Friday, 21 April 2017
…buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2:12
This verse partly resembles Romans 6:4 –
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Paul, ensuring that those in Colossae understand this crucial point of doctrine, states it again while giving it more force than that which he wrote in the epistle to Rome. He says, “…buried with Him in baptism.” There is an article in front of “baptism.” Therefore, it reads either “the baptism,” or “your baptism.” Further, this is in the aorist tense, and so it makes this act of burial contemporary with the circumcision noted in the previous verse. In essence, when you were circumcised with the circumcision of Christ, you were also buried with Him in baptism.
This then is a spiritual, not a physical, baptism which is being spoken of. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit – the total immersion of the old man into Christ’s death, being completely covered by His righteousness and thus resulting in us being “in” Christ. The sealing of the Spirit is the baptism of the Spirit; it is a one-time act which moves us from Adam to Christ. Water baptism then is only an outward sign of the inward change which takes place in us. This is another reason why sprinkling of infants is of no value. It is show without substance.
Paul continues with, “…in which you were also raised with Him.” Again, this is a spiritual raising, not our final conversion when we shall be made like Him at the resurrection. This raising is a moral conversion. When we were circumcised (made right in our heart, and acceptable to God), we were buried (where our sin and the old man was covered over), and we were also raised (putting on the new man who is morally covered in Christ’s righteousness, and deemed acceptable to God). The entire process occurs when one receives Jesus Christ through faith. As Paul says, “…through faith in the working of God.”
This faith is speaking of God’s working in Christ on our behalf. Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him to life. It is the constant theme of Paul where the focus is on the resurrection. Faith in this is the heart of the gospel. If the wages of sin is death, and if death could not hold Christ Jesus, then Christ obviously had no sin of His own. If this is so, then those who die in Him have had their sins removed in His death, and are thus deemed as sinless before God. Therefore, they too will be raised. Nothing can thwart this from taking place. All of this happens to us spiritually the moment we trust in the gospel message, and therefore the physical aspect of what occurs must logically follow. It is also another, of countless verses, which clearly show us the truth of eternal salvation. If we are deemed as sinless, then we are saved – once and forever.
It is God “who raised Him from the dead.” God looked upon the work of Christ, declared it acceptable, and therefore Christ was raised. When we trust in Christ, God looks upon our faith, and declares it acceptable. His merits are imputed to us, and we are granted the circumcision, the removing of the old man, and the moral conversion to a new and acceptable being.
It must be remembered why Paul is saying these things. There were those who claimed that something more was necessary to be perfected, even as a follower of Christ. Here is how Paul stated it in verse 8 –
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Paul is showing that the gospel transcends the traditions of men, and is not according to the basic principles of this world. What He offers is so far above those things that they are utterly useless. It would make no sense at all to fall back on Greek or Jewish practices which could not possibly have any bearing at all on what has occurred in the believer in Christ. Paul will perfectly and clearly explain this in the verses ahead.
Life application: If you have received Jesus Christ, the law is dead to you. Why on earth would you go back and adhere to principles of a law which is obsolete and nullified through the work of Christ? You have died with Him, you have been buried with Him, and you have been raised to newness of life because of Him. Now live for God in the New Covenant; put away the old!
Thank You, Lord God, for the New Covenant which comes through Christ’s work, and which fulfilled the Old Covenant in His death. Now, that is obsolete. It has been nailed to the cross, and that which stood opposed to us can have no power over us. Sin is defeated in Christ! So why would we willingly choose to return to a covenant which is nullified in Him? Let us put our trust and faith in what He alone has done. All praises to the name of Jesus! Amen.