(011)Thesis: Our "burial" with Christ Jesus is the mid-point issue of our ability to live as Christians.
Introduction: In our last study we considered the issues involved in "baptism" as an actual determination by the Father that we are to be considered recipients of everything that Jesus said and did. This issue of our "baptism into Christ Jesus" is the root of the plethora of New Testament references to being "in Christ" and is the foundation of our "death" to both Adam as a "federal head" and to his action as the instrumentality of our bondage to death and the spirit of sin.
Also in that study we pointed out that this "baptism into Christ Jesus" was pointedly focused by Paul upon His "baptism into The Death". This is Paul deliberately pulling one issue out of all that are involved in our "baptism" and setting it up for our particular consideration.
This evening we are going to go with Paul into this particular: baptism into "The Death" and its subsequent reality of "burial".
I. The Significance of "Baptism Into The Death" of Christ Jesus.
A. Without dispute, "The Death" of Christ Jesus is the most significant event in all of time and space.
1. It is the very core of the expression of the most significant characteristic of God.
a. In significant distinction, John declared that "God is Love", not "loving" (1 John 4:16).
b. At the very core of this complex characteristic is God's self-sacrifice: an unheard of, and theologically obscure reality.
1) No other "god" has ever made "self-sacrifice" the key issue of human theological thought.
2) No human thinking can penetrate the mystery of "self-sacrifice" in the infinite and eternal God (how can the Root of All "sacrifice"?).
c. But, within the boundaries of divine revelation, this "self-sacrificing God" is most clearly seen in "The Death".
2. The biblical explanation of "The Death of The Christ" is that the God of Justice is the God of Grace.
B. The biblical declarations regarding "The Death" of Christ Jesus are...
1. That the inherent "holiness" of The God is uncompromised when Grace overrules Justice so that the forgiveness of sinners is done.
2. That "The Death of Christ Jesus" is both the absolute solution to Justice for men and the infinite provision of Grace to men.
3. That "faith" in "The Death of Christ Jesus" is the methodological instrument that moves men out from under both Justice, and its expression in Law, and into Grace and its expression in Forgiveness.
C. The "baptism" of "believers" into "The Death of Christ Jesus" is an identification of them with that "Death" so that they are as free from the guilt of sin as that "Death" is the resolution of the Justice/Grace conundrum.
1. This means that anyone who "believes" is absolutely removed from both the guilt of any sin and the penalties assigned by Law to any sins.
2. Thus, the "baptism of the believer into Christ Jesus" is an identification of that believer with the actual action of the Christ so that he/she is never, afterwards, chargeable for any sin.
a. This is actual reality-status.
b. It is often confused because God's processes of edification often "appear" to be condemnatory.
1) The actions of The Father in "scourging" every son He receives often "appear" to be "legal retribution", but never are.
a) People who think that what God imposes upon His children is "Justice" simply do not understand "Justice", nor do they understand the edification processes of God.
b) The "appearance" is the result of God using the "sowing" to establish the "reaping".
2) The Father is wisdom personified and clearly knows that learning often comes in the form of harvesting what has been sown.
3. The "bottom line" is this: no "believer" is subject to the response of "Justice" to sin of any kind.
II. The Significance of "Burial Together With Him By Baptism".
A. The "baptism" issue is now moved into a second "identity" reality: when He was buried, the believer is buried.
B. This raises the question of the significance of "burial".
1. It is patently true that no "believer" has to be "buried" in order to participate in resurrection.
2. Thus, the issue of "burial" as a "baptism" factor.
3. The resolution of our question.
a. Is rooted in the form of 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 where "buried" is simply the "proof" of the death.
b. Is that Paul's point in reference to "burial" is that the prior issue is indisputable, and incontrovertible, "truth".
1) Paul's commitment to "Life" as the actual outworking of "faith" is total and absolute.
2) Thus, he is forever attempting to make it possible for men to "believe" what he says.
3) Thus, "we were buried together with Him through the baptism into The Death" is his way of saying: our identification with Christ Jesus is pervasive and absolute and without qualification.