(009)Thesis: Baptism into Christ Jesus does not occur at the point of baptism in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but is the basis for our "death to The Sin".
Introduction: Thus far we have seen that Paul wants his readers to believe that something genuine actually happened when they believed in the Gospel. What "happened" is that they were significantly "separated from" both the physical and spiritual results of Adam's "sin". Believers have "died" to "The Sin" in such a way as to be significantly removed from its two-fold results.
The problem for believers is that this "removal" is not a "physical" removal that makes living their new life in Christ a mindless and automatic consequence. In Adam, "living" is an automatic matter of being subjected to an incipient, physical "death" and to "a spiritual bondage" that involves the automatic assumption of "lies" as "truth". In Christ, "living" is a matter of both being "aware" (not ignorant) and "believing" that has its roots in genuine truth. Because both ignorance and the persuasiveness of lies are the natural state, genuine "living" is the result of a non-automatic, deliberate "believing". The solution to ignorance is not automatic; neither is the solution to submission to persuasive lies.
This evening we are going to look into the foundations of this new, actual, reality.
I. We Were Baptized Into Christ Jesus.
A. The problems...
1. There are those who insist that Paul is addressing Jesus' command to "make disciples, baptizing them...".
2. These are ignorant of many things about the concept of "baptism" as presented by the Scriptures.
3. This ignorance is rooted in the pervasive intention of most men everywhere to make "salvation" the result of man's action.
B. The biblical facts...
1. There are at least 15 uses of the words "baptism"/"baptize" in the New Testament that have nothing directly to do with water baptism.
2. John the Baptizer, himself, argued that "water" baptism was a significantly weak methodology when it comes to participating in the genuine spiritual realities toward which it points (Note especially Matthew 3:7-8 and 3:11).
3. The only inescapably powerful "baptisms", in terms of the impact they produce, are those which have, as a mechanism, powers that are far beyond human capacities.
a. There are those "baptisms" that have to do with "being immersed in historical events that are seriously beyond human control" (1 Corinthians 10:2 and Luke 12:50 as examples).
b. Then there are the "baptisms" John prophesied: "baptism with the Spirit"/"baptism with fire".
c. And Paul's "baptism by the Spirit".
4. The reality is that water baptism was a kind of "seal" of the profession of faith in a given teacher's doctrine.
a. In Acts 19 there is a significant revelation regarding people being "baptized" solely because of specific doctrines: the incomplete doctrine of John vs. the doctrine of Paul.
b. This is not a basis for repetitive baptisms as one grows in the knowledge of the Truth, but it does illustrate the significance of water baptisms as evidences of a commitment to doctrine.
5. Paul taught a genuine "baptism into Christ Jesus" accomplished "by the Spirit of God" that has only a tangential relationship to baptism with water in the name of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians12:13).
a. Since this is a fundamental doctrine regarding "baptism" into the body of Christ, there is no reason for not taking Paul at his actual wording in Romans 6:3.
b. The actual nature of this not "physical", nor "metaphysical": it is simply a total identification of the "baptized" with Christ and His Body in the mind of God.
1) In physical baptisms, there is always some kind of physical immersion of one entity into another.
2) In non-physical baptisms, the ultimate root is always some kind of genuine mental shift in thought and commitment.
II. We Were, Therefore, Baptized Into His Death.
A. Since the baptism of anyone into Christ Jesus is a total identification in the mind of God of the baptized with Christ Jesus, there is nothing of Christ Jesus omitted from that identification.
B. Thus, Paul's focus upon the particular aspect of Christ Jesus called "His death" is simply a very specific point taken out of the plethora of "points" that could be made.
1. At issue is the question of what we are to take away with us regarding our total identification with the "death of Christ Jesus".
2. Though there are multiple other issues involved, it is clearly "physical" death that Paul has in mind since it is tied directly to His physical resurrection.