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3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
3. Know ye not, etc. What he intimated in the last verse — that Christ destroys sin in his people, he proves here by mentioning the effect of baptism, by which we are initiated into his faith; for it is beyond any question, that we put on Christ in baptism, and that we are baptized for this end — that we may be one with him. But Paul takes up another principle — that we are then really united to the body of Christ, when his death brings forth in us its fruit; yea, he teaches us, that this fellowship as to death is what is to be mainly regarded in baptism; for not washing alone is set forth in it, but also the putting to death and the dying of the old man. It is hence evident, that when we become partakers of the grace of Christ, immediately the efficacy of his death appears. But the benefit of this fellowship as to the death of Christ is described in what follows. 184184 “Baptized into (εἰς) Christ,” “baptized into (εἰς) Moses,” 1 Corinthians 10:2, “baptized into (εἰς) one body,” 1 Corinthians 12:13, are all the same forms of expression, and must mean, that by the rite of baptism a professed union is made, and, in the two first instances, a submission to the authority exercised is avowed. By “baptized into his death,” we are to understand, “baptized,” in order to die with him, or to die as he died; not that the death is the same; for it is a like death, as it is expressed in Romans 6:5, as the resurrection is a like resurrection. His death was natural, ours is spiritual; the same difference holds as to the resurrection. It is the likeness that is throughout to be regarded; and this is the key to the whole passage. It is true, that through the efficacy of Christ’s death alone the death of his people takes place, and through the operation of his Spirit; but to teach this is not the design of the Apostle here; his object seems to be merely to show that a change takes place in every true Christian, symbolized by baptism, and that this change bears a likeness to the death and resurrection of our Savior. He speaks of baptism here not merely as a symbol, but as including what it symbolizes; as he does in a similar passage, Colossians 2:11, 12, where he refers to this change, first under the symbol of circumcision, and then of baptism; which clearly proves that the same thing is signified by both. — Ed.
4. We have then been buried with him, etc. He now begins to indicate the object of our having been baptized into the death of Christ, though he does not yet completely unfold it; and the object is — that we, being dead to ourselves, may become new creatures. He rightly makes a transition from a fellowship in death to a fellowship in life; for these two things are connected together by an indissoluble knot — that the old man is destroyed by the death of Christ, and that his resurrection brings righteousness, and renders us new creatures. And surely, since Christ has been given to us for life, to what purpose is it that we die with him except that we may rise to a better life? And hence for no other reason does he slay what is mortal in us, but that he may give us life again.
Let us know, that the Apostle does not simply exhort us to imitate Christ, as though he had said that the death of Christ is a pattern which all Christians are to follow; for no doubt he ascends higher, as he announces a doctrine, with which he connects, as it is evident, an exhortation; and his doctrine is this — that the death of Christ is efficacious to destroy and demolish the depravity of our flesh, and his resurrection, to effect the
renovation of a better nature, and that by baptism we are admitted into a participation of this grace. This foundation being laid, Christians may very suitably be exhorted to strive to respond to their calling. Farther, it is not to the point to say, that this power is not apparent in all the baptized; for Paul, according to his usual manner, where he speaks of the faithful, connects the reality and the effect with the outward sign; for we know that whatever the Lord offers by the visible
symbol is confirmed and ratified by their faith. In short, he teaches what is the real character of baptism when rightly received. So he testifies to the Galatians, that all who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27.) Thus indeed must we speak, as long as the institution of the Lord and the faith of the godly unite together; for we never have naked and empty symbols, except when our
ingratitude and wickedness hinder the working of divine beneficence.
That the mode of baptism, immersion, is intimated by “buried,” has been thought by most, by Chrysostom, Augustine, Hammond, Pareus, Mede, Grotius, Doddridge, Chalmers, and others; while some, such
as Scott, Stuart, and Hodge, do not consider this as necessarily intended, the word “buried” having been adopted to express more fully what is meant by being “dead,” and there being another word, “planted,” used to convey the same idea, which cannot be applied to the rite of baptism.
“Buried with him,” means buried like him, or in like manner; and so “crucified with him,” in Romans 6:6, is the same: συν prefixed to verbs, has clearly this meaning. See Romans 8:17; Colossians 3:1; 2 Timothy 2:11. “Into death” is not to be connected with “planted,” but with “baptism,” it was “a baptism into death,’ that is, which represented death, even death unto sin. — Ed.
By the glory of the Father, that is, by that illustrious power by which he exhibited himself as really glorious, and as it were manifested the greatness of his glory. Thus often is the power of God, which was exercised in the resurrection of Christ, set forth in Scripture in sublime terms, and not without reason; for it is of great importance, that by so explicit a record of the ineffable power of God, not only faith in the last resurrection, which far exceeds the perception of the flesh, but also as to other benefits which we receive from the resurrection of Christ, should be highly commended to us. 186186 Beza takes διὰ, by, before “glory,” in the sense of εἰς, to, “to the glory of the Father;” but this is unusual. It seems to be a metonymy, the effect for the cause: it was done by power which manifested and redounded to the glory of God. The word “glory, δόξα, is used for power in John 11:40. The Hebrew word, עוז strength, power, is sometimes rendered δόξα by the Septuagint; see Psalm 68:34; Isaiah 12:2; 45:24. God’s power is often expressly mentioned in connection with the resurrection; See 1 Corinthians 6:14, 2 Corinthians 13:4; Colossians 1:11. — Ed.