Raised Up Together with Him, Baptism by Means of the Spirit
Ephesians 2:5–6; Romans 6:3–6
Ephesians Series #051
December 1, 2019
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, it’s so good to be here this morning to be able to reflect upon Your glory, to reflect upon all that You’ve provided for us, to be reminded of what has been given to us in our salvation, to have the opportunity to probe into the meaning and the significance of what the Apostle Paul records here in these center verses in this section of Ephesians 2:1–10, to learn more about what it means that we have been made alive together with Him, to understand what it means that we have been raised together with Him and that we are seated together with Him in the heavenlies.
“Father, we pray that You would help us to understand, put Scripture together with other Scripture, and to focus upon all that this implies for us as believers in this Church Age, and that it may transform our thinking, have a greater understanding of who we are as individuals, that we are truly spiritual royalty united with Christ in a remarkable venture in this Church Age.”
“And we pray this in His name, amen.”
Open your Bibles with me today to Ephesians 2, and we’re going to look at this next phrase when Paul talks about the fact that we are raised together with Him. What exactly does that mean?
I think a lot of people when they read that, they get a surface understanding that that has something to do with an identification with Christ in His resurrection, but it is so much more than that. As Paul uses these phrases, they’re almost like shorthand. Each one of these phrases brings together just a wealth of other teachings in the Scripture.
When we put this together, the one thing that especially in the next three or four weeks as we go through what it means to be raised together with Him and seated together with Him, I hope it will give us all a greater appreciation for the uniqueness of this Church Age. That this is unlike any other age in history. That what you have, what I have, what we have together as believers in Christ in this Church Age, the spiritual life that is been given to us, and how this fits within God’s plan for the ages is phenomenal. And very little is really brought out on this.
As I read through commentaries and read through theologies that talk about this, if you read a lot and you study a lot, and you really probe the Scriptures, then there’s a lot to discover here. But unfortunately, very few people seem to do that and very little seems to be brought about this.
And this idea of being raised up together with Him, when we look at the vocabulary that’s used here in Ephesians 2, it directly connects back to Romans 6:3–6, and it brings to mind everything that Paul says in that whole chapter related to the significance of the baptism by the Holy Spirit for each and every believer, and so we’re going to spend the first half of the morning looking at Ephesians and pulling that together, and then going over to Romans 6 and seeing how that fleshes out this one phrase that we see here, “being raised up together with Him.”
So our key passage, the centerpiece, it’s the New American Standard breaks it as a paragraph, which is not correct. It’s all one sentence from Ephesians 2:1–10, and this is the subject of the sentence. What goes before is merely a background, understanding that we were born dead in our trespasses and sins, and then in the center of the section we’re given the grammatical subject, the main topic of these 10 verses, that Ephesians 2:4, “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Ephesians 2:5, “even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins—or you could translate that ‘even though we were dead in our trespasses’—
made us alive together—with Him—with Christ.”
That’s what we looked at last time, so we will review that briefly, and then the next phrase now, Ephesians 2:5b, “(by grace you have been saved).
And then Ephesians 2:6, “and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
So today we will just work through that next phrase “being raised up together with Christ.”
So in the structure of Ephesians 2:1–10, the first part explains the problem, what we were before we were saved, that we were dead in our trespasses and sins. And when he says this, he says,
Ephesians 2:1–2, “And you who were dead in your trespasses and sins, that ‘you’ there, as I pointed out, focuses on ‘you, the Ephesians as representative of Gentiles’— you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.”
Then he says in Ephesians 2:3, “among whom also we all once walked”—we, being the Jews.
So, the conclusion from Ephesians 2:1–3 is what Paul says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Gentiles have sinned, Jews have sinned, we’ve all sinned, we’re all born dead in our trespasses and sins.
The only hope, the only solution is that someone has to make us alive, and that is where Paul talks when he gets into Ephesians 2:4. That’s the solution. It’s described in Ephesians 2:4–9, and it is God’s love that is spoken of here as the cause “because of His great love with which He loved us.” That’s the ultimate cause of our salvation.
It is based upon God’s character. Mercy is the expression of God’s love in action. So it’s God’s love and mercy that is the basis for Him regenerating us or making us alive together with Him, and then raising us, and what exactly does that mean, and seating us, and that is all in Christ; and that is our new position, our legal position, our identity. It’s who we really are in Him.
Then we get down to Ephesians 2:10, the purpose is that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works.
