having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12 ESV)
There’s a powerful picture at work here. A picture of being buried with Jesus Christ in baptism and then being raised with Him. But as we take a closer look at this picture, there are some important details to consider.
 “having been buried with him in baptism…” – Romans 6:3 defines “buried with him in baptism” for us: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” This is a picture of us going down, of submitting and of us recognizing that we are guilty sinners in need of a Savior. This is the point in our lives when we are finally dead to ourselves.
 “…in which you were also raised with him through faith…” – Thankfully, in Jesus, there isn’t just a going down, or a death. If we are in Christ, we are also “raised with him.” Romans 6:4 tells us, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
 “…in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” – How is this going down and coming up accomplished? “In the powerful working of God.” It’s not our great effort or exertion. It’s not our great thinking or figuring things out. God is the one who works in us and through us to call us to repentance through and in and by Jesus Christ.
This one verse is describing a supernatural action that is occurring: salvation. This transformation that is being described — being buried with Christ in baptism and being raised in newness of life with Him — is something that happens due to the sovereignty and power of Almighty God.
But also keep this in mind: the Apostle Paul wrote these words, as breathed-out by God, to the church in Colossae. These words would, of course, be used to find unbelievers and deliver the gospel to them, but the original audience was a church. As they heard these words, they were being reminded to do something. What was that? Verse 2:6 reminds us,
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
As believers reading or hearing this letter, we are being reminded to live in a way that follows the example of Christ. Of course we aren’t going to be able to live a sinless life, but that doesn’t mean we can live as He did. We can seek and serve the lowly and lost with a humility and grace that points others to the one true God. Through the Scriptures, we can mercifully point others to God as He is found in His word.
“Monday Colossians” is a weekly Bible study series from the book of Colossians. All Bible quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible translation. You can read all of the posts in this series by clicking here.