“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27)
What do we mean when we say that we are in Christ? How do we see that happening? The key to New Testament blessings is to be in Christ and so there are several “in Christ” statements in the Word. Different religious groups come up with a variety of answers to the question, “How do we get in Christ?”
I’m always amazed at the number of ways religious leaders and preachers try to get around this verse. When you begin with the principle that you are saved by belief and not by faith (which includes obedience) you teach salvation before baptism. This means that you have to find some way into Christ other than baptism. The blessings are in Christ. Son-ship is in Christ. Salvation is in Christ. Eternal life is in Christ. If you are not in Christ, then He is not in you. Why not accept what the scripture teaches instead of making up our own solution to the problem. The word of God only tells you one way to be in Christ. Yet books and sermons abound to get you there some other way. I read one comment on this verse that said that Jesus baptizes you by His spirit. No verse to show that is the way into Christ. We are baptized in water and spirit as Jesus said to Nicodemus.
What does the inspired writer of the Roman letter say is the way to get into Christ? “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Rom. 6:3) Two verses later Paul says, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” When we are buried in baptism we are being united with Him in death. When we come out of the watery grave we are experiencing the new birth. We die to sin in baptism, are buried to leave the old man behind and are raised from the watery grave to walk in newness of life, united (in Christ) with him.
Compare the passage in Romans with the one in Galatians. Paul does not teach one thing to one group and another to a different group. What was true for Roman Christians was also true for Galatian Christians. How the Romans got into Christ and how the Galatians got into Christ and how anyone gets into Christ is the one and same way. Paul’s words which appear in two letters cannot be dismissed or ignored. If you want to be in Christ, a new creature, a son of God, an heir with Christ and receive all the blessings that are in Christ Jesus you will have to get into Christ in the very same way he taught the Galatians. Let’s read it again, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Being in Christ means wearing Christ. We wear him as if he were our clothes. We put Him on. Romans 13:14, “But, put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” Christians are in Christ and they wear Him as their covering. They put on Christ the same way they get into Christ.
Task for Today: “Have you put on Christ in baptism? Have you been baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you been buried with Him in the likeness of His death? No? Then why do you wait? Go at once and obey your Lord and have your sins washed away.