Matthew Henry in dealing with our having been baptized into Christ states, “In general, we are dead to sin. Our baptism signifies our cutting off from the kingdom of sin. We are dead to sin by our union with Christ, in and by whom it is killed. All this is in vain if we persist in sin; we return to that to which we were dead, like walking ghosts. For he that is dead is freed from sin (vs 7); he that is dead to it is freed from the rule and dominion of it. Now shall we be such fools as to return to that slavery from which we are discharged?”
Christians, we are declared to be "in Christ." We have been buried with Him through baptism into death. We have been raised with Christ from the dead through the glory of the Father. Oh, please take these two truths to heart. God tells us they are a reality and we need His grace and mercy to live in light of this reality even though our sight is often so dim. In Christ - through our baptism/union with Him, we are dead to sin and alive to God.
Henry gives 2 points underneath this idea of our being baptized into Jesus Christ.
1. “Our conformity to the death of Christ obliges us to die unto sin.” Verse 6 tells us "that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." Quoting Mr. Henry again, “The death of the cross was a slow death; but it was a sure death. Such is the mortification of sin in believers. The crucifying of Christ for us has an influence upon the crucifying of sin in us.” (We all need to remember that this is a slow work and not expect things to just be gone, over and done with. That's hard for teh perfectionist that still dwells in me!)
Verse 8 tells us that "we have died with Christ." Henry writes, “Baptism signifies and seals our union with Christ, so that we are dead with Him and engaged to have no more to do with sin than He had.”
Verse 4 reminds us that "we have been buried with Him through baptisim into death." “Our conformity is complete. We are in profession quite cut off from all commerce and communion with sin. Thus must we be, as Christ was, separate from sin and sinners. We are sealed to be the Lord’s, therefore to be cut off from sin. As Christ was buried, that He might rise again to a new and more heavenly life, so we are in baptism buried, that we may rise again to a new life of faith and love.” (Matthew Henry)
2. “Our conformity to the resurrection of Christ obliges us to rise again to newness of life. Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Now in baptism we are obliged to conform to that pattern… Conversion is the first resurrection from the death of sin to the life of righteousness.”
a. Christ rose to die no more. "Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him" (vs 9). “Over Christ death has no more dominion; He was dead indeed, but He is alive, and so alive that He lives for evermore. Thus we must rise from the grave of sin never again to return to it."
b. Christ rose to live to God. "For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God." (vs 10). Pay close attention to these words, they are convicting. “He rose to live a heavenly life. He rose again to leave the world. Thus we must rise to live to God; this is what He calls the newness of life. We are to live by other rules, with other aims than we have done before. A life devoted to God is a new life; before, self was the chief and highest end, but now God.”
Dead to sin. Alive to Christ. Buried with Him in baptism. Raised with Him to newness of life. I cannot do this apart from Christ. I CAN do this because of Christ. O LORD – how greatly we need your mercy. How clearly we need your death and resurrection. Thank you for dying the death I deserved and for crushing the grave of sin through your resurrection power. Make me to love you and know the reality of my union with You - my Savior and my Lord!