"How Does the Christian Deal with Sin? " 

By Arthur J Licursi

Part 8 of 14 - Paul Puts Forth a Question

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized (immersed) into Christ Jesus (body) were baptized (immersed) into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:3-4)

The verses above address a different sort of baptism or immersion than the water baptism that belongs to the Jews religion. This baptism does not mention water in any shape or form, yet this Scripture is used time and again by preachers to validate one or another theory on water baptism. "Baptizmo," Greek for baptism, means to be immersed - but immersed into what? Paul answers the question for us. The baptism Paul speaks of here is the one he writes about in his first letter to the Corinthians. For we were all baptized (immersed) by one Spirit into one body (Christ body) — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:13). Note also here that this is not a baptism in the Spirit, since it is the Spirit who is doing the baptizing of the believer into Christ’s body.

You see we have been immersed into Christ’s body that hung on the cross, not into water. We have been immersed or placed in Him at the cross; it is there that our “old man” or old self was crucified and has died - “in Christ.” This matter of our being placed into Christ’s body is for our complete identification with Christ death and resurrection life as ours. Our placement into Christ was a supernatural act of God that unites us with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.

Therefore, when God sees you, and me, he does not see our empty efforts to try and be or appear righteous; no, He sees Christ’s full payment for our Sins – past, present, and future. It is as if it was you and I hanging on His cross – in fact we were there - “in Him.” The believer is to have complete identification with Christ and His cross as their cross-death.

Apart from this “identification” of ourselves being in Him, we find ourselves in a self-caused quagmire. If we embrace either the extreme self-effort to be righteous, or to take God’s grace as a license to Sin, we still fail to enjoy the grace and provision of God.

If we say we must do good deeds, adding them to God’s grace as a requirement, we are in effect saying, “God, I don’t need you. I’ve got this thing under control. I can make it on my own.” We make Christ’s cross to be of no effect.

Galatians 5:4 (AMP) If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing).

The problem is that you and I cannot be good enough to be counted perfectly righteous. In fact, nobody can tell us exactly how much good is good enough. Speed once and you are a speeder; sin once and you are a sinner. Those controlled by the Sinful nature cannot please God. (Romans 8:8) It is only by faith that we can receive the gift of God called salvation. And it is only by that same faith in Christ that we can begin to live a life pleasing to God.

On the other hand, there are the lawless ones who continue sinning; choosing to satisfy their own “natural” cravings, believing God’s grace will take care of the bill at the end of the party – though saved, they will suffer loss. 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. The problem here is not that God’s grace won’t pick up the tab, but that the lifestyle this person has chosen for himself is not fulfilling God’s purpose for him. Yes, he will be saved on the final day (if he has truly trusted Christ for his salvation), but he will lose everything he hoped to gain by his self-gratification. Of course, there are those who will say such a one was never saved at all since his life’s fruits do not show his newness of life. Rather than judge a matter before its time, I will leave that decision to God who knows what is in their heart.