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Sermon #65[i] — Romans Series
The Believer’s Confession
Text: Romans 6:1-11
Subject: Believer’s Baptism
Turn with me to Romans 6, Romans 6:1-11. The title of my message is — Baptism - The Believer’s Confession (Romans 6:1-11).
Romans 6:1-11 (1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (6) 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. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin. (8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. (10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Scriptures clearly teach these four things about baptism.
1. Baptism is an act of obedience to Christ our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). To all who believe on his name, Christ’s first commandment is, “Arise and be baptized” (Acts 22:16).
(Matthew 28:18-20) (18) Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
(Mark 16:15-16) (15) He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
2. The one prerequisite, or condition, for baptism is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is for believers only. “If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest” be baptized (Acts 8:37).
3. Baptism is “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21).
“Baptism is rightly performed, and its ends answered, when a person, conscious to himself of its being an ordinance of Christ, and of his duty to submit to it, does so upon profession of his faith in Christ, in obedience to his command, and with a view to his glory.” (John Gill)
4. And here, in Romans 6, the Spirit of God shows us that baptism is the believer’s confession of faith in and allegiance to Christ as his Lord and Savior.
This is what Paul teaches us in the first part of this chapter. This is the place in the New Testament where believer’s baptism is explained. If we are honest, when we are trying to find out what the Bible teaches about any subject, we do not randomly pick out verses of Scripture, put them together, and form our doctrine. Rather, we must find the place in the Bible where that subject is taught and explained, and submit to the doctrine of Holy Scripture. In Romans 6:1-11 Paul, writing by the inspiration of God the Holy Ghost, shows us the nature and meaning of believer’s baptism.
Proposition: Baptism is the means by which the believer confesses his faith in Christ, identifies himself with Christ, and declares his commitment to Christ before the world.
In chapters 3, 4, and 5 the Apostle has declared, explained, and illustrated the glorious gospel doctrine of free justification by the grace of God through the blood and righteousness of Christ. He has shown us how that sinners are justified before God by grace alone, in Christ alone, through faith alone.
In chapter 6 Paul shows us the believer’s responsibility, having been saved by grace, to live in righteousness. He is describing our new life in Christ. And the very first thing he deals with is believer’s baptism. This is a matter of great importance. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher as we study this portion of his Word together.
Divisions: Here are five things I want you to see in these verses:
In verses 1-2 we see A CONTROVERSY SETTLED.
(Romans 6:1-2) (1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were many who, when they heard the gospel doctrine of free justification declared by grace, without works, declared cried, “Antinomianism! That doctrine will cause men and women to live licentiously!” That is always the response of natural religious men to the gospel of free grace. Because self-righteous men and women are mercenaries, because they serve God for gain, because legalists serve God for fear, they cannot understand the principle of grace. They cannot imagine men and women living for Christ, being constrained by nothing but gratitude and love. No one but an unsaved man would ever imagine that grace promotes licentiousness (Jude 4).
Grace is glorified not by the commission of sin, but by the forgiveness of it. God’s people know that. Grace is glorified not by encouraging sin, but by putting an end to it. Grace never causes men and women to love sin and pursue it. Grace causes us to hate sin and seek to be done with it. Paul says, “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” Such a thought is as repulsive as it is contrary to reason! Be sure you understand what Paul is teaching us here.
We who believe are dead to sin.
(Psalm 51:1-4) (1) Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Our Lord taught us to pray continually, “Forgive us our sins.” Because we constantly commit sin, we must constantly confess our sin and look to Christ for forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
(1 John 1:7-2:2) (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
But, thanks be unto God, we are dead to the quilt and penalty of sin! Sin shall never be charged to us (Romans 4:8). Sin shall never condemn us (Romans 8:1, 33, 34). God shall never treat us any the less graciously because of our sin.
(Romans 4:8) (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
(Romans 8:1-4) (1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(Romans 8:33-34) (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
And we are dead to the dominion of sin. “Sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). Sin is no longer our master to rule over us. Christ is our Lord. Sin is no longer the bent, course, and direction of our lives. It is not our friend, but our enemy. It is not pleasant, but repulsive. It is not loved, but abhorred.
