Baptized Into Christ
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
The Bible tells us that all spiritual blessings are "in Christ." What exactly does that mean? The phrase "in Christ" tells us where the spiritual blessings are. To be "in Christ" is the same as being in His spiritual body, which is the church or the kingdom of heaven. It is safe to say that if we are not "in Christ," we cannot benefit from God's spiritual blessings. If we desire the spiritual blessings of God, we must determine how to get "in Christ" to obtain those spiritual blessings.
We can determine from what Paul wrote to the Ephesians and the Galatians that the body of Christ is the same as the church of Christ (the church that belongs to Christ).
Ephesians 1:22,23 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Colossians 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
So all we have to do is go to church, and we are "in Christ?" Not exactly, no. We don't "go to church." That is a phrase many people misuse pretty frequently, but it is inaccurate terminology. We go to the church building where the church (the body of Christ) can worship God and have fellowship with one another. We go to worship service at the church building. We go to Bible class at the church building. The church assembles at the church building. The word "church" is translated from the Greek word "ekklesia," representing those called out of the world and into Christ. To be called out is to be saved. Thus, to be in Christ, we want to be in the ekklesia, or as we translate it, the church. The church (those representing the saved - Christians) meet at the church building. If we are a Christian, we are already in the church, the body, and Christ. Emphasizing again, from the Scriptures above, we can understand that the three phrases, in Christ, in the body, and in the church, all mean the same thing. It is a spiritual blessing to be saved and in Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
The question is, how do we get "in Christ?" How do we get in the church? How do we get in the body? All of these are the same; if we are in one, we are in the other. We can interchange the words and phrases because they are all the same. Even if we are not saved (not a Christian), we can still go to the church building to learn and study with the church, although we will not be part of the spiritual body because we are not in Christ. Again, being in the church building does not put us in Christ, the body, and the church.
The Bible teaches us that the ONLY way to get into Christ is to be "baptized into Christ." We are baptized into His body, His church, to become a Christian and benefit from the spiritual blessings in Christ.
These facts from the Bible confirm the need to be baptized to be saved, despite those claiming there is no need to be baptized to be saved. We cannot enter into the body of Christ by praying the sinner's prayer or by faith only, which the Bible does not teach. Let's consider more of what the Bible tells us about being baptized into Christ. We will begin with what Paul wrote a the end of Romans chapter 5 and move into chapter 6.
Romans 5:20,21 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1-3 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Paul explains that the existence of sin called out the grace of God in forgiveness (forgiveness is by the grace of God). As sin increases, God's grace increases more. Paul suggests that some might believe that we should continue sin and not worry about it because God's grace will increase even more. Of course, he proclaims, "Certainly not!" ("God forbid!" in the KJV.)
Then he asked them why would the ones who "died to sin" continue to live in it. The Greek manuscripts actually read "we who died to sin." This phrase is past tense and refers to something that has already taken place to cause our salvation, not something that we should do as a result of our salvation. Therefore, we learn that the Christian life begins when we die to sin. But how did we die to sin? How did we become saved?
Paul irrefutably tells us how we "died to sin." Paul writes, "do you not know" (do you not realize), "that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" There is no doubt that Paul refers to the fact that our dying to sin is ultimately a result of our being baptized into Christ. We "die to sin" when we are baptized into Christ. Once we are baptized into Christ, we are then part of the body, the church; the saved that make up the church. Paul died to sin, having them washed away through baptism, as we learn in his story of salvation in Acts chapter 22.
Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Paul teaches more about how we get "in Christ" in the following passage.
Galatians 3:26,27 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
He explains how we are buried with Christ through baptism and arise from the water a new creature.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Colossians 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.Let's dig a bit deeper into what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 6.
Romans 6:4-8 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Consider "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death," where "were buried" indicates past tense. This also confirms something we do to cause us to be saved, not something we do AFTER we are saved, as some claim of baptism.
In a similar manner that Christ was buried and raised, we are buried by going down into the water and raised by coming up out of the water. Just as "Christ was raised from the dead" ... "we also should walk in newness of life." We are also "united together in the likeness of His death" and "in the likeness of His resurrection" by being "crucified with Him" through baptism.
If we are not buried and raised up in baptism in the same manner that Jesus was buried and raised up from the grave, we cannot be in the likeness of Him and walk in newness of life. Paul explains that baptism is causing us to be in the likeness of Him and walk in newness of life. We must be baptized to walk in that "newness of life." Paul further explains that "our old man was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with." You see... our body of sin is done away with, and our sins washed away through baptism.
Paul did not write that faith only, grace only, the sinner's prayer, or anything else, is what forgives us of our sins and puts us in Christ. He confirms that baptism puts us in Christ, in the church.
1 Corinthians 12:12,13 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
If we are not "in Christ," we cannot benefit from the spiritual blessing of salvation. This spiritual blessing is obtained by being baptized into Christ. If you have not been baptized into Christ, see How To Become A Christian.
God bless you!