As we look at Ephesians 2:5, we come to understand this centerpiece. We focused on the first part last week, that we are, “made alive together with Christ,” and our central passage on that that we looked at was in John 3, talking about regeneration.
One of the key verses is Titus 3:5 that it’s “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy …” Again and again, we will see in regeneration passages the emphasis is on God’s mercy, “according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
But John 3:1–16 we covered last time explaining what it is that Jesus came for. This focuses on a conversation between Jesus and one of the greatest teachers of the Torah in Jerusalem at that time, a man named Nicodemus. And Jesus cut to the chase and He said unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
So we saw all of Nicodemus’ questions about just exactly what this means, and after explaining that He’s talking about a spiritual birth, not a physical birth, we closed by looking at this great illustration that Jesus used from the Old Testament in Numbers 21.
The background in Numbers 21 is that the people have sinned against God, they’ve been rebellious, they’ve been disobedient, they’ve been grumbling and complaining, and so God sent discipline among them in the form of fiery serpents who were extremely poisonous and venomous, and those who were bitten almost immediately died. They lived for maybe a minute or two or three, it was extremely painful, and then they died.
So other people came to Moses in Numbers 21:7 and admitted their sin. They said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.”
Then Moses prayed for them, and the Lord gave him information on how to be relieved or delivered or saved from these venomous serpent bites.
So the Lord told him, Numbers 21 “make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole—it would be made out of bronze—set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten when he looks at it, shall live.”
So looking at that pole is another way of talking about faith. If they heard, “Look at the pole and you will be saved,” they had to either believe it or not believe it. If they believed it, they looked at the pole and they looked at the serpent, and so this is what we’re told in
Numbers 21:9, “So Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
This is a tremendous illustration of fate. There are all kinds of confusion that you run into out there, there are debates in some groups about just exactly what faith consists of, but it’s very simple here, and that is you understand what the object is and you look to that object, you look to Jesus, Jesus is the antitype, the picture, that His death is what is pictured in the serpent being put on a pole, and you look at the cross, and you look at the Cross as a metaphor for believing in what Jesus did on the cross, that He paid the penalty for sin.
In John 3:14–15 Jesus uses this analogy, and He said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
And that everlasting life that He talks about here in John 3:14–15, then in verse 16, must be understood contextually as that rebirth; that is, that rebirth that gives that eternal life.
John 5:21 is another passage where the Lord talks about or uses the same language of life, but it also is where He uses the keyword that we find for resurrection, which is a EGEIRO in Greek. We will look at that in a minute. But Jesus said, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them.”
That is the keyword we find throughout all of the gospel references to the resurrection of Christ. It is EGEIRO; He’s raised. When they said He arose, they use a form of that verb. So this is the same word or form of it that Paul uses in Ephesians 2:6 that we are raised up together. So this is a direct reference to the resurrection and our identification with Christ’s resurrection.
But what John says here is it is the Father who gives life, and the Son gives life to whom He will. Well, who does He will to give life to? Is this just arbitrary? Does He just go “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” and pick the ones He’s going to save? Not at all!
It’s clearly stated in passages like we just looked at in John 3:15, John 3:16, John 3:18, and John 3:36 that the issue is faith, that we are to believe in Christ. We look to Him on the Cross and His payment for our sin, and we trust in the sufficiency of His death on the Cross, and that by believing we have everlasting life.
This is what Ephesians 2:5 is talking about. We are given this life. We are made alive together with Him.
Now what’s interesting in each of these verbs that we find here, “being made alive together” or “raised together” and “seated together,” that they all begin with the Greek preposition put at the front, which just simply means “with.” So we’re made alive together with Him.
Now this word is only used one other time in the New Testament. It’s a word that Paul coined. The root means to be made alive, and then the “together” brings in the fact that it is for Jew and Gentile together. That’s the context. You were born dead in your trespasses and sins. We also once conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh, but now together we have life in Christ.
This word is used one other time in Colossians 2:13, which is the parallel passage. It states things almost the same way that Paul does in Ephesians 2. These two epistles were written very close to one another to recipients who lived in the same area.
In Colossians 2:13 Paul says, “And even when you were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” So we will look at that.
That’s another parallel term for sin. And the uncircumcision of your flesh is not talking about the physical circumcision, but he’s talking about not being spiritually circumcised, and we will talk about that in just a minute.
“And even when you were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him.”
