Romans 6:1-11, An Overview

In writing the studies in Colossians, there have been several times where I pointed to Romans 6 as a starting point regarding the believers identification with Christ.  I also noted on a number of occasions the necessity of getting the doctrines that are taught by Paul in Romans correctly in order to properly move on and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.

In this study, which is more of an overview, my intention is to get the point of this most important chapter in Paul’s fundamental “establishment” epistle.  My comments will be in italic type to distinguish them from the scripture quoted.

Romans 6:1-11

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? {This is continuing from the previous chapter where Paul stated that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”, and he already anticipated what a “scoffer” might say about what he was teaching.} God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  {How are we dead to sin? Now Paul will introduce this teaching on our union with Christ, and how God recognizes us as dead to sin.} Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ {when were we baptized into Jesus Christ?  By the immediate context, it was when we received of the “abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness” (5:17), which is “unto all and upon all them that believe” (Romans 3:22)} were baptized into His death? {Here is where we find how we are dead to sin.  We died to sin when God united us with Christ in His death.  When we were baptized into Jesus Christ, God united us so fully with Him that when He died, we died with Him.} Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: {dead and buried = this act is done.  The burial is the final hit of the “death stroke”.  When at a funeral, when the casket is closed, there is something that hits your heart.  It hits even harder when that first shovel of dirt is thrown on the coffin.  It is when it really hits everyone present that this person is dead.} that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father {we are so united to Christ that when God raised Him from the dead, those that the Father baptized into Him and His death are raised from the dead with Him.}, even so we also should walk in newness of life. {To answer the question, “shall we continue in sin?” It is a resounding NO!}

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: {Continuing the point here:  we are identified by God as dead and buried with Christ.  This is because we are identified with Christ, and since we are identified with Christ in His death, since He was raised from the dead, we are raised from the dead as well.} Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. {Why do we not continue in sin?  We died unto sin when we died with Christ.  This is a positional fact because God declared it so.  Just as He declares us righteous (justification by grace through faith), after declaring all under sin, He now declares us as we are in Adam, dead in Christ, because He identifies us with the death of Christ.} Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. {His resurrection is our resurrection, and He lives, so we live—in Christ.} Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. {It is so, so accept that it is so, and live by faith that it is so.}

Addendum:  Baptized for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29)


Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29)

Almost every explanation of this verse leaves me with the thought:  “It cannot possibly mean that!”  The best understanding of this must be from the context of the chapter, so let us back up a few verses:

Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

If you are baptized into Jesus Christ, you are baptized into His death.  If Christ died but there is no resurrection, then He did not rise, so your identification with Christ is only in death and burial. If there is no resurrection, then you are only baptized for the dead.

BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN!

So the understanding that I have come to on this is that this “baptism for the dead” is the conclusion reached if we stay with the argument that there is no resurrection from the dead.  It is useless to glory in being baptized into Christ and thus being baptized into His death if we throw away the truth of the resurrection.  It becomes being baptized for the dead, which is completely useless.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20)

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