having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.Colossians 2:12(NASB)
It is very important to get a biblical understanding of the word 'baptism' as recorded in the Bible. Some baptisms are wet, such as John's 'baptism of repentance'. Other baptisms are dry, such as the baptism of the Spirit when we are placed into Christ's mystic Body by the Holy Spirit, at salvation.
Paul records that, "by one Spirit," (the baptism of the Holy Spirit) "we were all baptised into one Body," (the Body of Christ, which is the Church). Wherever we see the word 'baptism' in the Bible, it simply means to be 'placed into'. Water baptism is a beautiful outward illustration of the supernatural spiritual baptism, (the inward change of heart when a man or woman has trusted in Christ for salvation). The baptism of the Spirit is a single event in the life of a believer which takes place the moment one is born-again and becomes a member of Christ's Body. From that point on, we are exhorted to be filled, day by day, with the Spirit of God.
The moment we are conceived and born into the human race, we are described as being 'in Adam'. As his offspring we are 'identified with Adam'. One could almost say we were 'baptised into Adam' - or 'placed into the family of Adam' at birth. When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea they were baptised into Moses - they were identified with Moses. Indeed, we read in the Bible, "they were all were baptised into Moses - in the cloud and in the sea." This means that the people of Israel were identified with Moses when they were led by the pillars of cloud by day and also when they crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. Israel received these benefits because they were connected with Moses. They were identified with Moses. They were one with Moses - they were baptised into Moses.
Because we are saved by grace through faith, we are identified with JESUS and so we receive the benefit of identification with Jesus. Having been convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin, righteousness, judgement, and recognising our need of salvation in Christ, we are placed into His Body. We are positioned in Christ by the Spirit. We are placed in union with Christ by the Spirit - we are baptised, by the Spirit, into the Body of Christ, by faith. The moment that inner, heart-conviction takes place, we are born-again, born from above, born into the family of God, baptised into Christ - and identified with Him and His righteousness.
For some this is accompanied by ecstatic joy, while others feel nothing. However, salvation is not based on feelings but on biblical fact... which teaches that at that point of salvation, the saved sinner is placed into Christ - or baptised into Christ. The moment we are saved, we are baptised into the Body of Christ. This is the point that we are established as a child of God. We are removed from our original position in the first creation, where we are 'in-sin' by being identified with the first Adam - and placed into our new position in the Body of Christ as part of the new creation 'in-Christ'.
In this verse, Paul is describing the process of our justification in the eyes of God. Christ died for our sin, and at the point of our salvation we became identified with Him We became fully identified with Christ - we died in Christ. Although we still live in a body of sin, we are nonetheless identified with Christ's death, burial, and Resurrection, and all that it stands for.
Whether talking about our spiritual baptism into the Body of Christ by faith, or our water baptism as the outward sign of our trust in Christ's finished work as Saviour - we can say, with all other members of the Body of Christ, "I have been crucified with Christ and buried with Him in baptism," through faith in God. BUT that is not the end of the story - we are also identified with His Resurrection. We are also raised up with Him, through faith.
The work of the Holy Spirit within the life of a believer has far greater consequences that simply the forgiveness of sin through Christ's sacrificial death. What use would the forgiveness of sin be if there were no physical resurrection unto eternal life! We are not only co-crucified and co-buried with Christ for the forgiveness of sins - but we are ALSO co-resurrected with Christ unto eternal life - through faith in the working of GOD. Because God raised Christ from the dead, we will also be raised from the dead - and it is all because we are identified with Him.
The spiritual nature of our salvation, where we are baptised into the Body of Christ by faith, is outwardly demonstrated when we go to the waters of baptism. Immersion in the water is a picture of our co-burial with Christ while coming up out of the water illustrates our co-resurrection with Him. All is carried out in the power of God, Who enables us to live a new life in Christ - as we die to the old life and live for Christ.
Heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You for Your wonderful plan of redemption. How amazing to think that Christ identified with me and my sin so that I could be identified with Him and His righteousness. Thank You that by faith I have been crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and raised into newness of life. Thank You that I have been taken out of the old creation in Adam and identified with the new creation in Christ. How I praise You that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is now working in me - so that the power of sin and death is broken in my life. Thank You, in Jesus' name, AMEN.