Baptized Into Christ

Hello everyone. We’re continuing tonight our study of the doctrine of the Trinity going through the New Testament. We’re in the book of Romans. Much of the epistle deals with the doctrine of justification and while the deity of Christ is not the main focus in those chapters, we will find that it plays a part in them. The view that Paul holds of Christ in justification shows how he views him. Now we’re also not going to get into the debates of Calvinists and Arminians. That’s not our focus. We want to speak on what we all agree on, and that is who the person of Jesus is. We’ll be in Romans 6:1-14 tonight.

1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

The idea of being baptized into Christ shows taking on the identity of Christ with what he went to. The Israelites identified with Moses when they were baptized into Moses metaphorically through the Red Sea crossing. (1 Cor. 10:2)

However, how are we to identify with Christ? In death and resurrection, and this in the context of speaking about righteousness. We are to take on the identity of Christ to be righteous. Imagine this coming from a Jew who would have found righteousness in YHWH. Now he says righteousness is found in Christ. What an amazing switch! Again, the matter-of-fact way this is spoken of should catch our attention.

Notice also that the goal is living with Christ. We are to live with him. For the Jew, they would have longed to be in the presence of YHWH. Now Paul says the goal is to be with Christ. He goes on to tell us that the only way we can be alive to God is to be alive in Christ. Our eternal relationship with YHWH depends on our eternal relationship to Christ. Is this a mere man YHWH is basing this all on?

I answer no. Justification is something that a mere man cannot provide us and as we get to Hebrews, we will see this more as the identity of Christ is stressed strongly in that epistle. For tonight, I hope we have seen the importance of who Jesus is to Paul in his teaching in Romans. Tomorrow, we shall see what more he has to say.

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