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Baptised Into Christ
by David A. DePra
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as
Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even
so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him
through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from
the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision
of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven
you all trespasses. (Col. 2:12-13)
Baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection in the Bible. When
a person is fully immersed in water, it symbolizes that they are dead
and buried. When they come up out of the water, it symbolizes that
they are resurrected to newness of life.
Scripture uses the water as a type of the death of Jesus Christ. In
Romans, for instance, Paul tells us that if we have been baptised
into Christ, we are "baptised into His death." In other words, we are
immersed into His death. His death becomes ours.
But don't think of this only in a legal or "positional" sense. There
IS that side of things to be sure. Jesus was our substitute. He paid
the price for sin by His death. But if this was merely a "positional"
Truth, then although the price FOR sin is paid, it would do nothing
to set us free from sin itself.
Understand what I'm saying: If Jesus merely paid my penalty
for sin, such that God then "lifts" that penalty from me, then I might
be free from the penalty, but I'm not free from the sin! This will not
do. It might satisfy the justice of God, but what about His holiness?
How can people who are free from the penalty for sin, but not from
the sin nature itself, have fellowship with God?
The Truth is, when God says we are "baptised into" the death of
Christ, He means it in a dynamic sense. He means that when Christ
died, something of us died in Him: Our old man of sin.
Paul tells us in Romans 6 exactly what that something was that
died in Christ:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of
sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For
he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)
Do you see what Paul is saying DIED? Our "old man." The
"body of sin." But not just "positionally" or "legally." But ACTUALLY.
In fact, the death of that "old man" is so certain that Paul goes onto
tell us the result: "That henceforth we should not serve sin," and "He
that is dead is freed from sin."
The "old man," or "body of sin," is, of course, the Adamic nature.
It is the sin nature, or heredity of sin. God says that on the Cross,
this was "destroyed." We are set free from it's ability to govern us.
Paul is so certain that our "body of sin" is dead in Christ, that he is
able, in this great chapter in Romans to say, "Likewise reckon you
also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your
mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield
your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield
yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and
your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." (Rom.
Paul is actually telling us that the death of that "old man" means
that we no longer have to sin. We can refuse to any longer "obey
him," but can instead yield ourselves to God.
Note: None of this is possible if we are merely buried into the
death of Christ as a "positional" Truth. No. For freedom from sin
to be practiced, it must be REAL.
Crucified With Christ
The Biblical Truth is that we -- our old man of sin -- died in Jesus
Christ. We are crucified in HIM.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith
of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal.
The "old man," or "body of sin," as noted, is, the Adamic nature.
It is the sin nature, or heredity of sin. God says that on the Cross,
Jesus BORE this in His body.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we,
being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose
stripes you were healed. (I Peter 2:24)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Cor. 5:21)
So we see Christ took upon Himself the sin of us all, and BORE
that in His Body. He did this by becoming one with us -- on the
Paul likens what happened to an engrafting of a branch into a
tree. We have been spiritually "planted together" into Christ -- into
both His death and resurrection.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,
we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (Rom. 6:5)
Picture a dead branch being engrafted into a tree. What
happens? Well, the branch takes on the life of the new tree. Well,
when we are planted into Christ -- baptised into HIS death -- we
take on THAT death. But then we also take on His new life through
We are indeed crucified with Christ. Thus, rather than to say we
ESCAPE death because Christ died, we really MEET death in Him.
Our "old man in Adam" does. And that is precisely why we are no
longer a slave to the old nature.
Never See Death
The writer of Hebrews tells us that, "Jesus, who was made a little
than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and
honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every
man." (Hebrews 2:9) The implication here is that those who are in
Him do NOT taste death. Furthermore, Jesus Himself said, "If any
man keep my saying, he shall never see death." (John 8:51) In
these passages we see a great Truth.
We do not know what death really is. Certainly, it is total
separation from God. But how that is played out in the eternal realm,
and what mode of existence it is, we do not know. Sufficient to say,
that WHATEVER death is, Jesus tasted the fullness of if for each
one of us. He passed through every ounce of death for every one
of us, and came up in victory through the resurrection. The last
enemy, death, is now defeated for those in Christ.
There is a wonderful correlation between this and the fact that
we have been baptised into the death of Christ. In Christ, our "old
man," rather than ESCAPE death, actually MEETS death. Yet, the
"real us" -- in Christ -- never does taste death. Why? Because
Jesus Christ took that upon Himself. He tasted death for every one
of us. Jesus Christ died FOR US.
What we see here is that IN CHRIST we pass through death
itself, and by it are set free from the sin nature. But Christ takes our
death upon Himself. In Him, we don't "see it." He experiences
death on our behalf.
