“Know Ye Not …”

“That to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience his servants ye are whom ye obey …” (Rom. 6:12). In this chapter Paul shows that WE may “present our members unto sins as instruments of unrighteousness or present ourselves unto God; that we present ourselves as servants unto obedience or that we may present our members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; we may present our members a servants unto righteousness” (Rom. 6:13, 16, 19). Inasmuch as we are charged that we must not let sin reign in our mortal body; a reference to our “members” being “instruments” is a reference to our body which we are charged to “keep” or control. Like a car driven by another, bears no responsibility for which path it takes, so our bodies are driven by us; we are amenable for what we do with it.

The control of our body must come form a heart which desires to do God’s will. “But thanks be unto God, that; whereas ye were servants of sin; ye became obedience from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18f).

Here, in an altogether unexpected place, Paul shows the significance of water baptism for it is of baptism to which he allude when he says, “form of teaching.” The “teaching” is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The form of that teaching is water baptism. “Or, are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we might also walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3f). So baptism pictures a death, a burial and a resurrection. It is the fitting “form of the teaching” to which we were delivered. Of course Paul had written of baptism’s necessity in other places: We are baptized into Christ; we are “buried with him in baptism, we are raised with him, through faith in the workings of God” (Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12). Yet here, in the midst of his discussion of how “we” may present our members as instruments of righteousness or unrighteousness; he thanks God that whereas we were servants of sin, we obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine (water baptism); and being made free from sin, we became servants of righteousness. Baptism is the dividing line between being guilty of sin and being free from sin! In fact, the KJV in this passage states “being THEN made free from sin.” Some vainly attempt to pit Peter against Paul, saying Peter taught one thing about salvation, Paul another. That will not do. To assert such is to assert contradiction between two men who both claimed to be guided by God, and who, as Paul showed in Galatians 2, dif- fered NOT one iota from the other in things they taught. The truth is that, contrary to Paul differing from Peter about the necessity of baptism; it is men who differ from these two apostles. They are united in their teaching; both affirm baptism saves. The differing voices come from men who deny baptism has any part in forgiveness of sin. Remember: Paul spoke of those who had obeyed from the heart God’s command to be baptized and who were — at that time, at that moment, made free from sin.

Jim McDonald

Bible Lectureship

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