The Believers Baptism Took Place By The Spirit—Romans 6:3
"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6:3)
In order to be separated from the default nature of this world, the nature we were born with, the sin nature inside of us has to die. Paul made an amazing statement that the born again believer has in fact died to this nature and consequentially sin. His argument supports that Christians should not continue in sin merely to show the extent of God's grace, because our old nature, or sin nature has been crucified with Christ. If we have died to sin, like the Bible teaches, then the question becomes, when did this death occur?
The answer is found in today's passage of scripture. We died to the sin nature when we were baptized into Jesus' death. Now, many people assume that references to baptism in the Bible refers solely to water baptism. However we know that Hebrews 6:2 speaks of the plural form of baptism, meaning that their is more than one. However many people fail to recognize this and as a result assume that baptism is only accomplished through water. Consequently, that is why this passage is used to support the doctrine of water baptism as a means to obtain salvation. However we know, through our study of Romans so far, faith in Christ and what he did, is the only thing required of us. Our salvation is based on his grace and mercy and our faith in Him... period, nothing more, nothing less. So if water baptism is not what Paul is talking about in Romans 6:3, then we must look at what baptism we were baptized into when we died with Christ, so that we can understand how we died to sin.
John the Baptist referred to this same baptism that Paul is talking about in Matthew 3:11 when he said, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." ( Matthew 3:11 ). John's baptism, which was a water baptism signifies an outward sign of an inward change. He baptized for repentance. Repentance merely means to turn around and go in the opposite direction. A change of direction of this magnitude can only occur with a change of heart. This change of heart cannot occur with water, it has to occur by the Spirit of God. That happened the moment you accepted Christ Jesus as your personal savior. What happened took place in your spirit not in the natural realm. Everything that is, first started in the spiritual. We only see manifested in the flesh what already exists in the spiritual. Because the spiritual gives birth the natural. So, there is a benefit to being baptized with water, but again, it is only an outward show of an inward change that occurred first in the born again spirit by the Holy Spirit at Salvation. This is the baptism that Paul is referring to.
II Corinthians 12:13 says, "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. ( II Corinthians 12:13 ) So to answer our question today, we died to sin when the Holy Spirit baptized us into the body of Christ. Our old nature was buried with him so our new nature could then arise with him in the same manner. In Summary, we cannot take advantage of God's grace by continuing to sin according to the nature that was put to death with Christ upon the cross. Our old nature is gone, it was buried with Christ and then we were given a new nature when we were baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit and that is why we can't continue in sin. It is contrary to our new nature.
Today, I pray that you take the revelation of this verse to heart and then God will enlighten it to your mind. May your spiritual eyes be open to see how completely free you are in Christ Jesus at this very moment. May you use that freedom to bless Him and the world which He created. Amen!
Original article published October 14, 2009.