Now what’s interesting here is that this has the same verb, which means to be made alive together, but then Paul repeats the preposition again. He repeats that preposition for emphasis. So he says, “You are made alive together with him”—WITH him. There is this emphasis there that comes together.
So we ought to ask the question, what does “with” mean?
It’s not like asking, what do you mean by “is?” And what does with mean, because “with” in English is an extremely ambiguous preposition. When we as native English speakers here, we can work our way through at least 10 different nuances of the word “with.” But when you use the word “with” in translating Scripture into English, you can get in a lot of trouble. We will see an example of that before we’re done this morning because it is ambiguous.
For example, some of us have heard this old saying before and there’s an element of humor to it. It turns on this misunderstanding of the definition of with: “Should fried chicken be eaten with the fingers or should the fingers be eaten separately?”
When somebody says, “Should fried chicken be eaten with the fingers?” If you just have that, then you’re thinking that the fingers are the instrument by which you eat. So there’s that instrumental sense of with. But the humor comes because you turn and shift the meaning in the second part where with has another sense of in association with or in accompaniment with. So when you use the word “with” you have to work your way through these different senses. And the Oxford English Dictionary lists 10 different senses for the word “with”.
If you translate something in the Greek with the word “with,” you have to work your way through these to see just exactly what it is, and sometimes it’s vague and ambiguous. We will see an example before we’re done of how it has given rise to some bad theology because of a misunderstanding of the English translation of the word “with.”
So we have the sense of means, i.e., with a fork. The fork is the means by which we eat something. You hit the ball with a racket or with a bat, and so the bat or the racket is the means you use for hitting the ball.
So instrumental is one meaning. Association is another meaning. We went to the ballgame with friends. You were in association with other people. So when we look at the passage that talks about being made alive together with Christ. That’s in association with Christ.
You have to be careful here because in the Greek this is using a dative construction, and you could technically translate that as instrumental or even location of being in Christ, but it’s pointing out a difference here. It is definitely emphasizing the accompaniment aspect. It’s association.
We are made alive together with Christ, and we are raised up together with Him, as the Colossians points out, which means that it’s supposed to get us to think about the fact that it is the power of God the Father, Who raised Christ from the dead, and that power that could raise Christ physically from the dead is the same power that gives us, who are spiritually dead, new life. And so just as God gave new physical life to Christ, He gives us new spiritual life. So we are made alive together with Christ.
Now since we’re in Colossians, looking at Colossians 2:13, because of where we’re going, we ought to take a moment and look at the verses that precede it, because they help us to understand what Paul is getting at in both epistles in terms of his emphasis on our association with Christ in our regeneration and in our being raised together with Him.
So we look back at a couple of verses from Colossians 2:13 to Colossians 2:11, “In Him.” Now we have the locative sense here. “In Christ,” that’s who we are, “in Christ.” That’s our identity. We’re placed in Christ.
Now here’s a test question: What is it that puts us into Christ? What identifies us with Christ? What do we call that doctrine? That is the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
Now we’re going to have to talk about that because there’s so much confusion today, and as I said, a large part of this confusion is due to the way in which English translators translated the prepositions. Some translated the same phrase with “by” and some translated the phrase with “with,” and the result was people thought there were two different baptisms, when in the Greek it’s all the exact same phrase, and so we have to look at that, because that’s the background.
Paul is talking about that same thing of baptism; that is, identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, that’s the baptism by the Holy Spirit. But here he uses the phrase “circumcision.” And so circumcision literally and physically is the root removal of the foreskin from the male sex organ.
That usually takes place automatically for many Americans, but in the ancient world, although some other cultures practiced circumcision, it was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, so that all Jewish males were to be circumcised on the 8th day, but it was designed to teach a spiritual truth. The physical circumcision didn’t do anything for anyone spiritually, but it was used in the Old Testament to talk about an even more significant spiritual truth, which was spiritual circumcision. It’s referred to as something that they should have understood at the time for their dispensation.
In Deuteronomy 10:16, where Moses addresses the Jews and he says, “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.”
Well, that seems like it’s a rather cryptic saying. It’s difficult for a lot of people to understand—“Well, what in the world does that mean?” And the idea is that the sin nature is represented by the flesh of the foreskin.
How many times in the New Testament do we have the word “flesh” to speak of the sin nature? That comes right out to the Old Testament. This is one of those reasons why we have to really understand the Old Testament or we just get really messed up when we get into the New Testament sometimes.
