Remember Your Baptism -tmp(Rom 6:1-11)

{{Romans 6}} illustrates a mind-boggling reality with a
simple picture. While dealing with the difficulty of our sinful natures Paul
makes us look to something that is known to all believers—the baptism by water.
His purpose, though, does not remain in the symbol but stretches into the
infinite wisdom and love of God that would bestow on sinners the mercy and love
they did not deserve. We can, thankfully, look at this portion to provoke a
fire in our own thinking no matter how long we’ve been in Christ.

Some of us may have the vaguest recollection of our baptism
while others may still be wet behind the ears from the event. Some of us may
have carried out the command without understanding but in sheer obedience to
our Lord while some of us entered the baptismal waters with our heads filled with
explanatory verses. As believers we all should’ve gone through it and it bears
remembering.

Why? Because it was the means by which the Holy Spirit could
regenerate us? Because it welcomed us into a community of like-minded people? Vehemently
no. We should remember our baptism because this small picture helps us come to
terms with the grandeur of God’s plans while simultaneously painting a picture
of both historical and spiritual truth.

Paul states that we, who have been baptized into Christ,
have been baptized into His death. Dwell on who this Christ is. The Messiah.
The one spoken about throughout the Scriptures and sang about in the Psalms.
That One who was the seed of the woman {{Gen 3:15}}, the promised seed of Abraham
({{Gal 3:16}}), the holder of the scepter from the tribe of Judah ({{Gen
49:10}}), the fulfilled promise to David ({{2 Sam 7:12-16}}), God’s Holy anointed—that
One came and was rejected. That person, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ),
was judged by Mankind as unrighteous and worthy of the worst kind of death, was
lifted up as a curse before the eyes of God ({{Gal 3:13}}) and belittled openly.
Jesus Messiah who, as the Father of the Trinity (somehow) turns away from the
second person of the trinity, would shout out the words of the Psalmist saying
“My God, My God why have you forsaken me!”({{Ps 22:1}}, {{Matt 27:46}}). This
Jesus Christ who his kinsman scorned as He hung there naked and battered while
they wagged their heads saying “He could save others—let us see if He saves
Himself…then we’ll believe Him.”({{ Luke 23:35}}). This Jesus Christ who died
and was buried is The One the believer identifies with.

The believer doesn’t profess faith with water but with the
heart and mind. When the believer, broken hearted and his sin evident before
him, realized his or her guilt before the eternal God and looked to the cross
of Jesus Christ acknowledging Him as his only hope of salvation he was saved.
That salvation is not possible if it were not through Christ. That the death Christ
died on the cross, innocent and blameless, was on behalf of the guilty and vile
sinner. The person believes and in so doing acknowledges his own guilt and the
innocence of the Lord.

What does he do in baptism then? He identifies with him. The
believer stands up before the witnesses and is immersed in the water as a
picture of Christ’s death but simultaneously saying “I died in Christ”. Dipped
in those waters the believer typifies to the world the fact that he has become
united with Christ in death.

What does this mean to the world then? “I sat against Him in
the council with you sinners. He, Jesus the Son of David and the Messiah
according the Scriptures, is the only righteous man and we crucified Him. I
stand with Him stating He is innocent and we…you…are not.”{{Psalms 1}}

If you go into a courtroom where the judge is handing down a
judgment on the guilty party and you stand before the judge and say “I stand
with him. You judge him guilty, but you are wrong—he is right. Do with me as
you do with him since this court is faulty.” You should expect the full wrath
of the Court.

Christ tells us as much. Persecutions will come he told his
disciples. There would come a time where they will torture you thinking they do
God a service…but they do these things to you because they have done as much to
me ({{John 15:15-25}}).

That first century Jew who stood against his kinsman would
fully expect the worse. Jews had been trained after many years not to bow the
knee to an idol and here they were—bowing to a man and calling Him “God”. Paul
bore the marks of his testimony as he was mocked and beaten, whipped and stoned
and left for dead. Our baptism today, in a free country void of such heated
persecution may give a warm glow of a memory—but realize what it meant to that
first century Jew ({{1 Pet 3:15-21}}).

But it doesn’t end there. If we are baptized in the likeness
of His death we are also lifted up out of the baptismal waters in the likeness
of His resurrection. The believer now stands up to walk in newness of life.

Surely this means that the believer openly states that a
life of sinning is not for him or her. That the believer in his entire self,
the perceived good, the evil, the supposed neutral has all died in Christ and
now the believer is free to live—not as himself but as Christ. Paul would state
that He is crucified with Christ and yet he lives, but not he but Christ living
within him and the life he lives in the flesh he lives by faith in the Son of
God. That is also our banner cry when we are lifted out of the waters—but what
are we also pictorially stating?

That Christ lives. That God the Judge has overturned the decision of the world
and has lifted Christ up alive out of the grave. Peter would point out to the
gathered Jews in Jerusalem on Pentecost that they have crucified that Messiah
which was promised—but God would not allow His Anointed to see corruption and
so He lives waiting for the day that His enemies are to be made His footstool. Many
of those witnesses heard Peter’s words and, realizing their error, asked what
they were to do to be saved ({{Acts 2}}).

I do wonder if our baptisms should be performed before the
cold eyes of the outright unbeliever instead of the warm caresses of family and
friends. Perhaps that initial act of obedience would further impress upon us
the reality which we proclaim: not only did Christ die…but He lives and He himself
is coming back to set the balance straight. You as a believer, baptized in
those waters can stand and walk in newness of life because your sins have been
judged on Christ.

If you were to go into the annals of my life seeking a way
to condemn me you will find much but it would be useless. You would get to a
page where it would read “account closed…Rey died”.

There is therefore now no condemnation for Rey, thank God,
but there is a condemnation coming…and it will be fierce and righteous—clearing
this world of its unjust rulings and setting the balance right. Oh listen to
the jubilee of creation—the mountains shouting for joy and the rivers clapping
their hands for there will be a judgment ({{Psalms 98}})! That unrighteous
decision will be brought to bear on humanity and Christ Himself will stand with
power and authority to judge ({{John 5:19-47}}, {{Rom 8}}).

So remember your baptism believer, new or old, and consider
the implications thereof.

-r-

The Full Series
1. Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
2. One Baptism Versus the Many?
3. Baptism and Big Problems
4. Baptismal Regeneration (Acts 2:28)
5. Deluge of Baptism Questions (Acts 1-22)
6. Baptism and Romans (Rom 6:1-11)
7. Noah and Baptism (2 Peter 3:20,21)
8. Paul On Baptism (1 Cor 1:14-18)

9. The Error of Infant Baptism


10. Remember Your Baptism (Rom 6:1-11)

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