Since we all were born in Adam, how can we say that we are now in Christ?
In Romans 6:3 Paul says, “Are you ignorant that as many of us as have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” Although we were born in the first person, Adam, we have been baptized into the second person, Christ. How pitiful it is for Christians to argue about the outward form of baptism! Some dispute about the kind of water used, and some argue about the method of baptism. Baptism means to be put into Christ and into His death. Whether we were good or bad, we were born in Adam. Now we see another man, Christ. How can we get into Him and be a part of Him? The way is to be baptized into Christ. The meaning of baptism is to put people into Christ. It is not a ritual or a form; it is an extremely significant experience. A spiritual transfer must happen in the act of baptism, and if we do not have a realization of this, we should not touch the matter of baptism. Never baptize people in a ritualistic way. We must have the assurance and the realization that as we baptize people we are putting them into Christ. Once we realize the significance of baptism we will not allow it to degenerate into an outward form or ritual. Baptism is an act in which we put the members of Adam into death, thereby transferring them out of Adam and into Christ. People are baptized into Christ. Even the King James Version uses the word “into” in Romans 6:3. How people have missed the mark regarding baptism in their divisive arguments about forms and methods! Whenever we baptize people, we only care that we put them into Christ. It is awful to perpetuate a ritual, but it is wonderful to baptize people into Christ.
Praise the Lord that we have been baptized into Christ! Although we were born in Adam, by baptism we have been identified with Christ in His death and resurrection. Through death and resurrection Christ was transfigured from the flesh into the Spirit. Even Christ Himself needed death and resurrection to transform Him from the flesh to the Spirit. Likewise, through identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, we have been transferred out of Adam and into Christ. When we were baptized into Christ, we were transferred from being a part of Adam into being a part of Christ. Now we are no longer in Adam. We are absolutely in Christ. This is the fact of identification. Now we must see and understand clearly two further points related to this.
Romans 6:5 says that “we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death.” What does this mean? The phrase “likeness of His death” in Romans 6:5 refers to baptism. Baptism is the likeness of the death of Christ. In baptism, we have grown up together with Christ. This phrase “grown together” affords the translators a difficult problem. However, if we stay very close to the meaning of the Greek word, there will be no difficulty. The same Greek word is used in Luke 8:7 to speak of the thorns which grew up together with the wheat. Likewise, we have grown together with Christ. When we were baptized into Christ, in one sense we were put to death; in another sense we began to grow. This very much resembles the sowing of seed into the earth. Apparently the seed is sown; actually it begins to grow. By being baptized into Christ we have all grown together with Christ in the likeness of His death. Since we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death, we are now growing together with Him. We have grown, yet we are growing.
We also are growing together with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection (6:4-5). What is the likeness of His resurrection? It is the newness of life. We all should walk in this newness of life. We all must see these two points. We must see that we have grown together with Christ in baptism and that we grow together with Him in the likeness of His resurrection, that is, in the newness of His resurrected life. If we see this, it means that we see that we have died with Him and that now we are growing with Him. We were buried with Him in baptism and now we are growing with Him in His resurrection, in His divine life. We must walk according to what we see, that is, walk in the newness of life.
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