Baptism and Romans -tmp(Rom 6:1-11)

Anyone who has been following the study should notice a few
things. Firstly, the method is a variation of my (now) usual method of
studying. I’m ignoring the role of the specific baptismal narratives within the
context of the letter. For instance, that huge list of questions for each
specific baptismal event in the book of Acts largely ignored the greater
question of the reason those stories were even put into Luke’s letter anyway.
My approach here has been closer to systematic theology in that I have gathered
the baptismal stories and usage and then have put them next to each other to
study them.

Secondly, although much was gathered some things were
glaringly obvious—even with all our questions. 
The general texture of the narratives did not support the idea of
baptism resulting in regeneration. The general texture of the narratives seemed
to tie baptism to repentance and to belief. Although all the narratives
necessitated the performance of baptism by the believer none of the narratives (in
context) ever stated the idea of baptism as necessary for salvation.

Thirdly, the baptismal events alone would force some things
into ambiguity: such as making a differentiation between repentance and belief
and between the baptism of Jews and the baptism of Gentiles. The baptismal
stories never support infant baptism (nor do they outright deny it), they never
support the baptism of unbelievers (nor do they outright deny it), they never
indicate joining a covenant community (nor do they outright deny it).

Therein lays the general fault of an unaltered systematic methodology…we
could easily start forcing theological ideologies into the text.. So if we
spent our time looking at only {{Acts 2:38}} we would have been in quite a
hole—but thankfully we stretched out of the confines of the single verse and
tapped the context about it.

With this passage (and the rest of the epistolary passages
going forward) I will try to focus on the context and then the verses in
question. If you wish, call it a personal fault arising from my heretical nature.
Some folk may want to take all the juice out of the single verse and then
branch out to see what the rest of the tree tastes like…I would much rather
like to see what kind of tree it is and what the fruit are within it, then
taste it with proper understanding.

Romans and Baptism.
Paul has thus far established the argument of the righteous
living by faith. The statement has the dual purpose of showing God’s action in
assuring salvation (not only peace with God, but the renewing of the mind,
renewing of the body, and evidenced in action through faith and by faith) and
Man’s great benefit in this given righteousness (no wrath from God, no death, no
rule by sin and evidenced as love). The dual point is carried throughout the
letter to the Romans (readily admitted although my personal series focuses on God’s
righteousness defended).

{{Romans 1}} reveals God’s wrath on unrighteous Men. {{Romans
2}} reveals God’s wrath on those who align themselves morally with God and yet
do the same as the heathen. Likewise, {{Romans 2}} also addresses the Jew as
benefiting from the Law yet still culpable for his action. {{Romans 3}} explains
how all men are personally guilty sinners before God. The entire man is
portrayed as a desperately sick, morally wounded, actively wicked and passively
aggressive. {{Romans 3}} also gives us the idea that beneath God’s righteous
Law all men receive the death penalty but God has come up with a way for the
unrighteous to be saved…through faith by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. {{Romans
4}} supplies the argument that credited righteousness by faith is no new thing
and has been evidenced in the life of Abraham (and David). {{Romans 5}} starts
to show how upon faith man has been justified, has peace with God, can exult in
tribulations knowing the end result.

{{Romans 5}} also shows us the problem that men still die
and the whole race has been plummeted into this very sad situation but God’s
grace through the free gift of Christ on the cross super-abounds over the curse
of Adam. The curse resulted in super-grace so what does that mean to the

In {{Romans 6:1-11}} Paul has to start defining what it
doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean, does it, that we’re now to continue in sin so
that there’s even more grace? Vehemently no—we died to sin…how can we continue
to live in it? How did we die to sin? Believers are after all capable of
sinning (and I remember some of those folk in Corinth, blessed saints, falling into all types
of gross immorality) so what does Paul mean that we have died?

Paul states those who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
have been baptized into his death. Is the text is speaking of an actual
mystical union where the believer is somehow slain on the cross with Christ and
therefore dies? Is the text speaking of a legal positioning of the believer?

Paul states that we have been buried with Christ through
baptism then starts using terms which are largely analogical: ‘So that as
Christ was raised’ or ‘likeness of his resurrection’ and then later ‘knowing
this’ and ‘knowing that’.  This is the
standard structure of an analogy. For example: “Just as Moses raised the
serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up and so…” It is
striking that Romans 6 is speaking of a spiritual truth but the spiritual truth
is not performed by baptism…but rather pictured with baptism.

The believer is baptized into Christ Jesus. This is nothing new;
we’ve seen it repeated oft-times in the book of Acts. (The form of the baptism
could have been “I baptize you by the authority of Christ Jesus in the name of
the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” so the statement doesn’t deny
anything.) In this action he is pictured as dying in Christ, buried with Him
and raised up again to walk in newness of life. Our entire person was
killed…not so much literally on the cross, but positionally by what Christ has
done. We can see the legal language evidenced by {{Romans 3}} and {{Romans 5}}.
The believer has legally died to sin. The account has been satisfied by Christ
who has died.

So Romans 6 is not dealing with water baptism resulting in
being placed in Christ (if that were the case it would deny all these texts: {{Romans
1:17}}; {{Romans 3:28, 30}}; {{Rom 4:16}}; {{Rom 5:1, 2}}; {{Rom 9:30}}; {{Rom 10:9}}


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)


Russ On Baptism

Baptism of Linkage
Facebook Comments

One reply on “Baptism and Romans -tmp(Rom 6:1-11)”

Leave a Reply