Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
Bible TextRomans 6:3-4
Synopsis Christ told John concerning his baptism, “Thus it behoves us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt 3: 15) The meaning of that statement is found in what believer’s baptism typifies. Listen
Series Romans 2018
Article Type Sermon Notes
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Audio HI-FI Listen: Baptism (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: Baptism (128 kbps)
Length 37 min.

Series: Romans

Title: Baptism

Text: Romans 6: 3-4

Date: 11-25-2018

Place: SGBC, NJ

Subject: Baptism


When our Lord Jesus Christ was here he walked from Nazareth of Galilee all the way to Jerusalem to be baptized by John.  Therefore, baptism must be important.  He told John, “Thus it behoves us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt 3: 15)  The meaning of that statement is found in what believer’s baptism typifies.


Proposition: I want you to see the importance of baptism for the believer.


Romans 6: 3: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized [unto] his death? 4: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism [unto] death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


Divisions: 1) What is baptism? 2) Who Should be Baptized? 3) Should I be rebaptized?




One, by definition, baptism is "immersion."  The word "baptizo" means "immersion."   Immersion is not a mode of baptism; baptism is immersion.


Matthew 3: 16: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water:


Two, baptism is the believer’s confession of faith in Christ: we are symbolizing the gospel we believe by baptism.   By immersion we declare that we were baptized in Christ when he was baptized in the judgment of God on the cross and that we were buried with him in his death—"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized [unto] Jesus Christ were baptized [unto[ his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism [unto] death.”


Christ came to manifest the righteousness of God.  Always remember, that was the purpose of the cross!  Christ said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with and how I am straightened till it be accomplished.” (Lu 12: 50)  When John and James asked him to sit one on his right hand and one on his left, Christ asked them, “can ye be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them,…with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized.” (Mr 10: 37-39)   They were.  And so was every elect child of God when God immersed Christ in the judgment of God on the cross.


Almost always we find two things asserted together concerning Christ’s death: he was made sin and he himself knew no sin. 


Christ was not conceived in sin; his body was holy of the Holy Spirit.  Christ walked under the law for thirty-three years and never sinned in thought, word or deed.  Every charge men made against him was false.  Christ is God providing himself a Lamb. (Gen 22: 8)  Every lamb of the old testament ceremonies had to be “without spot.” (Nu 19: 2; 28:3)  They were a shadow but Christ is the very image. (Heb 10: 1)  Christ “suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (1 Pet 3: 18)


Since Christ was sinless, he was fit to be made to bear the sin of his people so that the law would see him as worthy of death and God would be just to pour out judgment on him.  This is how God’s righteousness was manifest.  By God laying on him the iniquity of his people and making him who knew no sin, sin for us, the law declared God just to forsake Christ on the cross in divine judgment.  Am I saying Christ was made guilty on the cross before the law while he himself was without sin?  Indeed!  In his person he was without sin.  He, himself was not a sinner and never actively rebelled against God so as to be a sinner.  He presented himself spotless to God and “he hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  (2 Cor 5: 21) “The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Is 53: 6)  “He bare the sin of many.” (Is 53: 12)  To present himself the spotless Lamb of God to have the sin of his people transferred to him that he might be made a curse in our place was the obedience “unto death, even the death of the cross” that Christ agreed upon in the counsel and covenant of grace before the world was made. (Php 2: 8)


Some say God imputed the sin of his people to Christ and treated him “as if” he were sin.  Others believe he was made sin therefore God imputed sin to him.  But most who believe our Substitute was made sin by imputation agree that it was because Christ had to be guilty before God could justly pour out judgment upon him or else God could manifest his righteousness.   


Stephen Charnock believed God imputed sin to Christ and only treated him “as if” he were sin. But Charnock declared correctly that the reason Christ had to bear sin was that he might be guilty.  He said, “It is as much against divine justice to inflict punishment where there is no sin, as it is to spare an offender who has committed a crime or to 'clear the guilty'.  This God will by no means do (Exodus 34:7).  The consideration of a crime precedes the sentence, either upon an offender—or his surety.  We cannot conceive how divine justice should inflict the punishment, had it not first considered him under guilt.”  That statement is true.  But I can find no place in scripture where Christ is spoken of as being treated “as if” he were sin nor that it would manifest the righteousness of God for God to merely treat him “as if” he were sin.  Scriptures declare, not that God treated him “as if” he were made sin, but that he “his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Pet 2: 24) This is how Isaiah, the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter declared it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  In this, Christ on the cross manifest what he came to manifest—the strict, perfect, unyielding righteousness of God—"how God can be just and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom 3: 26)  Therefore, God does not command the believer to impute ourselves to be “as if” anything!  But God commands the believer to impute ourselves to be what God imputes us to be—“likewise, reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6: 11) 


