I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live. (Gal. 2:20)

WE GATHERED AND SLIPPED on the muddy banks of cold Morgan Creek. On a forty-degree day in December, we celebrated our first baptism as a new church and participated in the new life of our friend Tony.

Tony was a marine. There was this thing he did when he shook hands—a marine thing, he said. Instead of the normal grip, hand in hand, he gripped higher up on the inside of my forearm, while I gripped his. The test, then, is to see who is the stronger man, who has the strength to wrestle and turn his arm on top. In all of my personal experience, Tony never lost.

Until that Sunday. As he went beneath the frigid water (yes, even cold for a hardcore marine), he let Someone else win. He surrendered. He submitted. He humbled himself to a stronger Man. A Man strong enough to save.

This is the beauty of baptism. It is an ancient act that vividly proclaims the heart of Christianity. It reminds us that we are crucified with Christ, and we no longer live, but He lives through us. In this submission and submersion, an old life is buried beneath the water. And a new one is raised fresh and new, soaked in grace and dripping in forgiveness.

Surrender every corner of your life to Christ.

Matt LeRoy is co-pastor of Love Chapel Hill, an eclectic church plant in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is married and has twin boys.