posted on Dec, 14 2018 @ 05:04 PM
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death?” (Romans ch6 v3)
The message of the New Testament centres upon what God achieved in Christ, through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection..
All this was happening “on account of our sins”, for the sake of doing something about them.
And the promised result is the forgiveness of sin.
Our contribution to the outcome is our faith; that is, our willingness to rest, in trust, upon what Christ has done.
In our faith (and in association with our baptism) we have received the Holy Spirit, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit brings us into union with
I have quoted the expression “baptised into Christ Jesus”. On a previous occasion, I drew attention to that word “into”, which needs to be
It means entering into something, becoming part of something greater.
We should not limit ourselves to the metaphor of becoming part of “the body of Christ” by joining the church.
Let us take the words at full value, as the expression of an objective spiritual reality; the act of baptism is a symbol that the believer has entered
into Christ, and has become part of a greater experience.
The significance of being ”in Christ” is that we become part of everything that he has done.
The message of Paul is not that Christ does these things “in our place”.
Rather, he does them himself and carries us along with him in the process.
I have been crucified with Christ
Paul declares that he was crucified together with Christ (Galatians ch2 v20).
If he has been crucified, then he has died.
If he has died, then he is “dead” to all manner of things that belong to the old life.
They now lie on the other side of the death-barrier.
“The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians ch6 v14).
They include the written law of Moses; “I died to the law” (Galatians ch2 v19).
“You have died to the law through the body of Christ”.
Putting the same thing another way, we have died “to the elements [TA STOICHEA] of the universe”(Colossians ch2 v20).
He then explains this as a reference to the “regulations”, the “human precepts” which have been governing our religious lives.
Those who belong to Christ have also crucified “the flesh, with its passions and desires” (Galatians ch5 v24).
“We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed…
So you must consider yourselves dead to sin” (Romans ch6 v6, v11).
In short our old life is dead and buried, having followed Christ into his own death and burial;
“All of us who are baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death.
We were buried with him therefore by baptism into death” (Romans ch6 vv3-4).
Because the old life, “the flesh”, has been sloughed off, Colossians can call this death a kind of circumcision;
“In him also you were circumcised by a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ, and you were
buried with him in baptism” (Colossians ch2 vv12-13).
you were also raised with him
Paul declares that if we have “died together with” Christ, we are also raised with Christ.
“You have come to fullness of life in him… you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the
working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians ch2 vv10-12).
This applies to the future resurrection;
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his…
If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (Romans ch6 v5, v8).
Thus it is that “by a man has come the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”. All those,
that is, “who belong to Christ” (1 Corinthians ch15 vv21-22).
“He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians ch4 v14).
But there is also a sense in which we have been raised to heaven already.
Jesus said “Where I am, there shall my servant be also” (John ch12 v26), and that now means “in the presence of his Father”.
If Christ has ascended to the Father, and we are “in Christ”, then we are also ascending to the Father.
“God… made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians
That is why we are told that our life “is hid with Christ in God”, waiting with him for that moment when Christ is revealed to the rest of the
“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians ch3 vv3-4).
Jesus himself hinted at this, when he said of those “little ones” who believe in him; “Their angels always behold the face of my Father who is
in heaven” (Matthew ch18 v10).
“Their angels” does not refer to angels which have been assigned to them, but to the “angels” sent out by the believers themselves to
represent them in heaven. This is another version of “You are seated in the heavenly places”.
The same teaching is found in some of the images of Revelation, when they are properly understood,.
When the “144000” believers are “sealed” on earth, in ch7, the event is followed by the immediate vision of a great crowd in heaven, standing
before the throne and praising God and the Lamb. We need to appreciate that these are the “heavenly presences” of the same people who have just
That is why, when the great crowd in heaven is seen again, singing a new song before the throne of God, it remains identified as the “144,000”
(ch14 v1). Many of them will have been martyred at that point, but their place in heaven is unaffected.
There is also a “newness of life” which begins now, by the same process.
“God, who is rich in mercy… when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with him” (Ephesians
And the consequence of the death of the “old sinful body” should be that “walking in newness of life” is a life freed from sin;
“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans ch6 vv1-11).
But that theme needs to be considered in more detail at a later time.
The symbolism of baptism, especially when carried out as full immersion, represents both aspects of our identification with Christ..
Going down into the water represents the submission to death.
And coming out of the water again represents the raising to new life.
The whole process presents a fundamental element in the teaching of the New Testament.
Namely, that our salvation does not come to us through what we have done, by our own strength, but through our participation in what Christ has done.