When we are "planted together" into Jesus Christ, everything
about us which is of that old, Adamic creation, is bore by Christ
down into death. But where does that leave US -- the "real us" -- the
fundament of what we are? Well, we are still "planted into Christ,"
aren't we? Absolutely. And because we have been planted into
His death, we are likewise planted into His resurrection. His life
is our life.
What we see here is that the essence of what a human being is,
that fundament of our being, is preserved through Jesus Christ. We
are planted into His death, and through His death, are set free from
the nature of sin which had previously held us. And once free from
that through Jesus' death, we are raised with Him through His
Thus, we are set free from the sin nature through the death of
Christ -- but also given a new nature through His resurrection. All
because we are IN HIM.
The Typology of the Flood
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that
he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but
quickened by the Spirit. By which also he went and preached unto
the spirits in prison. Which sometime were disobedient, when once
the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark
was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by
water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save
us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a
good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels
and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
(I Peter 3:18-22)
The intention here is not to delve into every question which this
passage brings up, such as the identity of the "spirits in prison," etc.
The scope here is the comparison of the flood to BAPTISM -- to our
baptism into the death of Jesus Christ.
Genesis records a great flood. It came about, not only because
it rained for forty days and nights, but because "all the fountains of
the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were
opened." (Gen. 7:11) There is reason to believe that there was a
great firmament in the sky which came down. This was quite a
We must get fixed in our minds what God is saying in I Peter, and
exactly how he is using this flood as a type of what happens to us
in our salvation. The earth and those who perished in the flood
stand for the sin nature. This makes sense because the earth itself
was cursed due to sin, and man is, of course, made from the dust of
the ground. When the waters covered up the earth, the picture is
one of DEATH. The earth, was, as it were, BAPTISED.
So notice that much: The earth and all those who did not trust
God, were buried in a great baptismal death. Those in that death
represent the fact that we are baptised into the death of Christ. Just
as that old earth passed away, so does our old creation in Adam.
But wait. There were also those who were SAVED. Eight
persons were in the ARK. The ark is a type of Jesus Christ. Since
they were IN CHRIST, they did not have to TASTE death. They
were able, IN CHRIST, to be "carried through" that death, and later
emerge to newness of life.
This is how it works in salvation. When we are planted into the
death of Christ -- buried with Him in baptism unto death -- every
aspect of that Adamic creation is "washed off" of us. It MEETS
death in Jesus Christ. But the "real us" -- the part which God takes
and saves -- is "carried through" this baptism and washing, and
emerges unto newness of life.
So we see that we do not escape death because of Jesus. We
meet death in Him. But because we are in Him, we do not taste
death. We don't "see death" -- our old man in Adam does! And
we are able to be "carried through" unto newness of life through
This is only possible because of our ONENESS with Jesus
Christ. It starts by being planted into Him. Then, once there, we
are able to be carried through death IN HIM -- just like Noah and
his family were carried through death in the ark. And IN HIM we
remain forever, partaking of the victory of resurrection life which
He has won.
Jesus Christ died for us. He tasted death for every person. He
bore our sin on the Cross so that we could MEET the death of our
old man and be washed free of "him" -- without having to taste
death. In Him, we have REDEMPTION.
Passing From Death to Life
Every time God pictures death and resurrection in Christ in
scripture, we find a similar picture: A passing through death in the
Savior. The first passover was like that. The Israelites had death
all around them. It could be said they were baptised into a death.
But they were INSIDE of their dwelling places, under the covering
of the Blood of the Lamb. Thus, death "passed over" them. They
passed through death emerged free of the Egyptians the next
A similar thing happened at the Red Sea. They "passed
through" the Red Sea. The Egyptians, a type of sin, were buried
in a great baptism. They came up on the other side to a new life.
Jesus Christ did not skirt around death. He did not side-step it.
No. He faced it head-on and conquered it. And if we are IN HIM,
we are carried through death itself -- leaving behind, in death -- all
that is of ADAM. And then we emerge new creations.
We need to get away from the notion that if we receive Christ that
all that happens is that we escape death. No. We meet death. But
we meet it IN HIM. And if we meet it in Him, HE is bearing our sin
nature -- and tastes death for us. This not only sets us free from that
that sin nature, but it makes us one with Him in His resurrection.
Paul says, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Behold,
old things are passed away. All things are become new." (II Cor.
The Sin Nature
Don't make the mistake of thinking that because Jesus bore our
sin nature that it no longer exists. Don't think that because we are
dead to sin, and sin is dead to us, that we no longer have to contend
with it. We do. But why -- if our old man of sin died in Christ?
When God tells us that our "old man was crucified" with Christ, He
does not say he was obliterated. What happens is that we are set
free from "him" through the death of Christ. He is still there, trying to
influence us. He is still trying to act the way He has always acted.
But if we have died in Christ, we really do have the power to refuse
to obey Him, and the power to obey God.
