This is a TRUE STORY about a young man named Joey, who was a drug addict and lived the lifestyle that included petty thieving, selling drugs, and living in a drug-induced high. His world was a network of young men and women whose intent from dawn until late into the night was the pursuit of getting high. He continued to go back to church week after week eagerly listening to the preaching of the Gospel.
In the church that he attended there was a baptismal service almost every Sunday. After hearing the Gospel and being awakened by the Spirit to faith in Christ, Joey asked for baptism. He sent out invitations to his family and the network of persons who made up his world that read simply, "You are invited to Joey's funeral and resurrection on Sunday night." They came, curious and confused. Joey stood by the baptismal water and addressed his stunned family and friends with the words, "Goodbye, I am leaving the world that all of us know for real life in Jesus. You will see me around, and we will talk, and I hope I will continue to be your friend. But the Joey you have known has died and in a few minutes will be buried. The man you will be talking to is somebody who has risen from the dead and for the first time in his life is really alive! And seeing as he is dead, Joey will not be selling drugs, anymore and will not be joining you to shoot up or be at the parties".
Joey walked the streets of Brooklyn, seeing the old haunts and friends, but although he was still IN THE WORLD, HE WAS NOT OF IT. He was a man who had been JOINED to Christ. He had returned home from his own funeral to see the world and all of life through resurrected eyes.
Joey's story brought me back to my own baptism. I remembered my own funeral and resurrection. For each of us who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, what joy it is to know as we come out of the waters that the Father announces to us as surely as He did to Jesus, "This is My beloved son/ daughter in whom I am well pleased." The Spirit that came upon Him, comes UPON US, and as we enter the family of God, the Spirit comes and enfolds us in the arms of God's love.
We become partakers of God's life, His everlasting life. The divine life is added by grace to our humanity. We are reborn, and our lives begin again on a totally different plane. We move out of the domain of the lie and the darkness to be at home in the new creation founded on the new covenant in Jesus.
In Colossians 1:12-15 we are encouraged by, "Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. His is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation.
The story was taken from "The Power of the Blood Covenant" by Malcolm Smith. Page 151