By one Spirit
And ye are complete in him… 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.
C9.1 In Adam or in Christ?
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
In this wonderful chapter of the resurrection Paul compares and contrasts Adam and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is because both are federal heads of the human race. Adam the head of the physical race from which we are all descended, and have inherited from him the taint of original sin.
Christ the head of the new race, those who have received Him, believed on His name and have become translated into His kingdom. Thus, in spiritual terms, Christ has taken us out from the spiritual heritage we had in Adam giving us a new one, His own.
We see that Adam was made a living soul, that is Adam received life, but Jesus was the life giving Spirit. Adam brought death upon the human race, but Christ brought life. Finally, Adam was from the earth, but Christ from heaven. For those in Christ one day we will put off this earthly body that we received from Adam, and be clothed with a heavenly body when the redemption of the body takes place.
Notice how Paul refers to Adam and Christ: the former, the first man Adam, Christ the last Adam and the second man. It must be remembered that Paul is talking of Christ being the federal head of the new race. So we are, spiritually, either ‘in Adam’ or ‘in Christ’. One or the other but not both.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sin entered the world by Adam’s disobedience. Sin and death were not part of God’s original creation. Sin was introduced into heaven first by the angel Lucifer, who with pride tried to exalt himself as God. (Isa 14: Ezk.28). It then entered the world by Adam’s disobedience. From that time forth every human being born, except the God-man Jesus Christ, has been born into Adam with the taint of original sin. And until we are born from above, we remain in that state. In order to become immersed or baptised into Christ we need something radical to happen to us.
So how then do we become ‘in Christ’?
C9.2 Baptised into one body
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The word baptism means immersion. It was the word used for the dying trade. When a cloth was dipped into a dye, the dye would enter the cloth and become part of the fabric, it was ‘baptised’. When we are baptised into Christ we are immersed and become identified with Him, we become a new creation in Christ, we have been translated from Adam and immersed into Christ, we become totally identified with Him.
How does God do this? I Cor.12:13 tells us that by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body. There is a baptism that takes us out of Adam and into Christ. Eph.4:4 tells us that there is only one baptism; since there is only one baptism, then the term ‘baptised’ into Christ must be this. Since we are told that Jesus would baptised people in the Holy Spirit, and that this was the promise the disciples received on the day of Pentecost (Lk.24:49; Acts 1:5-8), this must be the one baptism that immerses us into Christ.
In the Galatian passage quoted Paul makes it clear that by being baptised into Christ we have put on Christ. This act of spiritual baptism indeed puts us into the body of Christ. The consequence that Paul mentions is that there are no barriers between those in His body. No racial barriers, no social barriers nor any gender barriers for in Christ we are all one. We are heirs to the promise that God gave to Abraham. But the key is that we only put on Christ by this baptism.
Jesus spoke of Calvary as His cup and baptism, which meant an immersion into death and subsequent resurrection, when we are baptised into Christ’s body we are immersed into Him, thus being immersed also into His death and resurrection.
It must be emphasised at this stage that it is Christ alone who was the one who paid the penalty of sin, we do not. In that respect His death was unique. We are talking of the consequences of believers being baptised into Christ, and inheriting the benefits from Christ’s death and resurrection.
It these consequences we now consider.
C9.3 Baptised into death
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 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 [ =having died hath been justified or justly freed- Newberry]. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye 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 ye 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. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Paul’s teaching in Rom. 6 gives us a clear understanding of the consequences of our baptism into Christ.
We must state again that first of all that the baptism of which Paul speaks is Spirit baptism and not that of water baptism. This is clearly seen if one understands that water is not only not mentioned in this chapter but never mentioned in the whole of the Roman epistle itself! Further it cannot be said that a symbol can have any effect on the heart of man. In the same way physical circumcision was a symbol of inward reality water baptism is also such a symbol. The true circumcision is spiritual in nature, likewise the one true baptism.
The first thing to note is that our old man is crucified with Him. Many modern translations used the word ‘self’ instead of man. This is unfortunate because it confuses the issue. The Greek word is man. So what is this old man? It is the spiritual entity that resulted from Adam’s sin. Paul in the previous chapter of Romans talks of sin having been passed upon all men. It is this body of sin that we are born first time into. It is not our self.
Our old man is crucified so that the body of sin is destroyed (made of no effect, inoperable). We are (co-) crucified with Christ, co-buried with Him in this baptism and raised with Him in resurrection life. We are then in Christ, immersed into His body, one that is of righteousness.
We are thus freed from sin. The power of sin in our lives is broken. So Paul now exhorts us to live in accordance with that truth. We become genuinely free people with a real choice. We are exhorted not to let sin reign in us, and not to yield our members to unrighteousness. Sin should not have the lordship over us. Instead we exhorted are to become servants of righteousness.
By first birth we are born into sin, we are in [baptised into?] Adam; by second birth we are born out of sin and baptised into Christ. That is taken out of Adam and immersed into the life of Christ.
In the first chapter of Colossians we saw that we have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. This meant that we have been taken out from Satan’s domain and authority into Christ’s kingdom and His authority. Here we see that by being baptised into Christ we have been taken out of Adam’s spiritual heredity line and put into Christ’s, no longer under the lordship of sin but under the rule of righteousness.
If this was all it would be reason enough to give Him all the glory. But there is more that this baptism gives us, and it is to these we turn next.