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July 20, 2021 12:01 am
Baptism is much more than being washed with water. Today, Sinclair Ferguson discusses how this sacrament signifies our death to sin in union with Christ and our participation in His resurrection life.
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What did the apostle Paul mean when he talked about being baptized into Christ. He says it, it's not possible logically to receive Jesus Christ to be united to Jesus Christ. It's been logical to think that if you been baptized into his righteousness, you would live as though you were still dominated by the world of sinfulness truly, you were baptized as a baby or later in life. It's about for more than getting sprinkled with were immersed in water were going to learn today and Renewing Your Mind through baptism signifies something rich and deeply meaningful about your relationship with Jesus and how you are united to us jointly in her teaching fellow, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson to find out more wow is not reached the halfway point in the series of studies on young with our Lord Jesus Christ on perhaps this is a good place to remind ourselves what we are seeking to do a series of studies we saw a right to the very beginning.
The apostle Paul uses this expression in Christ very frequently.
Indeed, he uses that expression month in the Lord unfairly and select expression somewhere over 160 times, which means somewhere on average every few verses the apostle Paul will speak about being in Christ on yet I wonder if you agree with me when I say I think many Christians have read the Bible for many years on the number noticed how important buses. But when you do notice but it's so pervasive, especially in the apostle Paul. Then once you notice that you can't avoid noticing it every time you read one of his letters.
It was so important to him and we saw just by looking at his letter to the Ephesians but the whole of Ephesians depends, in a sense on this teaching, but Christian believers are united to Christ and then we went on to explore this a little farther. How did Paul discover less and I suggested he actually got the first real hint of it consciously on the Damascus road when having persecuted Stephen on prosecuting other Christians. The Lord Jesus said why are you persecuting me it was as though Jesus was telling him I do not count myself to be separated from my people because my people are united to me and then we went on to see the dimensions of this union. It is rooted in a town that day it comes to fruition in Christ union with some incarnation on then it becomes personal when we believe into the apostle Paul uses this preposition not just on the Lord Jesus, although he does but into we believe into the Lord Jesus Christ of the whole of history in a sense is the story of those who have been in the first item on those who by grace come to be in the last Adam. The Lord Jesus Christ select in him a resurrected Savior would become part of the new creation. We are reconciled to God. We are new creatures in Christ.
But more than about. It's as though we have stepped onto a new world. We might think of Jesus coming out of the tomb on the resurrection monitoring and saying that's one small step for man, but a giant leap for those who are united to that one man Jesus Christ and all of the lessons we saw comes to us in the kind of nutshell verse Galatians chapter 2 verse 20. I've been crucified with Christ.
Yet I live but is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, but simply by the use of these several prepositions. The apostle Paul in a nutshell is telling us how wonderful it is to be somebody who knows he or she is united to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is simply introductory and in fact when we come to the end of our studies. I think we will feel this is still simply introductory to a great, great topic in the New Testament, but I want in the next few sessions for us to focus down on what I think are probably the two major passages that help us in our thinking about union with Christ.
The first of these is in Romans chapter 6 verses one through 14 Romans chapter 6 verses one through 14. This is an immensely important passage. I think all of us are Christian believers need to have a working knowledge of Romans 61 through 14, because it's of such pastoral significance to others. That said, it's not the easiest chapter in the Bible to understand and remember many years ago reading about a man coming into the vestry of Westminster Chapel in London where Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones was the minister for so many years undoubtedly the greatest preacher in the United Kingdom in my lifetime, and he said to Dr. Lloyd Jones when you going to start a serious Romans about Lloyd Jones who was an immensely able man said to him I will begin when I can understand. Romans six I will begin when I can understand. Romans six and that's what we need to do. We need at least to make a beginning to understanding it, because it contains a major key to Paul's teaching on union with the Lord Jesus Christ. On first thing I want you to notice is that he introduces the topic by speaking about baptism.
Chapter 6 verse three. Don't you know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.
It's almost as though he is saying don't you understand what it means to be baptized to put out another language you understand what it actually means to be a Christian.
Don't you understand what it actually means to be a Christian on the rest of the passage is an exposition of union with Christ. It's as though he is saying to us if you want to understand who and what you ought as a Christian you absolutely need to have some sense of the privilege of being united to the Lord Jesus Christ know you remember how this chapter begins, what shall we say then that is what shall we say to what I've just sent a letter on we were looking at Romans 512 to 21 which finishes in this, that a dramatic way.
Adam brings in certain Christ brings in righteousness, Adam brings in the fall. Christ brings in salvation on Paul makes this dating statement. He says send Ray into – now grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life.
