1 What should we conclude then? Should we keep sinning so that grace may increase? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that those who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? 4 The conclusion is that we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that in the same way as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. 5 Because since we have become united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the sinful body would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.) 8 Now if we died along with Christ, we believe that we will also live along with him.
baptism and the way out
The legalistic Jews of Paul’s day saw obedience to the law as the way out of sin’s domination. Paul blew that notion out of the water. The law is not the answer. It is not the way out. In fact, if you have nothing but the law you are going to sin more and more. The knowledge of God’s will is going to produce more guilt and more sin. Sin dominates. Since that is the case, some might potentially believe that the way out is to just have confidence in the atonement to cover every sin, and sin willfully and continually. Paul replies to that potential objection in emphatic terms: absolutely not.
Instead, he points believers to the gospel that they proclaimed when they were immersed in the burial waters of baptism. The symbolic ordeal that those believers went through was an identification with Christ’s death by crucifixion. Just as Jesus submitted to being knocked down and nailed to a cross, so they submitted to being knocked down and submersed into the water. When they were lifted up to breathe air again, they were identifying with Christ being raised to life again. Christ’s death and resurrection was a victory over sin. In the same way, the believer was to see his or her life after baptism as a life of victory over sin, not one that must still be subjected to its dominion.
LORD, when sin wants to drag us down, remind us of the time when you raised us up. Remind us that sin no longer dominates us.