So in the Old Testament the idea was that what the circumcision pictured was what is reality in the New Testament in the baptism by the Spirit, where this sin nature’s positional or legal power over us is broken. It’s still there. We still have to deal with all of its nastiness and its attempts to control us, but after we are saved, we are no longer under that dominion of the sin nature.
Now they were taught this in the Old Testament, “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart” basically says remove the sin from your life. And that’s indicated by the last phrase “and be stiff-necked no longer.” That means to be rebellious, to be arrogant, and to reject God and go your own way.
There’s a promise in Deuteronomy 30 that when the Jews in the future turn back to God, then God will restore them from all the lands in the world, from all over the world where he has scattered them, and He will restore them to their land, the land God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The time in which God does that will be in the future when He establishes the Messianic Kingdom, and this is when all of the Old Testament covenants come to a full application when the Abrahamic Covenant is fulfilled and God gives all of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to the Jewish people. This will take place after the Second Coming of Christ. And the Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled, and Jesus, who is the Greater Son of David, a descendent of King David, and who qualifies to be King of Israel, will come and take His throne in Jerusalem as the Davidic King ruling over Israel. and the Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled, and most of all, the New Covenant will go into effect.
We are not under the New Covenant right now. For the New Covenant to be in effect, Israel has to be regathered in a regenerate state in the land, and that hasn’t happened yet. There is a regathering that is taking place, but they are not regenerate. So we are not in the New Covenant.
Also, when you examine all of the passages related to the New Covenant and the Davidic Covenant, you discover that when the New Covenant goes into effect, Jesus has to be on the Davidic throne. And though you have amillennialists, those who don’t believe in a literal kingdom, and you have some progressive dispensationalists who are really amillennialists in disguise in the way they handle their passages—and that’s not an observation that’s original with me. It was made by an amillennialist theologian—and what happens is that they believe that Jesus is on David’s throne in Heaven, but what they’ve done is to spiritualize a promise in the Old Testament, and instead of taking it literally.
As part of the New Covenant, God is going to circumcise the hearts of the people.
Now, this is similar to what we have going on today in the Church Age, but it’s different because it’s accompanied by some different features. And just because two things in Scripture are similar, doesn’t mean they’re the same. A lot of people make that mistake. Just because you have two things that are very similar, one may not have all of the same features as another.
We talked about that a little bit last week when we talked about regeneration. You have regeneration in the Old Testament, but it’s not accompanied by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or the baptism by the Holy Spirit, but when you talk about regeneration in the New Testament, it is often connected to baptism by the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit, and so theologians are often guilty of reading that back into the Old Testament.
The core of regeneration is the same in every dispensation, but in each dispensation, there are secondary features of regeneration that differ, and in the Millennial Kingdom under the New Covenant, one of those features is this circumcision of the heart, Deuteronomy 30:6, “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”
Now that’s not going on today is it? That will take place only after Jesus returns and establishes His Kingdom.
So when we talk about being made alive together with Christ, that is a key phrase for our regeneration.
Then we have this last phrase in Ephesians 2:5 where Paul makes this tremendous statement. He just breaks out with this statement as he contemplates the reality of our grace-based regeneration, and he says, “by grace you have been saved.”
Now he states it here with no further explanation, but he will come back to it, pick this phrase up again when we get down to Ephesian 2:8, and then he will explain it more fully.
But just to understand it, it’s a distinctive construction in the Greek, which gives us tremendous confidence in our salvation. That we have a salvation that is complete and finished when we trust in Christ, and it can’t be lost. For what Paul says here, he starts and he says, “for by grace you have been saved.”
Now in the Greek, it’s a combination of a finite verb, which would be translated as a present tense “are,” and a participle that’s in the perfect tense. And for those who look at Greek or study Greek, this is what’s called a periphrastic participle. It’s when a participle is combined with the helping “to be” verb, and it’s emphasizing what you are now, the present reality of a past completed action.
Whenever you see a perfect tense it always, always, always describes a past completed action. And when you add this present tense verb to it, it’s emphasizing the present results of a past completed action. And so when he says “by grace you are saved,” he knows without a shadow of a doubt because they trusted in Christ that they are saved today and will be saved for eternity.