The reasons we fail can be boiled down to a few. First, we don't
believe. We still think whatever the flesh suggests that we must do,
mostly because it just SEEMS that way. It's all we have ever done,
and so it never occurs to us that we can actually STOP obeying the
Secondly, we spend all our energy fighting what God has already
told us we are free from. Rather than do that, we should simply
yield to God. In other words, instead of fighting what I should not do,
I should DO what I know to do. Replace the negative with the
Thirdly, some of us haven't yet come to the place where we
really want to live free from the flesh. We still want our own way.
Incidentally, don't think that by the "flesh" I mean trashy things
only. I'm talking about any aspect of the flesh -- some of which can
be quite nice looking things. Even religious things.
Fourth, we fail to break free from what God has said we ARE
free from, because we are ignorant. Jesus Christ, by His death and
resurrection has set us completely free from our old man in Adam.
But it is the job of the Holy Spirit to make this real to us, and to bring
us into the place where we take possession of this Truth. That
takes a lifetime.
And WHY does that "old man in Adam" continue to be there as
a great influence in our lives?
The first reason is that our body is NOT saved. It isn't. In order to
be saved, you have to first die. That is the only route to resurrection.
And if you are reading this, your body has not died. Thus, you and
I are living in the same body as always. And it is part of what came
under corruption and death because of the sin of Adam. And it still
IS under that corruption. And the flesh is going to continue to
behave like flesh behaves. We have to deal with that.
The WAY we deal with it is by "yielding our members as
instruments of righteousness" to God. In other words, we have to
choose to bring our body under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, we continue to live in a fallen creation. There are
spiritual forces all around us. It is a continual warfare with which we
have to do.
Thirdly, we all have many learned patterns of thought and
behavior which God cannot simply erase. If He did, we would not
be who we are. It would violate our free will. No. God says, "I have
finished your Redemption. Now choose, step by step, to take
possession of it. Be renewed in your mind. Bring yourself in full
obedience with the Truth."
As mentioned, God tells us that we are dead to sin. Therefore,
we should stop trying to KILL IT! We should, as Paul states, "reckon
ourselves dead to sin and alive to God." (Romans 6:11) In other
words, BELIEVE and then ACT like it.
How many of us turn inward and spend great energy trying to
make our flesh behave! How many of us try to grab a big "club"
and beat down what God tells us we are free to discard! This is
a ploy of the enemy to keep us out of our freedom in Christ. God
says, "Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
(Gal. 5:16) In other words, do the right thing -- and by default -- you
will NOT be doing the wrong thing. Pro-actively WALK in the
freedom God says you have, and the pull of sin will be shown to
have no power.
Note how God tells us this:
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the
flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many
as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on
things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and
your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life shall
appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify
therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and
and covetousness, which is idolatry. For which things' sake the
wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In which you
also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now you also
off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication
out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put
off the old man with his deeds. And put on the new man, which is
renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
The key word in both these passages is MORTIFY. The word in
the NT Greek means "to destroy by neglect." Can you see what we
are being told here? You and I could not possibly "destroy by
neglect" anything which has real power over us. If it had power, we
had better NOT neglect it. But the point is, "we are dead and our
life is hid with Christ in God." The power of sin over us has been
broken by the death and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, we can
ACT LIKE IT. We can "destroy by neglect" the old nature, and live
in accordance with the new nature.
So instead of trying to "destroy" the sin nature by fighting it and
beating it back, we are told to DESTROY IT BY NEGLECT. This
does not mean we are to be passive. No. We neglect it, not by
doing nothing, but by yielding ourselves to God.
Paul says, "Put off the old man, and put on the new man." Why?
Because we ARE new creations in Christ Jesus. So we need to
begin to believe that and walk in that Truth. This does not mean
we aren't going to fail. It just means we need to recognize our true
identity in Christ, and begin moving forward in it.
As we saw, Peter wrote regarding Noah's flood, "The like figure
is baptism. It saves us, not by the putting away of the flesh, but is an
answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection
The ordinance of water baptism, Peter notes, does not save us.
THAT is simply the expression or outward testimony of the inward
reality. In other words, there is a REAL baptism which believers
must pass through -- a baptism into the death of Jesus Christ. The
new life which follows IS salvation -- through His resurrection.
Do you realize that if you have received Christ that you have
already passed through death? You have already been raised?
You have. Jesus said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes
on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
The Christian life is not supposed to be one where we try to do
this. We are not supposed to be trying to finish what Jesus Christ
has already finished. We are to believe, and begin to walk in our
new identity -- a new creation in Jesus Christ.
Paul writes, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old
things are passed away. All things are become new." (I Cor. 5:17)
By being baptised into His death, your old man of sin met death.
But by coming up out of that baptism unto death, you are able to
walk in newness of life. It is finished.
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