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Baptized into Christ

The word "baptized" is not the translation of the Greek work in Romans 6:3-4, but a transliteration spelling it out in English letters. The word in the original language means to dip. The figurative use of the word means to take on a new identification. After I dip a white shirt into red dye I no longer refer to it as the “white shirt,” but the red shirt. It has a new identification.

The apostle Paul wrote, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (v. 3).

The word Baptizo in Romans six means "the introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union with something else so as to alter its condition or its relationship to its previous environment or condition."

Paul is referring to the act of God when He introduces a believing sinner into a vital union with Jesus Christ. In this vital relationship the power of his sinful nature is broken and the divine nature implanted through his identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The believer's relation to his previous state and environment is changed and he now has a new environment which is defined as being "in Christ."

God placed us in Christ when He died so that we might share His death and thus come into the benefits of that identification with Him. We were placed in a new environment, Christ. We have a vital union with Christ. Paul declares we are "in Christ." In our new environment in Christ we have righteousness and life. Our condition is changed from that of a sinner to that of a saint.

The Holy Spirit baptized us into Christ. He placed us in Christ in order that we might share His death and be separated from the evil nature. He also placed us in Christ in order that we might share His resurrection and have His divine life imparted to us. The Spirit of the resurrected Christ imparts to us a new quality of life. It is a new source of life that God imparts to us. It is only through this new source of life that we have the ethical and spiritual energy to live the Christian life.

Why did God do this for us? We share Christ's resurrection in order that we may order our behavior in the power of this new life. With the power of this new power we can consistently say no to sin and yes to the indwelling Christ. We do not have to sustain the same relationship to sin that we were in the habit of before we became Christians.

"Therefore we have been buried with Him, through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (v. 4).

Water baptism symbolizes the power of the sinful nature being broken, because we are dead in Christ, and the divine power that we have in our identification with His resurrection. We have now been permanently delivered from the power of sin. God has imparted to us a divine nature, new life, spiritual birth and we can now respond to it rather than sin.

The apostle Paul commands us to live "as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Rom. 6:13). We do not do this in our strength, but in His power of the resurrection.

It is a resurrection that restores the lost image of God, in which we were created by making us to awake in the likeness of Christ. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus.

One day when Christ returns we will stand with Him with resurrected bodies in glory. Our whole nature, body, soul and spirit" will be "made alive in Christ." And if we are in our Lord, our physical restitution is assumed to us with equal certainty with our spiritual. 

We enjoy the righteousness of Christ now and on the great day of the resurrection we will be clad in the incorruptible glory of redeemed bodies (Rom. 6:9; Rev. 20:6).

We share in the resurrection power today (Cot 3:1,3). The believer cannot deliberately live in sin because we have this new relationship and identification with Christ. We have died to the old life, and have been raised up to enjoy a new life in Christ. Because we are alive in Christ we are admonished to "walk in newness of life by abiding in Christ."

Dead in Christ—risen from the dead—alive in Christ and free to walk in the newness of His life.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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