Believers do not live in sin. Sin lives in us; but we do not live in sin. We live in Christ. That is Paul’s language in verse 2. To live in sin is to give yourself up to it, to be bent upon it, controlled by it, find pleasure in it, and make room and allowance for it. I repeat, though sin lives in us, believers do not live in sin. We live in Christ. We are bent upon him, controlled by him, find pleasure in him, and make room for him. It is our joy to follow Christ and be like him. We are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit (Romans 8:5-17).
(Romans 8:5-17) (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Paul has settled this controversy forever, in so far as doctrine and truth is concerned. Now let it be settled in your heart and mine: – Grace does not promote licentiousness. Grace promotes righteousness.
Now read verse 3. Here is A CONNECTION SHOWN between baptism and the death of Christ.
(Romans 6:3) (3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Let me help you with this verse. Most of the modern commentators say that this verse is referring to Spirit baptism. But not one of the old writers gives that interpretation (Gill, Calvin, Henry, Poole, etc.). The notion of Holy Spirit baptism has become commonly accepted in this day of Pentecostal religion. But it is not to be found in the Scriptures. The words baptized, baptism, and baptize are used 93 times in the New Testament. Of those 93 times, not even once is it said, or implied, that the Holy Spirit baptizes anyone! Christ baptized his church and people in the Spirit. But the Spirit does not baptize anyone. So, to suggest that this verse refers to the Holy Spirit baptizing believers into Christ is without biblical foundation.
In fact, the word translated “into” would be better translated “unto.” The text would be better translated, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized unto Christ were baptized unto his death?” Paul is telling us not that baptism puts us into Christ, (It does not.), but that baptism looks to Christ and has reference to his death. (Compare Acts 2:38).
(Acts 2:38) (38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Baptism, if it is true, is an act of faith.
Baptism has reference to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a picture of his death as the sinner’s Substitute and of our death in him. We died in him representatively.
Baptism is an outward, visible picture of grace experienced in the heart. Until grace is experienced in the heart, baptism has no meaning. It is nothing but an empty, hypocritical, deceiving ritual. This is the reason why we have been baptized.
We are one with Christ. There is a real, vital union of life and faith between the believer and his Savior. The Spirit of God has made us one with Christ. As we are one with him eternally, one with him seminally, and one with him representatively from everlasting, we are now one with him experimentally by his grace (Galatians 2:20; 1 John 4:12).
(Galatians 2:20) (20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
(1 John 4:12) (12) No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
In Christ we are dead. In him we are alive unto God. But we are dead…
(Philippians 3:8-11) (8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
(Philippians 3:12-14) (12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Baptism shows a connection between the believer and his Savior. It shows a connection between us and the death of Christ. In the context Paul is saying we can no longer live in sin any more than Christ can live unto sin, because we are one with him; and in him we are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God.
Now read verses 4-5. Here Paul shows us the nature and meaning of baptism as A CONFESSION SYMBOLIZED.
(Romans 6:4-5) (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Baptism is a symbolical confession of the whole gospel. It symbolizes both what God has done for us by his Son, and what God has done in us by his Spirit.
Notice the connecting word “therefore.” It refers to verse 3. Because baptism looks to Christ and his death upon the cross, this is how and why it must be performed.
Baptism is a burial. It is a picture of death. What do you do with someone who is dead? Do you sprinkle sand on his face? Do you pour dirt on his head? Of course not! You bury him! Immersion is not a mode of baptism. Immersion is baptism. Without immersion, baptism cannot be performed (Colossians 2:12).
(Colossians 2:8-14) (8) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Baptism is the believer’s confession of faith in the merit, efficacy, and sufficiency of Christ’s death for his eternal salvation. Baptism says to all the world, “I trust Christ for all my salvation. Looking to him, his bloody death upon the cursed tree, trusting him alone, I have been justified!”
