“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Romans 6:3
In Chapter 5 of the book of Romans, Paul talks about Christ dying for us, but in Chapter 6, he talks about, “I died with Christ”. To understand what it means to “die with Christ”, we first have to understand what Christ having died for us means.
There are two attributes in the character of God that makes the cross of Jesus Christ necessary. God is firstly, a God of justice, and secondly, God is merciful. Jesus Christ, absolutely sinless with nothing to be atoned for, stood in our place and on the cross addressed and satisfied the wrath of a just God. By believing in Him, we are the recipients of mercy and are forgiven. But God does not let us off the hook because He is merciful. We would not need the cross of Christ if He exercised that prerogative. We are forgiven on the basis of God’s justice, and His justice had to be met. If we appeal to God's mercy, we appeal to His whim, and are left with doubt as to our forgiveness. In appealing to God’s justice, we are certain of forgiveness, because Christ met the justice of God and in advance, paid in full for our sin.
“What shall we say then?” Paul asks. “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2) It is not just that Christ died for us, but we died in Christ and in so doing, we died to sin, and the Holy Spirit begins to work in us the righteousness of Christ. What happened to Christ on the cross is deemed to have happened to us. We are crucified with Christ, baptized into His death, and are then justified, which means “it is done, finished, the case against us is closed”. The price is paid in full, and on the basis of justice, we are forgiven and reconciled to a Holy God.
The way to spell the Christian life is D-O-N-E. It is not what we do; it is what Christ has already done. Paul writes in Romans 6:10, “The death he died, he died to sin once for all…” And in verse 11, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin…” Our sin died with Christ on the cross, which means we are forgiven and justified. To believe anything less is, in effect, questioning the power of the blood of Christ. Being forgiven is not a subjective feeling, but is objective truth. As Christians, we are baptized into Christ’s death, which wipes the slate clean and we become united to Him in a life everlasting.