In fact, this shows the idea that you can lose your salvation is completely bogus. It indicates a poor view of sin and a poor view of regeneration, because regeneration is so profound and so complex that when we trust in Christ and we are made alive together with Him, if we were to commit some sin that we could lose our salvation, God would have to kill us spiritually again, and then we would have to go through this process again, and it’s just so bogus because it reflects such a poor, limited, anemic view of what salvation is all about.
Paul could not say, “You are saved, you’ve been saved in the past, and that salvation the past is going to continue” unless he knew that none of them would ever, ever commit a sin.
A couple of weeks ago there was a cartoon, I like looking at the Babylon Bee. If you haven’t looked at it, it’s a satirical Christian website, and they had this great satire of a news article that Christian Billy Jones got on the freeway today and lost his salvation in the first 20 seconds. Any of us who fought Houston traffic or LA traffic or anything else know the reality of that, that it’s very difficult sometimes to maintain your fellowship with God while you are driving in Houston traffic. And if we could lose our salvation, we would all be destined for the Lake of Fire. We would never get past it.
So just the language here emphasizes the reality of eternal security.
So he makes this abrupt exclamation here, and then he goes back to what he’s talking about. He says in verse 6, “and raised us up together.”
Now that’s all I’m going to talk about. What does that mean? What’s the emphasis here on being raised up together?
The verb that is used here is SUNEGEIRO. It has that three-letter prefix at the beginning, SUN, which is the Greek preposition “with,” so he coins this word. It’s the same prefix that we saw in “being made alive together with Him.” So “raised us up with Him.” It’s left out of the New King James. “And raised us up together with Him.” So this is related to the main root verb of EGEIRO.
Now as I said earlier, the word EGEIRO is used as the primary verb to explain the resurrection. It’s used over in Colossians 2:11, the verse we just looked at in relation to the “being circumcised with the circumcision made without hands—that’s talking about a spiritual circumcision—by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh.—that’s the breaking of the power of the sin nature. We will see that developed also in Romans 6 in just a minute—by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.”
So that verse is talking about the fact that that spiritual circumcision mentioned back in Deuteronomy is fulfilled in Christ and in the believer’s position in Christ.
And then he says that this is done, Colossians 2:12, “by being buried with Him in baptism in which also you were raised with Him.” “Raised with Him” is that verb EGEIRO.
Now this is important. What does it mean “by baptism” here? For a lot of Christians, as soon as they see the word “baptism,” they immediately think of water baptism. We will run into this again when we get into Romans 6:3, but actually there are a number of different baptisms in the New Testament and only three of them involve water. John, the Baptist, baptized by means of water. Jesus’ unique baptism was by means of water when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and believers’ baptism is a baptism by water, but it is a physical picture of a spiritual reality, and we will get into that in just a minute.
But this word “raised” teaches us about the resurrection. We are raised with Him. That is related to His resurrection— We’re “raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
So the first “raised” here, we were raised with Him, is a passive voice. We receive the action of being raised with Him. It’s not something we do. It is something God does, which is what is emphasized in the next phrase, “the working of God, who raised Him—that is, Jesus—from the dead.”
So, God the Father is the One who raises us with Christ through faith in Him.
This word is the word that is used in almost all of the resurrection passages in the Gospels.
Matthew 28:6–7 are up here as an example, where the angel tells Mary, “for is not here, for He is risen as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay, and go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen—EGEIRO—from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
So you have all of these other verses: Mark 16:6, 14; Luke 24:6, 34; and then Jesus predicting that if you tear down this Temple I will raise it up again in John 2:19–22. He is the one who speaks of God raising Him in John 5:21, and then the resurrection passage in John 21:14. Also references to it in a number of places in Acts, and then in Romans 4:24–25, and in Romans 6:4.
So let’s turn in our Bibles to Romans 6. Romans 6 is telling us about a unique event, a distinctive event for the Church Age. It never happened before. For if baptism is identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection when Christ had not yet come, there could be no identification with His death, burial, and resurrection. The baptism by the Holy Spirit first occurred on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Now Paul is emphasizing the significance of this baptism in Romans 6:3 and following. He’s doing it to answer the question, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?”
So what he is saying is there are those who are going to use grace as an excuse for sinning, and he responds and says, may it never be—“Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
The “we” here are Christians, and what he is saying is that part of our identity in Christ is that we have died to sin.
Now that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to sin anymore. There are some people who teach perfectionism, but they have a very low view of sin, and they usually have three, four, five different sins, and they think they’ve never committed those in years, so they haven’t sinned. Of course, they ignore the fact that they’re being arrogant when they say that.
