Through the sacrament of holy baptism, the Christian receives new life in Jesus Christ. At the moment of our incorporation into the mystical body of Christ, the Church, the ‘old man’ is crucified with Christ ‘in order that our body of sin might be destroyed’, and the new man emerges (Rom. 6:6). Going down into the water of the font we see nothing, but rising from it we find ourselves in the new day and new light of the resurrection life. As Saint Cyril of Jerusalem puts it, ‘That one moment was your death and your birth; that saving water was both your grave and your mother’.
Reconciled to God through this configuration to the eternal life of Christ, the Christian is restored to the fullness of man’s nature: of what it means to be human. If Jesus Christ is perfectus Deus, perfectus homo, then through our incorporation into his life we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. What we forfeited in the Garden of Eden through sin, the first act of disobedience, is restored to us by means of the perfect obedience of the Son to the Father – the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.