This is my confession. I trust Christ. Trusting him, upon the authority of God’s own Word, I know that he is my Substitute. When he lived in obedience to God, I obeyed God in him. When he died under the wrath of God, I died in him. When he arose to live forever, accepted of God, I arose in him!
In baptism the believer also confesses his commitment to Christ. Rising up out of the watery grave, we confess to all the world that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of God the Father, “even so we also should walk in newness of life.” We have been raised from spiritual death to spiritual life by the glorious power of God’s almighty grace (Revelation 20:6). Henceforth we are determined, by the supply of God’s grace, to walk in the newness of life.
And baptism is the believer’s confession of his hope of resurrection glory with Christ (v. 5).
(Romans 6:5) (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Baptism looks back to the cross in faith, trusting the merits of Christ’s finished work of redemption. And baptism looks forward to the second coming in hope of the resurrection, trusting the power of the risen Christ to bring me safe and complete into his heavenly kingdom.
Baptism is a confession symbolized. In this blessed ordinance we confess our redemption by the blood of Christ, our regeneration by the Spirit of Christ, and our resurrection by the power of Christ.
Confidence Set forth
In verses 6-10 the Apostle Paul shows us the reason for baptism, the basis of it. When a believer is baptized in the name of Christ, that symbolical act is A CONFIDENCE SET FORTH. I told you before that baptism is an act of faith. Here Paul shows us that true baptism is based upon and arises out of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Nearly 49 years ago I was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I was 16 years old at the time. There were some things that I knew by experience, things which I had been taught by the Spirit of God that compelled me to be baptized. My knowledge now is more mature, more full, more settled. But I knew these things back then. This was my creed when I was 16. This is my creed at 65. And, God helping me, this will be my creed when I draw my last breath on this earth. This is the confidence set forth in believer’s baptism.
My old man is crucified with Christ (v. 6).
(Romans 6:6) (6) 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.
The old man is the old nature that we have had with us from birth, the nature of our father Adam. This old nature, its will, its mind, its affections, its lusts, can never be improved. It must be destroyed.
Knowing that this old man must be destroyed, it is contrary to reason and to grace that I should serve sin (Romans 6:16). I have given myself to Christ.
(Romans 6:16) (16) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Why would anyone serve a dead man? Why would anyone be governed by a dead man? Why would anyone pamper a dead man? Let us rise from the graveyard and set our hearts upon Christ (Colossians 3:1-3).
(Colossians 3:1-3) (1) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Knowing that I have been crucified with Christ, I have been totally and forever freed, or justified from sin (v. 7).
(Romans 6:7) (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.
In Christ I am completely cleared of all charges. In Christ I am forever freed from…
I carry the burden of sin in my members. I am engaged in a warfare with sin every day. And sin mars, pollutes, and defiles everything I think, say, or do. But, blessed be God, I shall never have the charge of sin laid against me (Romans 4:8)! My God will never treat me any the less graciously because of sin!
And I am confident that if I am dead with Christ I shall live with him forever (vv. 8-10).
(Romans 6:8-10) (8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. (10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” — “He that believeth on Me,” the Son of God declares, “shall never die.” — “They shall never perish!”
How can we be so dogmatic about this and declare that there is no possibility of death and condemnation for the believer? The answer is really simple. — Christ is our Life! We are one with him. And we know that…
“Near, so very near to God,
Nearer I cannot be,
For in the Person of His Son,
I am as near as He!”
This is the confidence set forth in believer’s baptism. — “I’m saved by the blood of the crucified One!”
Now, briefly, look at verse 11. Here is A CONCLUSION STRESSED. This is the thing I want you to take home with you. If you are a believer, if you trust Christ, this is God’s Word to you. To you who are trust his darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, this is God’s word to you. In consequence of your relation to Christ…
(Romans 6:11) (11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I reckon that God’s reckoning is right!
[i] Danville — Sunday Morning Bible Class — September 20, 2015
Grace Baptist Church — Dingess, WV — (09/18/15)
Reading: Zechariah 3:1-10 & Ephesians 4:17-5:20