by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4 August 8, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
1901 ASV Translation:
3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection;
I. Being Baptized into Christ.
A. This is a "Spiritual" action that fundamentally affects the "reckoning" of God.
B. As a "present" Spiritual action, there is only a partial realization of its truth inexperience.
1. As Abraham received the name "Father of a Multitude" (Genesis 17:4-5), he also received the commitment of God of a son through Sarah (Genesis 17:19), and he received the sign of God's commitment (circumcision), and within the year he received the initialexperience of the reality.
2. In similitude, we receive the "baptism of the Spirit into the death of Christ" at the point of conversion/new birth and we are "reckoned by God" to be "in Christ" so that we are "dead to sin." But, our actualpractice of "death to sin" is tied, not to God's "reckoning", but to ours (Romans 6:11). Tothedegree that we "reckon" ourselves to be "dead to sin", we actually are beyond "Sin's" ability to produce itself through us.
a. This "degree" business means this: in the specific circumstances of any given historical moment of our experience, to the degree that we "reckon" ourselves dead to Sin, we actually are. This means that if we grasp our "deadness" at the point of temptation, we are "dead" and will not yield. But, this requires several things. First, we must be able to see that the "circumstance" is a temptation to "sin". If we do not recognize that the action we are tempted to take is "sinful" we will probably take it. Second, if we do recognize that the action is sinful, but we see ourselves as "responsible" for the ability to resist it, we probably will take the action since it is a function of "Law" to create the sense of "personal responsibility" and Sin uses that function to deceive us. Third, if we have habitually yielded to the temptation in the past, we have "reinforced" our lack of confidence in the reality of our "deadness" so that we will probably yield again. Fourth, if we, acknowledging the true sinfulness of the action and our inability to refrain from it, actually "reckon" upon the Spirit's power to bring our true "deadness" into play, we will find ourselves participating in our true deadness. But, fifth, the participation is often limited in scope so that the experience in the "now" does not carry over into the "future" so that the process does not have to be experienced again and again. In other words, there is no such thing as a one-time, forever-effective, defeat of Sin's delusions. Just as Abraham was the "father" of one son, though he was the "father of a multitude", so we are "completely dead to Sin" even though we only experience that deadness in one, two, or a few areas. The issue of Christian growth to maturity is the expansion of the experience into the totality of the reality.
b. There is no indication in the Scriptures that any present victory will carry over into the future except for the teaching that actual present learning has a definite impact upon the future. But, present learning brings no guarantees with it. It brings possibilities of success; perhaps even probabilities, but no guarantees. We will never outgrow our need for immediate intentional dependence (pray without ceasing).
C. As a baptism into both "death" and "resurrection", we are to understand that the issues are "unbounded".
1. Being "dead" is an "absolute state".
2. Being "resurrected" is an "absolute state".
3. Therefore, in my present practice of death/resurrection, there are no real limits to what I can do ("I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me"). However, there are some effectual limits: I arbitrarily set these limits when I "bind" limits to the degree of "death" or "resurrection" that I can experience. I can only go as far as my "faith" can take me, and it can only take me as far as it actually goes...and I cannot make myself believe more than I believe. I have the ability to use the faith I actually have to put myself into a position that will "set me up" for the Spirit to "grow" my faith (not in the sense of more or less -- God responds to even a mustard seed amount -- but in the sense of the number of issues in my experience to which I can apply it).