So what does it mean to die to sin? We’ve seen that death in the Scripture has not the idea of a cessation of existence but separation. And so what he is going to explain is that spiritually a transaction took place. That was something you didn’t experience. You didn’t feel any different when it happened, you didn’t have any kind of unnecessary feeling or response or you didn’t look any different. nobody said anything, you didn’t suddenly get well from being sick. If you had a hangover, you suddenly don’t lose your hangover. If you’re high on something, you’re still going to be high on whatever you’re on. People just have all kinds of crazy ideas. It’s not experiential. It is a spiritual transaction that takes place in reality though.
We who died to sin, we’re separated from the power of sin, and the fact that he says how can we continue to live in it, “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” indicates that even though you died to sin, you can continue to live in it. We’re not going to have any personal testimonies right now. We all have problems with our sin nature.
Now Paul goes on to explain this, he says, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
So there’s our word “baptism.” The basic meaning of the word baptism has a physical sense of washing, dipping, or immersing. But the spiritual sense is identification. Something is identified with something else for a purpose.
So in verse 4 Paul goes on to say, “Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death—see we’re identified with His death—that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in new newness of life.”
See we’re identified with His death and we’re identified with His resurrection for the purpose of a new life.
Now, this never happened before. So if Paul is using this shorthand phrase “we were raised together with Him” in Ephesians 2:6, what he is saying there is what he explains in detail here in Romans 6. This is something unique and distinctive for Church Age believers, that we are identified with Christ in His resurrection for the purpose of a new life.
See, we’re made alive together with Him. The Father gives us life, John 5:21, in the first term that he used, and now in this second term he’s emphasizing the significance of that, so we can walk in newness of life related to our being raised with Christ in this act of baptism.
So he says, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?—we’re identified with Christ in His death—Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead…we should walk in newness of life.”
So the baptism that he is talking about is not literal water baptism. It’s spirit baptism. It’s the baptism by the Holy Spirit, and the purpose is so that we should walk in it.
So let’s look at a few points.
Definition: Baptism from the Greek word BAPTIZO means to dip, to plunge, or to immerse. As an action, it would signify the identification of someone with an action, a person, an object, or a new status in life.
So it has a denotation, a meaning of immersion, but its connotation is identification.
We can chart it out this way, that when we trust in Christ, there are these eternal realities, as well as temporal realities. At the instant of faith in Christ, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit and we are placed in Him. We become children of light. That is our position. It’s our new identity.
But then we also have temporal realities where we are filled by means of the Spirit when we are walking by the Spirit. But if we are disobedient, then we’re not being filled by the Spirit, we’re not walking by the Spirit. We are walking in darkness, not in the light, and this is carnality. But when we confess sin we’re restored. But we’re still identified with Christ. That is the eternal reality now.
Secondly, just to review the baptisms. There are eight baptisms. The first three involved water, as I just said.
The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist that inaugurated His ministry. That wasn’t John’s baptism. John’s baptism was for repentance of sin. Jesus never sinned, so He had nothing to repent of, so Jesus’ baptism was unique.
Second, there’s the baptism of John the Baptist, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and he baptized them for repentance from those sins.
And then there is believers’ baptism, which is a water baptism.
Then there are five real baptisms. These are dry baptisms. They teach something.
The first is a baptism or identification with Noah in 1 Peter 3:20–21. Those in the ark were identified with Noah. Those who got wet died as a result of God’s judgment.
The second baptism is the baptism of Moses. Again, it’s identification with Moses and his leadership for Israel. This is described in 1 Corinthians 10:2. Those who are identified with Moses crossed the Red Sea and they didn’t get wet. Those who got wet was the Egyptian army and they are the ones who died.
There is the baptism of fire, which is a future judgment of the earth. This is in Matthew 3:13–17.
There is the baptism of the cross, where Christ is identified with our sins in Mark 10:38–39.
And then our topic, the baptism by the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:13.
Now, there’s a lot of confusion that comes up over this meaning because of how 1 Corinthians 12:13 has been translated. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, it translates the same phrase that is used in Matthew 3:13–17.
In Matthew 12:13, Paul says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.”
Notice it says, “for by one Spirit.” It’s the same phrase that is translated “with the Spirit” in Matthew 3:13–17. But the Greek is the same phrase.
