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Summary: Baptism points to 1) The Antagonist (v.1), 2) The Answer (v.2), and 3) The Argument explaining and defending that Answer (vv.3–5) of the spiritual reality shown in the public act of baptism.

A bucket list, is a list of things that people write down that they want to do before they die, otherwise known as “kick the bucket”. It can be a desire to visit an exotic country, drive a particular car, see an entertainer or sports team that they always wanted, or any number of other activities. People often cite things like having kids, work commitments, poor health, or just plain laziness as reasons why they never got around to these things.

For the things of the faith, baptism can be like one of those things. A person who claims to be a Christian that has not been baptized fits into the following categories: 1) They may be unaware of the command to be baptised. That is, they've never been taught about baptism, and some have been taught wrong. Secondly, for some, pride is an issue. People who have allowed a long period of time to go since their conversion, they named the name of Chris for a long time, they are involved with the church, they're known as Christian people, but they've never been baptized. It's a little bit embarrassing to acknowledge that failure and that disobedience for such a long time. And so, they're not willing to humble themselves, admit they've been disobedient, and be baptized. For others, it could be indifference. There are plenty of people who just can't be bothered. They can't find a spot in their day timer for it. Doesn't fit into their schedule. It's not a priority. They know it's commanded in the Bible. But obedience isn't the main thing with them. They have other priorities. That's a sad situation to be apathetic towards a specific command. To be indifferent toward a very direct command from our Lord himself, which brings honor to him and blessings to the one is obedient. But there are people who are just indifferent. They just can't get around it. I've been planning to do it. I've thought about it. It just doesn't fit on the priority list. Some are just defiant people. Those who basically aren't baptized because they are just rebellious. They refuse to obey. And usually, those kinds of people are sinning. They're in a pattern of sin. And it would just sort of elevate their hypocrisy if they were to have to come up and give a testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ and celebrate his wonderful redemption on their behalf. Finally, it's possible that they are just unregenerate. You're just not a true Christian. You have no desire to make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ because you don't want be identified with him in a public way. You may come, and you may like to come and hang on the edges and on the fringes here. But you're not about to take your public stand with Christ. In all of these reasons, it may be a combination of several of those things, in some cases. (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-190/baptism-a-matter-of-obedience)

The New Testament has no concept of an unbaptized Christian. When people repented and believed in Christ, they were baptized—often immediately—as a public profession of their faith and to identify with the body of believers. This pattern followed throughout the early church (cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38). What we see are people, upon repentance and faith in Christ, publicly professing this belief by obeying the Lord’s command to be baptised. It is the believer’s baptism by submersion in water which is consistent with the metaphor the apostle Paul used in Romans 6:3-7. Although he wasn’t referring to the ordinance of baptism, but the spiritual reality of union with Christ in His death and resurrection. Water baptism is the outward symbol of that unity—your physical baptism signifies the spiritual baptism that’s already taken place. It’s the public, ceremonial depiction of believers death to sin and your new life in Christ.

In Romans 6:1–5, Paul shows three results that should be evident in a believers life because of the death of Christ. Baptism points to 1) The Antagonist (v.1), 2) The Answer (v.2), and 3) The Argument explaining and defending that Answer (vv.3–5) of the spiritual reality shown in the public act of baptism.

First, the spiritual reality shown in the public act of baptism, points back to:

1) The Antagonist (v.1)

Romans 6:1 [6:1]What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? (ESV)

“What shall we say then the apostle Paul asks rhetorically to the foolish assertion:, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound/might increase?” Epimeno (to continue) carries the idea of habitual persistence. Paul was not speaking of a believer’s occasional falling into sin, as every Christian does at times because of the weakness and imperfection of the flesh. He was speaking of intentional, willful sinning as an established pattern of life. Essentially, Paul argues that the law could never curb sinning; and the reign of grace, far from encouraging sin, is the only means by which sin can truly be defeated (Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 356). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

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