Baptized Into Christ
The phrase “baptized into Christ”, is used in Romans 6, verse 3, and again in Galatians 3, verse 27.
Romans 6:3 says; “Or do you not know, that all of us who have been baptized into Christ, have been baptized into His death?” And Galatians 3:27 says; “For all of you who were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.”
From these two verses, we can see that the idea of being “baptized into Christ”, has two different meanings associated with it. First of all, being baptized associates us with, or connects us with, the death of Christ. And second, being “baptized into Christ” associates us with being covered with Christ. We “Put On Christ”, as if you put on a coat to cover ourselves. Some versions say, you have “clothed yourselves with Christ.”
In addition to those two things, there’s the idea of being “IN Christ”, or “IN the Lord”. The phrase “in Christ”, is used in Romans 16, verses 3, 7, and 9, and in Galatians 3, verses 14 & 28. It’s also mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 17, and in many other verses.
The phrase “in the Lord” is used in Romans 16, verses 8, 9, 11, & 22, and in many other verses of scripture. To be “in Christ”, or to be “in the Lord”, obviously mean exactly the same thing. Everyone on this earth, is either “in Christ”, or they are “out” of Christ. The only way that the bible speaks of, for getting “IN Christ”, is to be “baptized into Christ”. So then that’s a third thing, associated with baptism.
There’s actually a fourth thing that’s associated with baptism too, and that’s the idea of a “washing”. Acts 22, verse 16 says; “Arise and be baptized, and WASH away your sins..”
And I guess you could say there’s a fifth thing connected with baptism, because 1 Peter 3:21 says; “..Baptism now SAVES us..” So there’s a “saving” associated with baptism.
Oh, and there’s one more thing I need to mention.. baptism is also associated with a “burial”. Romans 6, verse 4 says; “Therefore we have been BURIED with Him in baptism..”
Isn’t it interesting, that being baptized can be associated with a death and a burial, and at the same time, it can be associated with a washing and a saving? And then again, at the same time, there’s the covering of ourselves WITH Christ, and therefore being IN Christ.
And you’ll hear a lot of people say that baptism isn’t necessary.. Wow! Not necessary! You CLOTHE yourself with Christ, and therefore you’re IN Christ; You become connected with Christ’s DEATH, and then you’re BURIED with Him in baptism. And here’s something I didn’t even mention yet, we are RAISED with Him through our baptism. Baptism doesn’t only involve going down into the water, but it also involves coming up out of the water. It says in Acts chapter 8, and verses 38 & 39; “..And they both went down into the water.. And when they came up out of the water..”
When Jesus was baptized, it says in Mark 1:10; “..and immediately, coming up out of the water..”
Here’s a verse that can’t be overlooked when talking about baptism..
Romans 6, verse 4 says; “Therefore we have been buried with Him, through baptism, into death, so that..” (in other words, “for the purpose of”) “..so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, WE TOO, walk in newness of life.” We come up out of the water, and we “walk in newness of life”.
Some bible versions say, “we MIGHT walk in newness of life”, and some say, “we SHOULD walk in newness of life”, but the point being made, is that the very purpose of being baptized into the death of Christ, is so that we CAN walk in newness of life! In other words, if you are NOT baptized into Christ’s death, it’s not even possible for you to walk in newness of life! You’ve got to go, “down into the water”, and you’ve got to “come up out of the water”. Otherwise there’s no death, there’s no burial, and consequently, there can be NO new life.
Everyone wants to be “born again”, but not many want to die and be buried, so that being “born again” is even possible.
That’s a point that we need to make very clear, when we’re talking to someone who claims that baptism is not necessary. There has to be a connection, between you, and the death of Christ, in order for you to be raised to walk in newness of life. Without that connection to His death, there’s no life. The scriptures actually explain very thoroughly, the connection that we have with Christ’s death. Listen to the explanation given in verses 5 thru 12..
Here’s verse 5; “For if we have become united with Him, in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Baptism “unites us” with Christ’s death; It connects us with His death. And if we have been united with Him in death, then we will be united with Him in His resurrection. Oh, everybody wants to be united with Jesus in His resurrection, but what they fail to recognize, is that in order for you to BE untied in His resurrection, you first have to be united with Him in His death. You can’t one, without the other.
And here’s what being united in the likeness of His death means to us. It says in verses 6 & 7; “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died, is freed from sin.”
“Our body of sin” must die and be buried. It must be “done away with”. “Our body of sin” is our past, sinful, behavior. It’s the way we used to live, before we were baptized. And that way of life has to be buried, it has to be done away with. We’re not going to be slaves to that sinful behavior any longer.
The bible isn’t saying that everything we did before we were baptized was sinful, but certainly, some things were, and those things have to stop. Everything, that isn’t in complete compliance with God’s word, is sinful. If your newness of life, isn’t any different than your old life, then you’ve probably never repented, and your probably not a Christian even yet!