But the amazing thing is this where sin abounded, grace is abundant. All the more where sin abounds grace superabundance and you can almost imagine the cynical man in the back row listening to Paul preach, saying I have a question what you're saying implies if the more certain the more grace than the more we soon the more God will display his grace. So why should we not keep on sinning so that grace may support about and this is the very question he asks in verse one.
Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound, I want us to plot our way through the manner in which the apostle Paul answers that question. You can see why it arises, the more certain the more grace our goal we keep on sending, because that will lead God to display more grace. In fact Paul was accused of two chambers. They actually refers to the Celeron in chapter 3 of verse eight he speaks about people saying that this was the kind of thing. He was teaching that we could ignore all regions and essentially live to our own pleasure. That was how people found him preach the freeness of the grace of God to sinners. Interestingly, it is one of the accusations that was also brought against the reformers, Martin Luther and John Calvin. The other reformers. This was how old that from across the divide. If you teach free grace in Jesus Christ. Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. People bowl to cut and then will go on to live anywhere they please, and it was really assigned to these little farmers those who are accusing us of lists do not really understand the gospel.
This is not the first time this accusation is been leveled against gospel teaching. It was leveled against gospel teaching in the New Testament and in a sense that for it is proof positive that the gospel we preach is the gospel of the new testament levels. Paul's answer, Paul's answer is this. Don't you understand what it means to be baptized. Don't you understand that when our Lord Jesus was baptized in the Jordan as a symbol of his baptism on the cross of Calvary photos. He was baptized into arson so that when we are baptized into Jesus Christ.
We are baptized into his righteousness. He says it, it's not possible logically to receive Jesus Christ to be united to Jesus Christ. It's been logical to think that if you been baptized into his righteousness, you would live as though you were still dominated by the world of sinfulness, but he reasons this out with great care and I want us first of all to notice because I think it may be helpful. Notice the roadmap. He is using as he works his way through this teaching he begins. First of all, at the level of emotion and having expressed his emotional response. He then goes on to give a theological explanation and will look at these two things in this session, then he goes on in verses six through 10 to provide a doctrinal exposition and then in verse 11, he brings home to us and implication before finally, in verses 12 to 14, providing us with his exhortation. So if you like rhyming headings regarding motion explanation exposition implication and exultation.
First of all the emotion fun. I want us to pause on this just for a minute, what shall we say then are we to continue in sin that grace may abound note the English standard version has a perfectly proper translation of Paul's response, but the old King James version of the much more vigorous expression burden to those of you who are old enough to process 1611. Translation, God forbid, a new consensus that you can sense the command of emotion.
No notice Paul's response here is not what we would call a doctrinal response. At this point he is not saying let me give you a theological explanation why we don't do this.
This is his gut reaction unless a very significant thing.
We are properly taught that we don't live our Christian lives on the basis of our emotions.
We are properly taught that renewal comes not by a change in our emotions, but a change in our understanding but we mustn't forget that when Paul says that through the renewing of our minds with our lives are transformed in under speaking about the transformation of our brain is not just about the clarification of our thinking that would be an enormous mistake to make and it would actually, in most cases justly deprived. I understand Paul is speaking about the way in which the gospel so penetrates our lives, but to begins to transform our emotions on this a very important thing in our day is an important thing for us if we are parents of youngsters drawing up actually in this information age is very characteristic of younger people to have their knowledge base huge Butler emotional baseball unfair left to be a disconnect between the extent to which they've growing in knowledge of the extent to which they've drawn as people extent to which their emotional response to life matches using same can be true in our Christian lives and what we have here is a man who, after these years in which the gospel has penetrated his life is actually affected his emotions in a way we've always urged Christians to think.
Don't wait but Paul is needing to think. The thinking of the truth of the gospel is so affected every fiber of reason being that he instinctively recoils from this. I wonder if any of you remember the wonderful thing that CH Spurgeon said about John Bunyan that if you pricked him anywhere. He would flow between if you pricked him anywhere. He would flow between and this is what the gospel does to us that not only clarifies our thinking. It touches us very deeply into into our emotions and this is the explanation for the way in which this X postulation might be the right one. But let me just call it emotion.
Paul's emotional life has been cleansed and transformed by the power of the gospel because he has a renewed mind and that's why he gives this explanation in verses 3 to 5. Of course we don't go on sinning, but grace may abound, don't you know you see that is the emotional response but the emotional responses been created by his understanding of the gospel and he appeals to the Roman several times in this passage listen to you in verse three.
