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.