Romans 6, Part 2 (Romans 6:3)

As we continue our look at this great chapter of the Bible we want to examine verse 3 in some detail.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3, ESV)

Paul is building on the thought begun in Romans 5 where he argues that grace “abounded” in the presence of sin which was made evident by the Law of Moses. He has answered the previous question from Romans 6:1 “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” He has declared in Romans 6:2 that we do not continue in sin because we have died to sin. Now he reminds the readers of a step taken in connection with that death: their baptism.

As he did in verse 1 this is a rhetorical question, that is,  the answer is obvious. For Paul, there is no such thing as a non-baptized Christian. Those in Acts 2:41 who gladly received the word were baptized. Paul himself was baptized upon the direction of the Christ-sent Ananias (Acts 22:16). And here, it is as if Paul simply assumes that all his readers had been baptized. For him, baptism was just as much as part of his faith life as his belief. So no, baptism is not the main thrust of this passage because it is already a matter settled for Paul and the readers of this letter.

Paul’s main idea is to show the connection between baptism and death of Jesus. As Jesus was buried, so is the man who has died to sin and is buried, symbolically, in the waters of baptism. We’ll look closer at three key analogies in the next article.

3 comments On Romans 6, Part 2 (Romans 6:3)

  • Many contend that those baptized under John’s baptism did not have to be baptized again after the Old Testament was nailed to the cross. Since the Old Testament Law was still in effect during John’s ministry and Jesus was still alive they could not be baptized into His death. Rom.6:3 is very clear on this so I don’t understand why people believe those under John’s baptism were somehow “grandfathered into the church”.

    • Thanks for your comment Chuck. I think of Acts 19 and the 12 men Paul baptized. Of course they were evidently baptized under John’s baptism and after the coming of the church so I am not sure that helps here. But it is clear that John himself taught that the baptism of Jesus and the baptism he practiced (John) were different (Matthew 3:11-12).

      You know Chuck, the central issue here is one of obedience. Our Calvinist friends argue that obedience is not necessary but instead is the natural fruit of what God has already done in the chosen ones. But for the life of me I cannot find a single Biblical example of a faithful but disobedient Christian. Can you image the story of Abraham if he had refused to leave Ur? Would he still have been counted righteous?

      We cannot earn our salvation and we cannot put God in a position of owing us anything but he does expect obedience. Those who seek to wriggle around such things as obedience really make me wonder.

  • I agree totally about obedience. The greatest example being Christ and his obedience unto death. I do get frustrated when I hear people teach things that aren’t there. Acts 19 and the 12 men for instance. I have heard it taught that they were baptized into John’s baptism after the death of Christ otherwise they would not have needed to be. Nowhere does it say when they were baptized. I have always considered that an example that all had to be baptized into his death as stated in Rom.6:3.
    We sure miss your classes & sermons. Wish you were closer.

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