In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism… – Colossians 2:11-12a
Scripture reading: Exodus 28:6-21
Baptism is an identity marker reminding us we are not our own, but belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, not only because we are baptized in His name, but also because we were buried with Him in baptism.
To understand our being in Christ, it is helpful to remind ourselves of Old Testament Israel being in the high priest. On each of his shoulders he had a stone engraved with the names of six of the tribes of Israel. In the breast piece of judgment, he had four rows of three stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, when he was wearing his official robes, Israel went with him, so to speak, because as their representative he acted for them and as their substitute he acted in their place.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the Old Testament high priest. He functioned as the representative and substitute of New Testament Israel, the church, His body. When He died, the members of His body died with him. Baptism is a sign and seal of our having died and been buried with Christ. Because, in the Old Testament, circumcision made with hands was an identity marker that members of the church had been cut off from the life of the flesh in the world—the old order—and had been placed in the church—the new order. Paul calls our being buried with Christ, in baptism, the circumcision of Christ, made without hands. It is a sign and seal that, in Christ, we have died to the life of the flesh in the world.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank your heavenly Father that in Christ you have died to the life of the flesh in the world and have been placed in the new order of life in the church.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC.