Second Reformed Church

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Baptized Into Death" Sermon: Romans 6:1-4

“Baptized Into Death”

[Romans 6:1-4]

July 20, 2014 Second Reformed Church

            This morning, we intend to baptize Samuel Hastey.  As we do so, we do well to prepare ourselves with an understanding of what is going on – what we expect to happen in and through the Sacrament of Baptism.  We call it a sacrament because it is one of the two symbolic events of the Gospel that Jesus told us to do:  “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV).

            So, part of the “why” of baptism is that Jesus said to do it.  Therefore, we should do it.

            Yet, the question remains, why do we baptize infants – babies?

            For three reasons:

            First, baptism is the formal entrance of the child into the believing community.

            Second, baptism is a sign – it is symbolic – of what God has done in Jesus for salvation.

            And third, baptism is a seal for the person who makes a profession of faith.

            Involved in this whole idea is the concept of “covenant” – that God has made an agreement – a contract – between Himself and all those who will ever believe.  We understand contracts – agreements – in our culture, as well:  we hired a company a couple of weeks ago to repair the entrance stairs to the church.  If they did the work, they would get paid; if they did not do the work, they would not get paid.

            We understand that the Covenant between God and the children of believers continues from the Old Testament through the New Testament.  In the Old Testament era, male children were circumcised as the symbol of the Covenant; in the New Testament era, children are baptized.

            As we consider baptism, let us also note two wrong understandings – two things we do not believe that the Scripture teaches:

            Baptism does not save the child or anyone – baptism does not remove sin – baptism does not make the child a Christian.

            And, baptism does not do nothing.  Something really happens during baptism that cannot be wished or imagined away.

            On the TV show, “All in the Family,” Archie and Mike were discussing baptism, and Mike said that he had renounced his baptism years earlier, and Archie responded, “Try to renounce your belly-button, buddy-boy.”  In other words, something real occurs during baptism, but it does not make the child a Christian.

            So, what does happen?

            First, baptism is the formal entrance of the child into the believing community.

            We look back at the institution of circumcision to see the parallel:

            “And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant’” (Genesis 17:9-14, ESV).

            Here we see that circumcision was the entrance into the believing community in the Old Testament.  The sign has changed – and now all children – not just male children – are received into the community through baptism.

            Bringing a child to be baptized is the parents’ and the believing community’s way of acknowledging that the child was born or adopted into the believing community and the parents and the community – the Church – pledge to do everything within their power to raise the child in the faith – to teach him the Truth of what God has said in His Word and to impress upon him the understanding of the necessity of receiving and professing the One Way of Salvation through Jesus Christ Alone.

            It is the child’s responsibility – taken on for him by the parents and the community – to respond to the call to receive and profess faith.  Just as baptism does not make the child a Christian – the parents and the Church’s promise to raise the child – to diligently instruct the child in the faith – does not make him a Christian.  The child – enabled by God – must receive the Truth of Jesus as Savior to become a Christian.

            Second, baptism is a sign – it is symbolic – of what God has done in Jesus for salvation.

            Baptism is one of the two visible representations of the Gospel that Jesus gave to us – the Lord’s Supper being the other.  As we baptize, we are symbolically showing what happens in salvation – what Jesus has done to save all those who will believe.

            In the Old Testament, we are told that circumcision is symbolic – it is a sign of what God does in salvation – in this way:  “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6, ESV).

            We understand that the physical circumcision that occurred to baby boys was not of their hearts.  That physical sign was to symbolize what God did in the heart – how God changes the heart – circumcises the heart, so a person will believe and receive the Gospel – God’s Way of Salvation.

            Paul most clearly explains that baptism is the New Testament version of this symbolizing of the Gospel, when he writes, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12, ESV).

            Just as circumcision of the flesh was symbolic of God’s changing a person’s heart, so baptism with water is symbolic of spiritual union with Jesus in His death, burial, and physical Resurrection.

            You see, the Gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ – is a response to the fact that we have all sinned against God – and God – since He is Just – must punish sin.  But, if God punished us justly for our sin, none of us would survive – we would all suffer God’s Eternal Wrath.  So God, in love, made One Way for anyone who believes to be saved – that is the Good News.

            The Gospel – the historical facts which we must believe with our minds as true and receive in our hearts – are the historical facts of Jesus:  God came to earth in the Person of Jesus, lived a perfect life under God’s Law, died for the sins of everyone who would ever believe, and physically rose from the dead and ascended back to His Throne.

            If we truly believe those facts as true and receive them in our hearts – then we are united with Jesus – He has changed our hearts – we have been united with Him in His life, so we are seen as having kept God’s Law, and we are united with Him in His death, as He took on God’s Wrath for our sins, and we are united with Him in His Resurrection, so we can live eternally with Him in His Kingdom.

            Our text this morning, which comes in the context of those who were arguing that if God is gracious to us when we sin, we ought to sin more, so God would be more gracious, Paul tells the Romans – and us –

            “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

            Paul explains that baptism symbolizes the Gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ – that Jesus died, was buried, and physically rose from the dead.  Samuel with be “under the water” – as though dead, but he will live.  Baptism is a symbolic representation of what Jesus did for all those who will believe.

            So, we see that baptism really does something:  it formally welcomes the child into the believing community, it engages the parents and the Church in the raising of the child in the faith, and it symbolically portrays the Gospel message of Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection, which must be believed, if anyone will be saved from the Wrath of God and welcomed into His Kingdom.

            Yet, baptism does not save – it does not make the child a Christian.

            Third, baptism is a seal for the person who makes a profession of faith.

            What occurs today is the welcoming of Samuel into the community of faith, the pledging of his parents and the Church to raise him in the faith, and a symbolic presentation of the Gospel.  But Samuel will not be saved from the Wrath of God unless he professes faith in Jesus Christ – unless he believes in his mind and receives in his heart the facts of the Gospel – the history of Jesus.

            If Samuel does one day profess saving faith in Jesus, and please God he will, then this baptism that he receives today will become a seal on him.  Then it will be a reality for him that God has changed out – circumcised – his heart – that he has been united with Jesus in His life and death and Resurrection, and He will be the adopted son of God, who will forever live in the Kingdom with Jesus.

            Anyone can receive the sign of baptism, but as we have said, baptism does not save – it symbolically presents the One Way of Salvation – and those involved swear to raise the child in the faith, but the child must one day make a profession of faith – believing the Truth of the Gospel in his mind and receiving it in his heart.  Then, the baptism received prior to conversion – belief – becomes a seal.  At the point that he truly believes, he will have the assurance of God’s Eternal Love for him.

            Let us pray:

            Almighty God, we thank You for giving us Your Gospel in history, in word, and in symbols.  As we prepare to baptize Samuel, we ask that You would change hearts and seal baptisms long ago received that some who see this Sacrament administered would, for the first time, truly believe and receive Salvation through Jesus Christ Alone.  We ask for strength and wisdom for Joshua and Rebekah and all who will be in contact with Samuel in his instruction in the faith – that they would be a profound light of the Gospel to Samuel – and that You would bless their efforts – that all of their lives would point to the Truth of You.  And we ask that You would be willing to raise Samuel to new life through Jesus Christ Alone that he would be saved by You and remain forever with You in Your Glory.  And we ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...


The Calvinist answer to the question, "WHAT MUST I DO DO BE SAVED," is, absolutely nothing, God does it all. Calvinists' assert obedience has nothing to do with the salvation of mankind. What do the Scriptures say?


Hebrews 5:8-9 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.

Jesus became the source of salvation for those who obey Him.

Calvinists' proclaim that God elects a few to be saved; therefore man's obedience is not required.


A. BELIEVE: John 6:28-29 Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God , that you believe in Him whom He sent."

Obedience is required, the work of believing that God sent His only Son so that men might be saved.

B. BE BAPTIZED: Mark 16:16 ....and has been baptized shall be saved....

Jesus said immersion in water was a prerequisite to salvation. Obedience is required.

C. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Salvation follows the obedience of confession. Yes, men have to do something in order to be saved.

D. REPENTANCE: Act 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Repentance is essential to have sins forgiven.(Repentance means to make the commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God) Obedience is imperative. God does not force anyone to repent. God does not select a few men for salvation and then compel them to have a change of heart.

It takes a highly trained professional and a willing student for anyone to believe that FAITH, REPENTANCE, CONFESSION, AND WATER BAPTISM are not acts of obedience that are required for salvation.

You cannot reject faith, repentance, confession or water baptism as being essential for salvation and honestly claim you learned that from prayerfully searching the Scriptures. YOU NEED EXTRA-BIBLICAL TEACHERS AND OR EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCES TO REACH THOSE CONCLUSIONS.


Acts 5:32 And we are witness of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."

The Holy Spirit was given to those who obeyed.
They obeyed by believing.
They obeyed by confessing.
They obeyed by repenting.
They obeyed by being baptized in water.


2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,