by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2 July 25, 2006 Lincolnton, NC
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
1901 ASV Translation:
3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
I. The Baptism.
A. Since the "baptism" is at the crux of the issue of whether believers "continue in sin", or not, the issue must be considered of gravest import.
1. In order for believers to stop sinning, they must be empowered from a source that was not theirs prior to their "baptism".
a. The "problem" of "sinning" is a problem of bondage (6:16), as Paul clearly established in 1:18-3:18. He said that his point was, "they are all under sin" (3:9). Even in Romans 7, after his "baptism", the apostle claimed to be a "wretched man" whose "bondage" was so great that even though he despised evil, he did it anyway. Clearly, the issue of continuing in sin is no small matter and "baptism" is a very great "event".
b. The "solution" to the problem can only be a real participation in the holy nature of Jesus.
1) The issues here are two...
a) First is the issue of having the holy nature of Jesus as an available provision.
i. If one finds himself in handcuffs and leg irons within a steel cage, he has no personal assets that will permit him to be "free".
ii. He could be set free, however, if he had a complete acetylene cutting torch rig.
b) Second is the issue of knowing how to access that nature so that it (He) can be the sin-blocking, righteousness-producing, foundation of both thought and action.
i. Even if a person has a complete acetylene rig, he will remain in bondage to his cuffs, irons, and cage unless he knows how to ignite and use the torch to set himself free.
ii. Thus, even with all of the necessary "assets" to be free, he will be in bondage until he learns how to apply the assets to his bondage.
2) There is, however, a totally different scenario: a "deliverer" who comes from without to bring the keys to the cuffs, leg irons, and steel cage. In this scenario, the one in bondage needs neither access to a cutting torch, nor the knowledge of how to use one. All he needs is a "deliverer".
a) In this scenario, the one in bondage needs only to have a "deliverer" who will not only bring the keys, but will also either keep the one who has been delivered from being brought back into bondage, or will simply continue to bring the keys each time bondage is re-introduced into the situation.
b) Under this scenario, the only thing the "delivered" has to worry about is whether the "deliverer" will always "show up" either to prevent a return to bondage, or to return with the keys at every eventuality of bondage.
3) The question is this: Which scenario is Paul's?
a) Clearly, he does not believe or teach that "bondage" does not arise (even for the baptized) if one "sins". Sin leads to bondage.
b) As a deduction from this thesis (sin leads to bondage), the only "freedom" that is available is rooted in not sinning.
c) If this deduction is correct, the scenario of a "deliverer" from without, who will go before the delivered so that he may not be brought back into bondage, is not what Paul had in mind.
d) Paul's scenario of deliverance is clearly not one of a "deliverer" from without...
i. He insists upon the concept of the delivered being "baptized into" a Deliverer so that there is no longer a "without" concept.
ii. He insists upon the issue of "knowing" (6:3 -- or know ye not...?).
iii. In every place he teaches that "faith" is a requisite for the blessings of God (Romans 4:16), which must include a freedom from bondage to sin, or there is no point to insisting that we are not to continue in sin.
iv. The very idea that Paul wrote his words to readers means that information is crucial and faith in that information is foundational. In other words, there is no "deliverer" who will simply keep the delivered from bondage, or keep returning with the keys.
2. Paul's doctrine is of "baptism into".
a. Clearly, from Romans 6:1, "continuing in sin" is a possibility or there would be no sense in bringing it up. If we are entirely sanctified so that we cannot sin, there is no point in raising the spectre of "continuing in sin."
b. Just as clearly, from Romans 6:2, "continuing in sin" is completely contradictory to what happened to the person who was "justified by faith" (Romans 5:1) or was "baptized into Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:2).
c. Therefore, we can only conclude that it is by knowing what it means to be "baptized into Christ Jesus" that we can remain "free" from the bondage of sin. But, "knowing" is not sufficient in itself, or Paul would not have brought "reckoning" (6:11) into the mix.
B. Since "baptism" is at the crux of the issue before us, it simply cannot be "water" baptism.
1. Being baptized into water is not, and cannot be, the same thing as being "baptized into Christ Jesus.
a. John, the Baptizer, clearly differentiated between his "inadequate" baptism with water and the "enormously potent" baptism by the Christ with the Spirit and fire. This differentiation would have been totally unnecessary if water baptism is all that many make it out to be.
b. The only real question is whether God has made it so that baptism with water is coincidental with baptism with the Spirit.
c. And, the discussion is not over until we also realize that Christ's baptism of those who trust Him with the Spirit is not the same thing as that Spirit's baptism of those who trust in Christ into Christ. The fact is that the Bible teaches that those who trust in Christ are "baptized into His Spirit" and, then, that Spirit turns right around and baptizes them into the Christ Who baptized them into Him.
2. Nor can it be that baptism with water is coincidental with baptism with the Spirit. The record of the Acts, concerning the extension of the Gospel to the gentiles, indisputably reveals the fact that the household of Cornelius was "baptized with the Spirit" while they were hearing the Gospel from Peter's lips and then the question was raised as to the legitimacy of those so baptized being "refused the water" (Acts 10:47).
a. This text shows that "baptism with the Spirit" is the union of those who believe with God's Holy Spirit by the Christ of whom it was said, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
b. This text also shows that "baptism with water" is the union of those who believe witheachother so that the Gentiles were being brought into union with those Jews who had believed. This was the entire point of the conflict that Peter's baptism of Cornelius with water brought about later when he returned to Jerusalem and the debate was settled when the Jews recognized that God had granted the same repentance to the Gentiles that He had granted to them and, thus, they were of the same "body." Water baptismunites men to men in a common doctrinal commitment; Spirit baptism unites men toGod in a common Life.