Do you remember these verses in John 8:31 & 32; “If you abide in My word, THEN you are truly disciples of Mine, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Most of the time we hear people quoting just verse 32. That’s the part that says; “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” But if we just take that verse, and leave out verse 31, we won’t end up KNOWING the truth. Here’s why.. There’s a difference between simply being “aware” of the truth, and “knowing” the truth.
Listen again.. “If you abide in My word, THEN are you truly disciples of Mine, and you shall know the truth..” Let’s just stop there a second. Jesus is saying, that the way for you to “know” the truth, is to abide in His words. And He is also saying that there are three things that will result from abiding in His words. And remember, “abiding” means to continually obey.
So then Jesus says; “If you abide in My words”, the first result will be that you will truly be His disciples. Oh, lots of people want to claim to be disciples of Jesus, but if they don’t continually obey His words, then they’re not truly His disciples at all. The second result from abiding in His words, is that you will truly come to “know” the truth. To “know” the truth, means that you have had first-hand, personal experience with the truth. In other words, it means you have personally obeyed the truth. And the third result of abiding in His words, is that because of your intimate, first-hand knowledge of the truth, the truth will make you free from the consequences of sin.
“He is the author of eternal salvation, to all those who obey Him”, isn’t He? Hebrews 5, verse 9.
Now, let’s go back to Romans chapter 6, and read more about the bible’s explanation, concerning our connection to Christ’s death. Beginning with verse 6; “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again, death no longer is master over Him. For, the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all. But the life that He lives, He lives to God!”
“Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God IN Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it’s lusts. And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin, as instruments of unrighteousness. But present yourselves to GOD, as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
And continuing that same line of thought, Romans 12, verses 1 & 2; “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God; Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do NOT be conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, and acceptable, and perfect.”
1 John 2, verse 15 exhorts us with these words; “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is NOT in Him.” And we can be sure, that if the love of the Father, is not in us, then neither are WE, IN Christ.
Galatians 3, verse 27 tells us; “For all of you who were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ!” Just like when you put on your daily clothing on, you are IN that clothing. In the same way, when you clothe yourself with Christ, you are then IN Christ.
Now, in that verse that I just read, the scriptures are identifying a method of clothing yourself with Christ. And that method is by being baptized. And it’s important to realize, and to understand, that the scriptures identify NO OTHER method of putting on Christ. Only one method is given, and that is to be baptized into Christ.
And think again about our connection with the death of Christ. Being united with Christ in His death, is mandatory to being united with Him in His resurrection. Remember what Romans 6, verse 5 said.. “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” But think about this; How many methods do the scriptures identify, of becoming “united in the likeness of His death”? Well, the answer is ONE! There is only one method by which we become united with Christ, in the likeness of His death. And that method is baptism!
The scriptures give us one method of clothing ourselves with Christ, and one method of becoming in the likeness of His death. There’s only one method given for being buried with Him too.. And again, it’s Baptism.
Do you remember what another one of the things associated with baptism was? How about the washing away of our sins? Acts 22:16 says; “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins..” Well, how many methods do the scriptures give us, of having our sins washed away? You can search the new testament from start to finish, and you’ll only find ONE method of washing away your sins. What’s the one method? Baptism!
When you are discussing with someone, the subject of whether or not baptism is necessary, ask the person to show you all the methods that the bible gives us, for putting on Christ, and for being buried with Him, and for being united with Him in the likeness of His death, and for having your sins washed away. Isn’t it interesting that the bible mentions only one method for each of those things? And isn’t it interesting, that the one method that the bible does mention, is the same method, for all of those things?
Here’s one last thing that I mentioned earlier, that the bible associates with baptism. We read in 1 Peter 3:21, that “baptism now saves us..” But, if you ask someone to show you all the methods that the bible mentions that will save us, they might come up with several examples, all from the bible. I can just go to the little concordance section in the back of my bible, and look up the word “save”, and look what I come up with, as far as different things that will save you..
Mathew 10:22; “..the one who has endured, he shall be saved.” So then endurance saves you.
Mark 16:16; “He who believes and is baptized, shall be saved.” So then belief and baptism saves you.
Luke 7:50; “Your faith has saved you..” So faith will save you.”
Romans 8:24; “In hope we shall be saved.” It sounds like hope will also save us.
Ephesians 2:5; “For by grace you have been saved..” So then grace saves us.
John 3:17 says; “That the world should be saved through Him.” Romans 5:10 says; “We have been saved by His life.” So then, Jesus Himself, and His life saves us.
So already we’ve got seven different ways to be saved. Is salvation a multiple choice? Do we choose the method that best suits us? The truth is, all those things save us, but none of them ALONE saves us. Each and every one, is a necessary component of our salvation.. Including of course, baptism.
I know that no matter how many ways we use, to present the necessity of baptism, some people still won’t believe. But Jesus Himself did say; “He who believes AND is baptized, shall be saved. But he who disbelieves, shall be condemned.” Mark 16:16.
Believe His word, repent of your sins, confess His name, and be buried with Him in baptism, into His death, and be clothed with Christ, and be IN Christ, and wash away your sins, and walk in newness of life, and be saved. And then, if your faith in His grace will endure, then HIS life will give YOU life, and in hope, you will be saved.