Romans 6:1-11 Baptism

Spirit baptism is that baptism spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12:13.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

This type of baptism is into life, not death. It is the means of joining the believer to the body of Christ.

Water baptism is into death. You come out of the water – you can not live in the water. It symbolizes burial and resurrection. This can be seen with an illustration. A fish’s nature is to live in water, not air. Your nature is suddenly different when you are right with God through faith. You lived in the atmosphere of sin; you ate and drank sin. When you were reborn, you were given a new nature. Your body is accustomed to sin, but you are more than your body. You died to sin. You must recognize God’s word and the truth of it. You are dead to sin because God said so – His word creates new reality. You can be underwater and still be alive, but it is not your nature, so you can not live underwater. You can be in sin and be alive, but you can not live in it. Your nature is to fight to get out of water if held under. Your new nature is to fight to get out of sin if you get into it.

Water baptism is a reactualization. It “is the process by which a past event is contemporized for a generation removed in time and space from the original event.” Another way to define it is: “That which happened once with basic significance for the religious community is still present in its consequences and the commemoration of the event removes these consequences in the faith of the worshipper.” When we reactualize an event, we experience what it was like to go through some unrepeatable historical event. We experience that event by a ceremony or ritual that we undergo; reactualization occurs when the worshipper sees himself as a partaker in thoe non-repeatable events. Reactualization has six elements:

  1. The ceremony includes an interpretive narration.
  2. It heavily emphasizes the Word of God.
  3. The ritual will include certain elements of dramatic action.
  4. This takes place in a recognized gathering of God’s people.
  5. The whole ceremony deals with the subject of God’s saving actions in history.
  6. The ceremony will confront the participants with the promising and demanding Word of God.

According to Rabbinic teaching, every Jew is required to think of themselves as having gone through the slavery and exodus as Abraham and his followers did. Deuteronomy 29:2 is the original passover. Each passover after that is to remind the people of what God did for them. Every observant Jewish household treats the Passover as their own experience of deliverance from Egyptian bondage. The event itself is a long past, unrepeatable event. Yet through the means of the Passover Seder every obedient Jew can know what it is like in his own experience to go through the first Passover.

      The relevance of this to Romans chapter six is clear. When we baptize, we are burying a crucified believer. As the believer enters the water, he experiences in his own life what it was like for Christ to undergo burial. By faith the believer shares in Christ’s crucifixion, and in the waters of baptism, by faith, he shares in Christ’s burial.

      Christ died, once for all, to sin (Rom 6:9-10), and so have those who believe. Now then, having been baptized into death, one should act like it.

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One Response

  1. I would agree wholeheartedly, WB.

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