Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Rom.6:3-4
What does it mean that we “have been baptized into His death”? Based on this text, we know that our new life and our regeneration depend on this death. We have experienced the baptism of death, “in order that” we may experience “newness of life.” But surely this is not referring to water baptism, which is merely a sign that points to our real death with Him—a witness to our true baptism into His death.
Instead, it means that a true believer is the one who has been baptized into Christ’s death, meaning, that person has put the old self with all his or her sins on His cross, letting it be nailed and done away with in fellowship with His death. It is our sins that ought to die. It is our flesh, our rebellious selves, our god of self-centeredness, and our human ambitions for recognition, for power, for exaltation, for superiority that must die in order for the new life to be manifested in us.
Many so-called Christians walk around defeated and wondering, “Where is the power of resurrection that I was promised?” Yet the problem is that we all signed up for resurrection but conveniently passed over the requirement for “the fellowship of His suffering” (Phil.3:10)! Our text today reminds us that there are no short cuts with God. The flesh has to die for the new life to be born. There are no ifs or buts or negotiations! Scripture is very clear on this issue: it is the baptism into His death that will provide the fertile ground for the new life to spring up through faith and repentance.
Moreover, it is only by His grace that all this happens. There is no price—through good works and sacrifices—high enough to purchase that grace. It is a gift, so that no one would boast (Rom.4:2; Eph.2:8-9). Our life circumstances, our brokenness, our failures, our sense of shame, and our losses are all gifts of grace, and tools in God’s mighty hand to crucify the flesh. So let’s praise Him for that which is dying in us today, so that His life may be manifest in us (2 Cor.4:10).