by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4 August 8, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
(240)Thesis:Living the "new" life has everything to do with what we know and believe.
Introduction:As we have looked into Paul's argument in Romans 6 regarding his claim that we are dead to sin, we have seen that, whatever his words mean, their reality does not absolutely stop believers from committing sins. So in our search for the true meaning, we have looked into the fact that we are significantly involved in at least three distinct baptisms as believers. The most easily visible one of the three is the one which involves the use of water and functions as a union of men with men in the minds of men. The other two are invisible. One of the remaining two is the baptism which involves Christ's gift of the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him. Technically, this is a baptism of the Spirit into us (as if, by analogy, we were the water into which He was plunged). This baptism brings a union of God and man in the minds of God and men in that God takes up residence in men's bodies as "temples". And the remaining invisible baptism is one which involves the Holy Spirit's gift of the believer to Christ. In this baptism the Holy Spirit plunges us into Christ (as if, by analogy, He is the water into which we are plunged). This baptism brings a union of men and Christ in the minds of God and men to the degree to which the issue of "reckoning" is involved.
This evening we are going to look a bit further into this issue of "reckoning" as we consider again our quest to discover the truth of Paul's words. At the end of Romans 6:4 Paul wrote about "walking in newness of life". This evening we are going to look into that issue in respect to the issue of "reckoning".
I. A Significant Distinction in the Baptisms.
A. The baptisms move, in terms of material considerations, from more to less.
1. In water baptism, both the water and the "baptized" are material realities.
2. In Christ's gift of the Spirit to us, we are material, but the Spirit is not.
3. In the Spirit's gift to Christ, neither we, nor He, is material.
a. Though Christ actually has a material, resurrected body, that is not the "body" into which we are placed.
b. Though we actually have a material body also, that is not what is "baptized into Christ" -- it has been left in its "unredeemed condition", consigned by God to the bondage to corruption until the resurrection/Rapture.
B. The impacts of the baptisms are relative.
1. The baptism of water associates people with each other around a common confession, but there are no guarantees of any reality.
2. The baptism with the Holy Spirit associates God with people because of a common "belief" (as opposed to "confession of belief") -- God and men "believe" the same thing -- and there is a guarantee of final union because the Holy Spirit is the "earnest of the inheritance by the heir."
3. The baptism by the Holy Spirit associates people with Christ because of a common "love" (in distinction from both "confession" and "belief") -- people and Christ have the same "goal" -- and there are no guarantees because the "goal" is dependent upon a coming together of men's "reckoning" and God's so that their "love" is the same.
C. The objectives of the baptisms are different.
1. The baptism of water is designed to produce "fellowship" between men of common confession -- a reality that has a significant "sliding scale" in terms of how profoundly the "fellowship" develops.
2. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is designed to produce "Life" in men by uniting them with God in a "fellowship of the soul" -- another "relative reality".
3. The baptism by the Holy Spirit is designed to produce "Life" by men as they function in their places in the Body of Christ for the sake of others -- another "relative reality" that is best described as a "fellowship of the Spirit" with God.
II. A Significant "Openness" in the Experience of the Baptism in View in Romans 6.
A. We must be clear that Romans 6 is not dealing with either water baptism or baptism with the Holy Spirit.
B. The baptism by the Holy Spirit opens the door to our experience of "Life" as a "fellowship of the Spirit" with God, but it brings no guarantees of that experience.
1. Paul wrote of "walking in newness of life".
a. This is an "active practice": walking is not a passive, non-participation reality.
b. This is also a very "relative" experiential reality: "Life" is a quality of experience that is heavily influenced by the "love/faith" issues as they are bounced off of physical, emotional, and spiritual experience.
2. Paul wrote of both "death" to sin and "resurrection" to life.
a. In some ways, both "death" and "resurrection" are "absolutes in terms of what they "circumscribe" (fence in and out).
b. But, in this present time, both the example of Abraham and the "potentialities" are "in place".
1. Death and resurrection are the "potentialities" -- the possibilities are unbounded.
2. The example of Abraham is the "realism".
a) It is the habit of God to declare things that are not as though they are.
b) It is the reality of time that what "shall be" is not "yet".
c) The proclamation of our death/resurrection is a "shall be" reality that can have any present impact that "faith" allows.
d) The "limiting" factors are two: what God has actually said and what we actually believe.
3. Paul's words are to be understood in terms of our participation with God in the actual manifestation of the Life of His Son.
a. This cannot be done without a "place in His Body".
b. This cannot be done by "water baptism".
c. This cannot be done by "baptism with the Spirit".
d. This can only be done by our agreement with the Spirit as He has determined how He wishes to manifest Christ in our specific case...our place in the Body.
1) This does not happen when we do not see "temptation" as "temptation".
2) This does not happen when we listen to the Law tell us that resistance is up to us.
3) This does not happen when we permit "habitual" responses to dominate.
4) This does not happen unless we bring our "deadness to sin" into play at the point of temptation.
5) This does not happen if we think that a one-time resistance will be effective for all time.
6) This does not happen as a "complete" issue in the complexities in which we live.