Don't you know later on in verse six we know later on in verse 16. Don't you know again is because of our understanding of the gospel without emotional life is transform Paul is using the illustration of baptism is an Christian syndrome don't even understand your baptism actually is a very good question. Yes, many people were so many of your baptism. Either they would say well it was done to me when I was a baby only would say things like while I followed Jesus into the waters of baptism. I professed my faith of such and such a service and what is missing in both cases is what we're talking about what we did or what our parents did not talking at all about what baptism did what baptism said and pulled the sink don't do hope you never have what your baptism said about you baptism in the New Testament, according to Jesus in Matthew 28. Baptism is a naming ceremony were baptized into the name were taken out of the name we had and when I placed into the family of God. We are given this name.
This is who you are. Baptism was telling us that what we receive in Jesus Christ is not only the forgiveness of our sins but union with him so he says don't you understand that all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death and we were buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised by the glory of the father soul to we might walk in newness of life.
So we look at baptism we see the baptism of others and we are encouraged by sector labor catechisms of our church as we watch the baptism of others to hear the gospel being preached in visible signs to others reminding us who we are.
We are those who have died in the death of Christ to the dominion of sin and being raised in the resurrection of Christ by the power of God, to walk in newness of life that who you are and everything that Paul goes on to say, although he he puts all of this under the microscope everything but he goes on to say and essentially be summed up like this.
If not who you are than live like that. If that is who you. You need to know who you are is interesting how there are some emphases in the gospel but just seem especially appropriate at certain times of history that all was relevant, sometimes we seem to be especially relevant in here were living in a day.
Think of a think of a teenager who is come to faith in Jesus Christ and that in the midst of all the pressures of all the voices the tarps surrounding them and calling them in the midst of all moral and intellectual confusion about times when young people. As we noted the other day and being encouraged to decide who they are to be able to say I know who I because how do you know who you are so the external expression of it as I was baptized into union and communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. No, Paul uses a fairly striking expression in this context, and perhaps this is something that you know what shall we say then are we to continue in sin that grace may abound by no means how can we include died to sin, but just that phrase. We who we who the relative pronoun. Paul uses here is not the ordinary relative to another. It's a special form of it.
We might be like kind of better translated just without an understanding how can we, who are the kind of people.
How can we who belong to the category of people who are defined as those who died to sin one living in seven is not is not just thinking about you as an individual.
How can I how can I who died to sin go on Livingston, but how can I who who belongs to a category of people who died to sin go on living in any longer. We try and illustrate this from personal experience, many years ago, the president of the seminary in which I taught Mrs. many years ago passed me on the seminary campus and very casually said to me, or have you become an American citizen yet I let me be absolutely clear. It is not an offense for the Scottish person to become an American citizen. It is not an offense for a Welsh person of a very close friend was Welsh, who is not an American citizen. It is not a sinful of you not become an American citizen, a certain no exit.
He said why not on my instinctive response was, you can guess what it was. While I'm Scottish I mean no offense to those of you who are Americans but to if somebody said to you if you become an Italian citizen yet if you lived in Italy fairly well. It would have the same become an Italian citizen know I'm I'm an American. That's the language Paul is using here. It's what I in Jesus Christ. I'm someone who is died to sin. So how could I possibly contemplate going on to live in certain you see how deep an instinct that was in me.
Actually, I do need to think about it just came out probably shouldn't have, I would hire Scott so why would you who have died to sin ever think of going on. Confusion knighted to the barn. Jesus Christ is a helpful illustration of our union with Christ. It means having a new identity with new loves and desires and reorient our entire worldview in a heavenward direction is one of the vital lessons we learned today from Liggett or teaching fellow, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. There is so much to appreciate about this doctrine. One thing that stands out for me is that if we are in Christ, we are secure, God's not going to let us go. Dr. Ferguson explains all of this in his 12 part DVD series union with Christ, and we be glad to send it to you for your donation of any amount to look at your ministries. There are couple of ways you can reach us. What is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can simply call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 are having a difficult time finding trustworthy Bible teaching. We invite you to listen to Reffner that solicitor ministries 24 hour online radio station Renewing Your Mind is featured several times during the day but you'll also hear from John MacArthur, Alister bag, and other trusted pastors and teachers, you can listen when you go to Reffner net.FM or when you download the free Reffner net app to your phone or tablet will over the past couple of days we've learned so much about what our union with Christ means and and why it matters. We hope you'll join us again tomorrow as Dr. Ferguson points out yet another staggering application of this doctrine out old self was crucified with Christ and not about the body under the dominion of sin might be released from the dominion that might no longer be fruitful soil from the reign of sin and the result is that I'm no longer enslaved to sin. That's tomorrow. Here on Renewing Your Mind