Because of what our Lord Jesus did, Paul assumes a counter reply that might be thrust in his direction (6:1). “Surely, it is the case that as one sins the glory (grace) of God is manifested all the more.” Paul rejects such thinking by helping them to understand the significance of their baptism (6:2-7). Coming up out of the watery grave of baptism one now walks “in newness of life”; thus, they have died to the old way, and they are not to continue to live that way (6:10, 12). When one makes a conscience decision to walk in a certain direction, the one who leads us in that direction is the one to whom we have become slaves, Paul said (6:16-17). This can be in the direction of the Son of righteousness or this can be in the direction of sin. Paul will amplify this in the next chapter.
Baptism into Christ is a “cardinal” doctrine of the New Testament. Why so many dismiss the significance as the Lord actually stated it is tremendously unfortunate. A Christian, on the other hand, must insist on what the New Testament says, not compromising even for a second. Let us, however, never fall into the trap, as many have, of saying exactly that which the Jews did, “Has he been circumcised”? In time, the circumcision became an imprint apart from faith (2:28-29). The same can happen with baptism: “Has he been baptized?” This is not an inappropriate question, but it has become an end-all in conversation for many. It might be better to ask, “Has he been converted to the Lord, or born again? (John 3:3-5). At least with that question there is an equal emphasis on all that the Lord demands.
Ron Thomas lives in Sullivan, TN and preaches for the Highway Church of Christ