Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Here’s an interesting question. It is commonly stated that the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ is the good news of his death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4). We also know that eternal condemnation awaits those who “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:7-9). With these two facts in mind, how in the world does one “obey” a death, burial, and resurrection (since that is what the gospel is commonly referred to)?
What must first be pointed out is that the Bible never says that the gospel message consists of solely the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. In actuality, the inspired apostle called Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection “of first importance” when it came to the gospel message (1 Cor. 15:1-4), thus implying that there were other parts of the gospel message which, while not as important, nevertheless were included as parts of the whole.
Putting that aside, however, notice that today’s scripture basically tells us how we “obey” Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. God does not expect us to physically die, be buried, and be resurrected in order to be saved…but he does expect us to do so spiritually. This is one of many reasons why baptism, literally immersion, must not be overlooked as part of God’s plan of salvation.
The apostle tells us that we are baptized into the death of Christ, that it is through baptism that we are buried with Christ into his death, and that it is through baptism that we are resurrected just as he was to walk in a new life as a Christian. It’s important we understand this, especially in light of how so many downgrade the importance of baptism when it comes to our salvation and our obedience to the gospel. Jesus himself required baptism along with faith for salvation (Mark 16:16), Peter preached that baptism after repentance would produce forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), and later he would write that baptism “…now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21). Today’s scripture passage gives us many reasons why Jesus and Peter said these things.
Do not believe people who tell you that baptism is not necessary for salvation or forgiveness of sins. God’s Word says otherwise.