Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into 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. (Romans 6:4—NIV)

Baptism is an often confused and ignored ordinance. Many notions have adhered to the simplicity of the doctrine of baptism through the centuries. The Scriptures plainly teach that baptism is commanded as a display of identification with the savior-work of Christ and a display of obedience by practicing "death to sin" on the part of the believer.

These two principles are taught in Romans 6:1-5 and then 6:6-12. When a person is born again the Holy Spirit baptism occurs, placing the new believer into the body of Christ. The new believer is commanded in the Bible to be physically immersed in water as a visible display of the inward reality of conversion. It is a testimony of faith, an act of obedience, and entirely appropriate for a grand statement of a new identity in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Paul is challenging the Roman church to thoughtfully put aside fleshly sin and be sanctified for God’s use. His illustration of the principle of change in direction comes from the work of Christ. Our Lord was crucified and died, was buried ("planted" in verse 5), and arose from the dead, He is alive today.

The parallel is skillfully drawn to the ordinance of baptism. The obedient, new believer is immersed in water and brought back out, visibly portraying the spiritual story. He was dead in sin and is alive in Christ, he was separated from Christ’s body and now is identified with Christ’s body, he was serving another cause and now is arisen a new creation in Christ serving a new Master.

The phrase "that just as Christ" in our text translates a Greek word which means "similarity in principle but the details are different". The new convert is not physically dead, buried, and alive again, but Jesus Christ was. The new convert is instead physically immersed by baptism showing that he is dead to sin but alive to God.

Our challenge from the Lord is that we are given spiritual life by the glory of the Father and therefore we are obligated to walk in newness of life. We must cease from willful sin and live our life for God to utilize in whatever way He sees fit. We are challenged to a life of humble obedience.

Have you been baptized since you were born again? Are you a living illustration of the Gospel story?