Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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 newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5)
Salvation Is In Burial
The scheme of redemption is the plan of God to save mankind. Created in the image of the divine, man quickly turned away from his eternal nature serving the desires of the flesh. There was no means of escape from the wrath of God whether in being a good person, offering thousands of animal sacrifices, or worshiping himself as a god. Every attempt made by humanity to find light in the world of darkness failed. Jesus came to open the path of salvation from God to man. It was not the desire of the Father for men to perish. Throughout the ages, the Lord gave man directions to find mercy in his presence but there remained the debt of sin that could not be washed away with the blood of bulls or goats. Before the world was created, the will of God determined that salvation would only be found in the blood of His only begotten Son. Jesus became the image of flesh to live in the world as a man and suffer death. God would experience the suffering of the flesh in crucifixion. Jesus gave His life to take away the sin of mankind.
A perfect sacrifice needed to be offered as the penalty of sin. The heinous nature of sin required the highest sacrifice and Jesus willingly went to the cross to die and bring hope to humanity. He knew the incredible pain to be endured as the hatred of men beat Him, spit on Him, cursed the Son of God, scourged His flesh with brutality, and finally nailed His hands and feet to the cross. The suffering of Jesus was intense. Finally, relief from the fleshly suffering came when Jesus died. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus from the cross and buried Him in the new tomb belonging to Joseph. They were unaware of their place in the scheme of redemption but their act of love set forth the eternal plan of God. Burial was necessary for the light of hope to spring forth from the darkness of sin.
Death alone did not save men. Jesus was crucified like many thousands of men were. A man dying on a Roman cross was a familiar picture and Jesus died in the same horrible manner as those before Him. Not every man was buried after death. The burial of Jesus was a powerful testimony to the scheme of man’s redemption. Nicodemus and Joseph established a pattern of salvation that would last until the Lord’s return. The apostle Paul told the saints in Rome that redemption was found in the death and the burial of Jesus. Salvation is found in the burial for two reasons. First, it shows the need for death. Dead men are buried, not living men. A burial requires first a death. Jesus was dead when He was placed in the empty tomb. Salvation comes for a man when he dies in Christ. He is not saved yet. He must be buried. That burial is an overwhelming experience.
Second, burial precedes a resurrection. The greatest miracle is the will of the Father to bring Jesus from the clutches of Hades and for Jesus to reign supreme. Many were resurrected but they all suffered the pains of death again. This is not the case with Jesus. Two thousand years ago Jesus was buried in an empty tomb and on the first day of the week, the sealed tomb was empty. Jesus reigns as the Son of God who lives in the presence of the Father. Resurrection required a burial. The fulfillment of redemption is found in the resurrection. Baptism is the burial where a dead man is placed by the grace of God to be brought from the tomb – resurrection. If there is no burial there is no death and there is no resurrection.
Baptism is the moment a man dies in Christ and sins are washed away so a new man can rise in the newness of life as a new creation. Without baptism, there is no salvation. If a man is not buried in Christ, there is no salvation. Without the resurrection, there can be no hope. Only in baptism can a man find the power of the resurrection. Baptism requires immersion. Sprinkling or pouring is not burial and is not salvation. Belief is a part of salvation but faith alone does not save. Resurrection requires a burial. Have you been resurrected? If you have not been buried, you are not saved. Crucify the old man, be buried in baptism to rise saved in Christ.