Striving for the newness of life in Christ Jesus

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?

3Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

4We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.

5For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection;

6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin;

7for he that hath died is justified from sin.

8But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him;

9knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him.

10For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:1-11 (American Standard Version-public domain)

There you have it; in 11 verses, the apostle Paul lays out the basic understanding of our identification with Christ and introduces the topic of being “in Christ Jesus” . Please note that I have decided to use the American Standard Version as my text from here on out in this study. I have decided this because of its accuracy and because it is “public domain” .

The beginning point in understanding our identification with Christ is found in verse 3 where it says that we who were baptized INTO CHRIST JESUS, were baptized into His death. The key to understanding this verse is in the Greek preposition eis, which is translated “into” . The word eis denotes motion to or unto an object with the purpose of reaching or touching it and is the opposite of ek which denotes “out from” .

We who have been baptized INTO Christ Jesus have been baptized INTO His death. Before we can walk in the newness of life mentioned in verse 4, we must be fully immersed into the death of Christ meaning we become dead to sin. The entire subject of our identification with Christ revolves around the great truth that SPIRITUALLY, our sins were crucified and buried with Christ, meaning we were buried with Jesus through baptism unto death. But, to be “in Christ Jesus” , we must MENTALLY renew our minds to become outwardly what we already are spiritually.

As I read over what I just wrote, I am struck by how difficult it is to try and communicate this subject yet how awesome it is if we can actually grasp it in our minds. Identification with Christ and abiding “in Christ Jesus” are not topics that a believer can comprehend by merely hearing the words spoken or reading the words that are written. The concept and reality presented in these topics take hard work mentally along with diligent prayer that the Holy Spirit guide us into an understanding.

Words such as “baptized” must be studied and understood in their full scope and not merely passed off as an outward ceremony concerning water. Water baptism is only the beginning of understanding what this great concept involves in Paul's epistles. In fact, unless we can grasp what it means to be baptized into Christ Jesus and into His death, it is impossible to ever live and walk in newness of life.

I keep mentioning “newness of life” because I believe that should be the reason we study the Word of God and renew our minds to what it says. In so doing this, we succeed in putting of the old nature which was crucified with Christ and putting on the new man which allows us to walk in newness of life. Without an understanding of all these things, a believer will inevitably fall into legalism or return to a life of sin, neither of which God wants and both of which nullify what Christ Jesus did for them.