So the reason we are immersed is because the death Christ suffered on the cross was a total immersion in the just and righteous judgment of God which manifests that God always does right in judgement.  On the cross, as he suffered separation from God, Christ died the living death of divine judgment that his people would have had to die for all eternity had our Substitute not died that death in our place.  Never lose sight of the fact that the reason Christ went to the cross was not to manifest—his innocence—though in his person he never ceased to remain holy, looking to God from a holy heart.  But the very reason God the Father sent his Son to the cross was to manifest that God will not wrest judgment, nor respect persons, but is righteous in judgment.  Therefore, Christ bore a total immersion in the just fury of God’s wrath because he bore the sins of his people. He said,


Psalm 69: 1: Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. 2: I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.


Lamentations 3: 54: Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.


Psalm 42: 7: Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.


The Ark in Noah’s day pictured this immersion in judgment.  The flood was God’s judgment destroying all flesh due to sin.  It had never rained.  But God broke up the waterspouts of the deep from beneath and poured out rain from above so that the ark was immersed in the flood.  It pictured Christ making atonement for our sins by being immersed in the flood of God’s justice with his people inside him. The word translated “pitch”—“pitch it within and without with pitch”—means “to cover, purge, make atonement, make reconciliation, pacify, appease.”


Then when a believer is raised up out of the water, we symbolize how we were resurrected in Christ to newness of life.  Our text says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  In Christ, all his people came out of the grave a spiritually resurrected, new man, quickened in Christ when Christ arose.  Now, to Christ and his people the law can say nothing condemnatory because our old man of flesh is dead and we are alive in Christ at God’s right hand (Rom 6: 5-11; Eph 2: 5-7).


Have you ever noticed that Paul describes the letter of the law given at Mt Sinai as “the rudiments of the world?”  When the Corinthian believers were being turned back to the letter of the law, Christ declared that Christ nailed the law that was contrary to us to the cross—that was the moral law engraven in stones which is the ministration of death because it declares us guilty. (Col 2: 14; 2 Cor 3: 7) Then Paul said to the Corinthians, “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances…?” (Col 2: 20)  Paul called the letter of the law the “rudiments of the world” because the letter of the law was only made for a child of Adam living in the flesh to declare us guilty. (Rom 2: 19-20) 


But when Christ died, our old body of sin was destroyed and we were justified.  Therefore, when we come out of the water, we confess that before the law of God, we have ceased to be of Adam: “our old man of sin is crucified with [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed [disannulled, nullified from the law’s dominion], that henceforth we shall not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed [justified] from sin.” (Rom 6: 6-7) Now, we are risen in Christ “to newness of life, to serve in newness of spirit, not in the oldness of the letter.” (Rom 6: 4, 11; 7: 6)


When a believer arises out of the water in believer’s baptism we are confessing publicly that in Christ’s holy person with his holy person in us, we are as holy and righteousness as Christ because Christ made us so.  We are declaring that before God, in the new spirit which Christ has put in us, we are in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit and are no longer in the flesh.  (Rom 8: 9) We are led by the Holy Spirit of God and all our fruit is produced by Christ our Husband--“fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ.” ((Rom 7: 4-6; Php 1: 11)

2 Corinthians 5: 17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


Three, baptism is the believer's public confession that we are consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ.  By baptism we publicly confess that we commit ourselves to Christ as our Lord and Master.  He has dominion over us in spirit.  Christ leads us and we delight to follow.  His people are our people.  We walk by faith constrained by his love for us.  That is walking in newness of spirit.  This was illustrated when the children of Israel consecrated themselves to Moses when they passed through the Red Sea, which was typical of baptism. 


I Corinthians 10: 1: Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea 2: And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;


Moses entered and came out of the sea first like as Christ passed through the grave and came out in resurrection.  Then the children of Israel followed Moses being baptized unto him, that is, being utterly committed to Moses as one nation “the church in the wilderness.”  Likewise, our baptism is our publicly avowed commitment to Christ together with his people.  They all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.  Likewise, we all drink of Christ.


Fourthly, baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God.


I Peter 3: 21:…baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:


We confess in believer’s baptism that Christ's blood has purged our conscience of guilt so that we cease from our former dead works of trying to make ourselves accepted with God. (Heb 9: 14; 10: 2)


Baptism is between the sinner and God.  We never coerce sinners to be baptized.  But any sinner who God has given faith to believe on Christ in truth should consider that if they now see their former religion as so dishonoring to Christ that they can no longer unite with those who are under it, but they must be under the gospel in truth, then why would they be satisfied with that so-called baptism they were baptized with back when they confessed they were one with a false gospel?


Brethren, as the LORD separated Israel from the Egyptians by their baptism unto Moses, believer’s baptism has always been a believer’s confession that God has separated us from lies unto the truth.  It is a public renouncement of all our former false religion and vain works.  This is why, historically, baptism has been hated by false religionists because by leaving them and being baptized believers declare we are now utterly committed to Christ together with his church in truth and we renounce our former false way.




Baptism is only for those, and for all those, who believe Christ Jesus to be the Son of God.


Acts 8: 36: And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37: And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38: And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.


Baptism is not for unbelievers therefore it cannot be for infants.  Baptism is not the new covenant form of circumcision as some falsely assert.  Circumcision typified the work of God’s grace by which he gives us a new heart (Rom 2: 28-29).  Baptism is for those who believe that Jesus Christ the Son of God accomplished their redemption.  It is for all to whom God has made Christ Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption.  Baptism is for those who believe that we are complete in Christ, with nothing to be added by us. (1 Cor 1: 30; Col 2: 10) Faith in Christ is the only prerequisite to baptism.  But faith in Christ is necessary.


Mark 16: 15: And [Christ] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.


Those to whom God has given faith to believe on Christ are not ashamed to confess Christ publicly before men renouncing our former false way.  It is Christ’s command to us and his commands are not grievous to a believer.  But Christ warned us we cannot be his disciple if we are still trying to please our loved ones who hold to that former false way.  He said,


Matthew 10: 32: Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33: But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35: For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36: And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37: He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38: And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39: He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.


Luke 14: 15: And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16: Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18: And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19: And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20: And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21: So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22: And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23: And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24: For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. 25: And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27: And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28: For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29: Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30: Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31: Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32: Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33: So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.


Christ does not mean that we have to hate our mother and father and loved ones.  It means if Christ is not preeminent to me above all my nearest dearest loved ones then I do not truly believe on him and cannot be his disciple. Christ declares that if anyone or anything has my heart, except Christ, then I will not have sufficient strength to finish this race of faith and win this warfare.  When we count the costs, believers are not trying to determine if we think we have strength in ourselves.  We are confessing that we have no strength in ourselves and are depending upon Christ to be all our strength. 


Believers, to whom Christ is all, will have no problem forsaking all and confessing him because Christ is all our strength.  His yoke is light and easy—he took our sin to be his own; he only commands us to confess he did it and to assemble with his saints faithfully to hear of his work.  See how his yoke is easy?  Christ bore the shame and chastisement we deserved; he only commands us to be immersed in a watery grave confessing that we were in him.  See how his yoke is easy and light?  Faith and love are the light and easy yoke of Christ and the believer is not ashamed to confess him. 




Again, let me state that this is between the sinner and God.  But if a sinner was not hearing Christ preached in truth, but was hearing lies and half-truths, then he was not really baptized to begin with.  Christ said he does not send false preachers and does not bless their preaching therefore they shall not profit the people at all (Jer 23: 32).  Christ said, “I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer 3: 15) It is the true preaching of the gospel that Christ blesses to the hearts of his people.  So if a sinner was sitting under false preaching and did not know Christ then he was not baptized to begin with.


But if God has brought you under the truth and made Christ your Wisdom, bringing you to believe on him with all your heart then you should publicly confess Christ for the first time. 


Remember, only the Spirit of God can make his child willing to confess Christ in spirit and in truth.  If he has made his gospel effectual in your heart, given you faith to rest in Christ alone and you want to confess Christ in believer’s baptism then let me know.  We will schedule a time for you to be baptized.  But once you have been baptized and truly confessed Christ to be your all then the answer is no, there is no reason to be baptized again.