that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly. Judged. And He turned to the woman, sand said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the Harris of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, WHICH ARE MANY, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:36-47).
It was the law which caused the offense to increase and abound all the more within the heart and life of an individual yet where sin did much more abound in the face of the law which was given through Moses, grace did much more abound. I am so intrigued by the account of this woman in the presence of Jesus, for it was Jesus Himself who spoke of this woman as having many sins within her heart and life. In fact, Jesus would go on to declare that though her sins are many, they were forgiven. Pause for a moment and consider such a statement, for it was only grace that was far greater and vastly superior to this woman’s sins that could allow her to be forgiven. How absolutely incredible it is to think that Jesus didn’t simply declare that certain of this woman’s sins were forgiven, but that this woman’s sins were many, and that those sins were forgiven. Aren’t you glad that forgiveness isn’t mutually exclusive? In other words, that I mean by that statement is that Jesus doesn’t pick and choose which sins He is going to forgive when He chooses to forgive an individual. Jesus did acknowledge this woman’s many sins, but in spite of, and in the face of this woman’s many sins, He would go on to forgive them all. What’s more, is that despite the fact that Jesus acknowledged this woman’s many sins, He did not proceed to call those sins out and list them in the presence and company of those who were present on that day. It would have been very easy to not only acknowledge this woman as being guilty of many sins, and then to proceed to list those sins, but this wasn’t at all what Jesus did. Instead, what Jesus did was acknowledge that this woman was guilty of many sins, and then proceed to declare that her sins were and had been forgiven. Even more than this, Jesus would make the declaration that those who had been forgiven much would in return love much. What an absolutely incredible statement this is when you take the time to consider it, for forgiveness and the receipt of grace can in fact directly dictate our love—not only our love for Jesus, but also our love for the Father. Those who are and those who have been forgiven much will in return love much. This, however, isn’t to say that those who perhaps don’t have the same type of sordid past as another individual cannot love as much or even the same was one who has had a lifetime of sin, and transgressions, and rebellions forgiven by the Lord. In fact, I would dare say that even if you were forgiven one sin—if that one sin stood between you and spending an eternity in the presence of the Father and the Son—that one sin should cause you to love much. Those who have been forgiven much and those who have been forgiven little should love the Father, the Son, and the Spirit the same, for any sin separates us from the love of God, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and Jesus Christ has forgiven us of that one sin, or those many sins we were guilty of committing within and throughout the course of our lives.
When we come to the sixth chapter of this epistle of the apostle Paul to the saints which were at Rome, we find the apostle Paul beginning by asking two specific question: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Please mark this question, and mark it well within your heart, your mind and your spirit, for there would be those who believe the lie and the deception that because grace does much more abound, grace is somehow a license to continue to sin before and in the presence of the living and holy God. There are those who would preach this distorted view of grace—a grace that somehow permits and allows us to continue in our sin. There are those among us who would use the grace of God as a license and excuse to continue sinning, for they know the grace of God is readily available, and does much more abound. As the apostle Paul continues speaking along these lines, he goes on to ask how we shall, and why we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are indeed and in fact dead to sin. If you were to truly take a look at your life right now, can you honestly declare of yourself that you are dead to sin. Oh, there might be certain sins which you are dead to, however, there are other sins which you are not yet dead to within your life. We cannot, we should not, we must not miss this reality, for this reality is incredibly important to us within and throughout the course of our lives. The apostle Paul asked how we which are dead to sin, could and even would live any longer therein. In other words, if you continue and persist in any type of sin, can it very well be said of you that you aren’t dead to that sin? Can it be said that you aren’t dead to sin in general if you continue to persist in it? The apostle Paul could not understand why anyone would choose to continue in and persist in sin and transgression before the living God. The truth of the matter is that there were those who could not die to sin because they used grace as a license to continue in sin. In other words, there were those who used grace—not only as a license to continue in sin, but also as a barrier to being dead to sin. WHEN GRACE STANDS AS A BARRIER TO BECOMING DEAD TO SIN! It is actually no wonder why the apostle Paul would go on to write how those who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. It is no wonder that the apostle Paul would go on to write that if we are buried with Him by baptism into death, so also like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
THE WORK PERFORMED IN THE MIDST OF THE WATERS! THE WORK THAT TAKES PLACE BENEATH THE WATERS! I have previously written concerning the work which took place between the waters which we read of in the Old Testament. I used as the point of reference the flood waters which covered the earth during the days of Noah, as well as the waters of the Red Sea during the days of Moses, Aaron, Miriam and the children of Israel which departed from the land of Egypt. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the judgment that surrounded the flood waters during Noah’s day, and it would be incredibly easy to get caught up in the supernatural manifestation of the power of God in parting the waters of the Red Sea; however, we dare not, we cannot, we must not allow ourselves to get caught up in those realities alone. Consider if you will the language that is found in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis: “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all the flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth” (Genesis 7:17-23). In the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus we read the account of the waters of the Red Sea and how the waters would part for the children of Israel, yet would collapse upon themselves and return to their place over and upon the Egyptians: “And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even All Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighters for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them” (Exodus 14:23-28).
There is something Moses spoke unto the children of Israel when they saw the Egyptian army pursue them from behind as they had their backs toward and against the Red Sea: “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: FOR THE EGYPTIANS WHOM YE HAVE SEEN TO DAY, YE SHALL SEE THEM AGAIN NBO MORE FOR EVER” (Exodus 14:13). The words which Moses spoke unto the children of Israel are actually a great context and powerful declaration concerning the reality of the work which takes place beneath the waters. As Noah, his wife, their three sons, their wives, and all the living creatures which were aboard the ark were moving safely upon the flood waters, there was a work that was taking place beneath the waters—namely, the destruction of all human flesh. Beneath the same waters that bare up the ark, the Lord was destroying wickedness, transgression, iniquity, rebellion and sin upon the earth. While Noah and his family dwelt safely within the ark upon the waters, there was a work taking place beneath the waters that resulted in the destruction and judgment of that which had corrupted the earth. When the children of Israel stood on the other side of the Red Sea—as the waters of the Red Sea would return to their place—there was a work that was taking place beneath those waters. There beneath the waters of the Red Sea the Lord overthrew the Egyptians with their horses and their chariots. There was a work that took place beneath the waters of the Red Sea—the work of destroying that which had enslaved and oppressed the children of Israel, and the work of destroying that which sought to pursue the people of God and enslave them once more. Please recognize and understand this with everything that is inside you, for when you read the words of the apostle Paul, we must view the waters of baptism the same way we view the waters of the Red Sea and the flood waters during Noah’s day. There is a work that should take place beneath the waters of baptism—a work of judgment, a work of overthrowing, a work of destroying, and a work of death. Noah and his family would come out on the other side of the flood waters experiencing life, and the children of Israel would come out on the other side of the waters experiencing life. We are faced with a powerful question and decision right now—one that would bring us to the place where we are ready, willing and able to choose to surrender ourselves to the work which takes place beneath the waters of baptism. We indeed must be baptized with Christ in order that we might be buried with Him in death, in order that just as He was raised from death to life, we might also be raised up to newness of life. Oh, are you willing to surrender yourself to the work that takes place beneath the waters in order that you might be dead to sin?