So what happened is, this is the next point. What happened is, is that at the beginning of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement, they were not trained in Greek, they looked at the English and they saw “with the Spirit” in Matthew, and they saw “by the Spirit” in 1 Corinthians, and said these are two different baptisms. We have to get a second baptism. This was the problem.
Matthew 3:11 here on the screen, “He shall baptize you,” John the Baptist was speaking and said, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” That’s from the old King James, so it’s Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 12:13 said, “For by one Spirit.”
The problem is the Greek uses the same phrase EN PNEUMATI, “by means of the Spirit.” So they’re talking about the same baptism. Both are performed by Jesus because that’s what John the Baptist said, “HE will baptize you”—Jesus will baptize you.
But what happens when we look at 1 Corinthians 12:13 in English? If we say, “For by one Spirit,” the Spirit could be the one doing the baptizing, and there are a lot of people who made that mistake and thought that in 1 Corinthians 12:13 the Spirit baptizes you, but in Matthew 3:11, “Jesus baptizes you.” So that would be two different baptisms.
Good men who are not Pentecostal-Charismatics made that mistake, and they saw these as two different things. You’ve often heard me say Jesus baptizes us using the Holy Spirit, just as John baptized people then by using water. It’s that instrumental thing. That’s the comparison.
John says at the beginning of Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water”—EN PNEUMATI—using the same preposition. He says, “I’m going to use water to bring about this baptism, but the One who comes after me is going to use the Holy Spirit to affect this baptism.
1 Corinthians 12:13 uses that same preposition. It just doesn’t mention who’s doing the baptizing. It mentions that He does it by means of the Spirit, just as using the exact same phrase John the Baptist uses.
The problem was that Pentecostal-Charismatic theology ended up with two baptisms, one with the Holy Spirit at salvation and one by the Holy Spirit after salvation, which would be indicated by speaking in tongues, but that’s never indicated anywhere in Scripture.
So 1 Corinthians 12:13 emphasizes that we are all identified—ALL, not just some—all. Even these carnal, reprobate, argumentative, arrogant, licentious Corinthians, we are all baptized, identified into one body, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free.
The “into” here translates a Greek preposition that indicates the goal, indicates that this brings us into one body.
Well, what is Ephesians all about? It’s about understanding that there’s a new reality, the Church, that’s one body in Christ. Jew and Gentile are now baptized together into one body. We are all saved. We are all now part of the body of Christ.
So when we look at this phrase, this extremely pregnant phrase, in Ephesians 2:6 where it says, “we were raised together with Him,” it brings to the forefront the fact that this is unique. Never happened before in history. Only happens in the Church Age because only in the Church Age are we identified with Christ through the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
This is what breaks the power of the sin nature and is what enables us to have that newness of life, that life that’s given to us by the first phrase that we have been made alive together with Him, and now secondly, we’ve been raised with Him, so we can live that new life, and next time will come back and look at this distinctiveness and significance of what it means to be seated. He made us to be seated together with Him.
This is a powerful statement that refers to what is called “the Session of Christ.” We’ve already mentioned it in Ephesians 1, and it will be mentioned again in Ephesians 4. We’re not going to cover everything about that because we will save a lot of it for Ephesians 4, but it’ll take us two or three Sundays to work through the significance of the session of Christ for today because this is foundational to understanding our spiritual life.
“Father, we do thank You so much for this unique, distinct, powerful spiritual life You’ve given us that we are made alive together with Christ, that we have been raised together with Him, indicating that because of the baptism by the Spirit that identified us with His death, burial, and resurrection, the sin nature’s power is broken, which gives us hope that we can, as Paul says in Romans 6:11, we can reckon or consider ourselves dead to sin. It’s not inevitable that we sin, it is not inevitable that we’re disobedient, it is not inevitable that we follow the lusts of the flesh which war against the soul. We can live above that. There is real hope. You have given us the ability through God the Holy Spirit who indwells us and fills us into the power of Your word to live in a distinct, unique manner in this Church Age, and that is all part of what it means also to be part of the body of Christ.
“Father, we pray that if there’s anyone here who’s never trusted in Christ the Savior, never truly understood the gospel that Jesus Christ died in our place for our sins, paid the penalty, so that we might have everlasting life, and that all that is necessary for us to have that life is to believe in Him, to trust that He is the One who died for us, paid the penalty for our sins and that because He deals with our sins, we can have this new life in Him.
“Father, we pray that You would challenge each of us with the significance of what we’re studying, and we pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”