Wednesday, 15 May 2013
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. Romans 6:4
“Therefore…” Because of what was stated in 6:1-3, we come to the following conclusion: Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord “were buried with Him through baptism into death.” Again and as previously noted, this is referring to 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.
In acknowledgement of this act, we are expected to follow this inward change with an outward demonstration of that change – full immersion baptism in water. How can we be certain that water baptism isn’t specifically being spoken of here and that it is therefore some type of a requirement for salvation? Verses such as Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16 seem to indicate that water baptism is a requirement for salvation. Although lengthy in explanation, a short summary of those two verses can’t hurt.
First Acts 2:38 – “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The first thing to note is that this is Peter speaking to the people of Israel who had previously rejected Christ. Therefore, Peter instructs them to “repent” of this mindset. Because of their rejection of Him, Peter expected them to be baptized before they would receive the Holy Spirit. The gentiles were not even a consideration at this point. Comparing the order of the event in Acts 2 with the events involving the Samaritans in Acts 8 and the gentiles in Acts 10, it becomes apparent that Acts 2 was a unique requirement and a one-time event for the people of Israel. It describes what occurred at Pentecost and what was expected of the Israelites, is doesn’t prescribe what is the norm.
Second is Mark 16:16 – “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
On the surface and taken without careful consideration, this verse may appear to indicate one must be water baptized in order to be saved. But this isn’t at all the case. Jesus is tying belief to baptism; “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” However, baptism is not mentioned in connection with condemnation. “…he who does not believe will be condemned.” Therefore, belief and baptism occur simultaneously; it is speaking of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not water baptism. This simply confirms what John spoke prior to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry –
“I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)
The baptism which comes by faith in Christ is this baptism referred to by John and which is spoken of in Mark 16:16.
This then, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is where we are “buried with Him through baptism into death.” We have died to sin and been born again by the Spirit of God. Paul then continues by stating “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.” Just as we died to sin through Christ, we are also raised from the dead in Christ. This is being born again.
Christ’s coming out of the grave was “by the glory of the Father.” Because we are united with Him in this marvelous new way, “we also should walk in newness of life.” The ultimate goal of our salvation isn’t the prospect of walking on streets of gold for all eternity. The ultimate goal is to bring glory to God. God’s glory is the reason why Christ came, why He died, and why He was raised again. These actions were done for us so that we could bring His Father glory.
Life application: We have died to sin and been raised to newness of life through Jesus. Because this is a fact, let us also walk in that newness of life, mortifying the flesh and living in holiness in the presence of our glorious God.
Lord, give me wisdom to walk in the newness of life that came through accepting the work of Your Son. As a son of Adam, I was dead in sin, but as Your son through faith in Jesus I have been born again to new life. Grant me the ability to walk in a manner worthy of this glorious and exalted position and never to bring reproach upon Your precious name. Amen.