Baptism in Jesus Name
It is one thing to be declared righteous, but God requires that a spiritual transformation take place in our human spirits. This is what Jesus was declaring to Nicodemus In John chapter 3: Joh 3:5-7 Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
There are several passages of scripture that speak about the new Birth:
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1Co 10:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (Spirit and water)
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified* in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
*Just as Abraham was justified initially by faith when he believed God’s voice, and also when he obeyed God’s voice – so we are justified initially by believing the gospel, and it can also be said that we are justified when we obey the gospel through the new birth experience.
The divine plan from eternity was to make a way for this infinitely pure and Holy God to be united with rebellious and sinful human beings – and since we weren’t fit in our fallen condition to come to Him, He devised a way to come to us by means of a mediator and savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who is none other than Jehovah God Himself – the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us for 33 ½ years. Jesus became the connecting link between the Creator and His creatures.
Thus, Jesus explained to Thomas that we could only come to God by way of the man Christ Jesus:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
In order to come to the Father, we first have to be united with Christ.
Our Union with Christ
As we studied in Lesson 3 – Justification by Faith – after we are justified, we must also be regenerated or born again:
“Our union with Christ is not a mere external, legal union which brings about a change of our position before God, but it is also a spiritual union with Christ which is internal and vital. Christ not only works from without, being separate from us, but works spiritually from within. Our position in Christ is an external pronouncement, but the union extends beyond this to include an internal reality. He is in us and we are in Him. According to Paul our spirit is joined with His Spirit (I Corinthians 6:17). It is an interpenetration of spirits. We not only stand positionally in His righteousness and grace, but we actually partake of it through our spiritual union with Him. Just as the vine gives all things necessary to life to the branches (John 15:1-6), so Christ is our source for of every spiritual blessing and eternal life. Because of our union with Him we have the same life, united in such a way as if the same blood ran through both our veins. Our spiritual life flows from His. Apart from our connection to Him we cannot bear spiritual fruit, nor can we have life. But by virtue of our spiritual connection with His person and work, whatever can be said of Christ can be said of us.” — Jason Dulle
How Do We become United with Christ?
“Whereas Romans 5:12-21 speaks of our positional union with Christ in regards to the condemnation of the law and our justification, Romans 6-8 speaks of a spiritual union with Christ’s person which goes beyond a forensic status and positional union; it is an organic union. Most passages which speak of the union mention it in passing without much explanation as to its meaning or significance. Romans 6-8 peaks more of the nature and practical results of our spiritual union with Christ than any other Biblical passage, and therefore will receive special attention, examining the key points of this passage.” — Jason Dulle
What Happens When We Are United with Christ?
Rom 6:1-14 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into de ath: 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. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 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. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 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. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
When we are born into Christ we legally become one with Christ in God’s sight, partaking of Christ’s obedience. Just as Adam’s sin is charged to us without us having actually committed it in the flesh, so Christ’s righteousness is as much ours as had we performed it ourselves. It is as though we were the ones who died on the cross. God sees the believer in Christ’s merit, not our own merit. This is so eloquently stated in 2 Cor 5:21 where Paul said, “For he made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Jesus takes our sin upon Himself even though He did not commit the sin, while we take His righteousness upon ourselves even though we did not perform it.
Reckon (Consider) Yourselves Dead to Sin Our death to sin became an accomplished reality when we were baptized into Christ. Just as we have died with Christ, we also know that we will be raised from the dead to live with Him forevermore (6:8-9). Since Christ’s resurrection means that death does not have dominion over Him (He died once to sin), we also, by virtue of our union with Him in His death and resurrection, are to consider ourselves dead to sin (6:9-11a). We die to the ruling power of sin in our lives through our union with Christ. Because sin and death cannot rule over Christ, neither can they rule over us. The great truth that Paul was emphasizing was that what Christ did, we did. We were not the ones who died or were resurrected, but by virtue of our union with Christ God considers us to have performed what Christ performed. To illustrate this notice that Paul said in verse ten that Christ died to sin, and in verses six through eight he said that we died to sin through Christ. Because Christ died, we died.
Our New Relationship
The great truth of being in Christ is that our relationship to Adam has been broken, and God has established in us a new relationship with Christ, in which and by which we relate to God. We no longer stand before God in Adam’s guilt, condemnation, and death, but in Christ’s obedience, righteousness, and life. We no longer have God’s wrath directed toward us, but rather we stand in Christ’s person, in Christ’s stead. He met the demands of justice on our behalf, and gave us of His righteousness. We have put on Christ by being baptized into Him (Galatians 3:27), and thus stand before God as though we were Christ Himself. It is a whole new way of relating to God that has been fully secured on our behalf by Christ. All that we have spiritually is dependent on Christ’s work on our behalf, and our relationship to Christ. We do nothing but believe that it is true, and act accordingly. We are now saved and accepted by God because of our position in Christ; because of Christ’s work, and not our own.
Our love and gratitude for God and what He did for us through Christ Jesus should motivate us to walk in the Spirit and not obey the lusts of the flesh!