Believing into Christ and Being Baptized into Him, Life-Study of Galatians, Message Twenty-Two, pp. 187-189
THE SPIRIT OF SONSHIP
REPLACING THE CUSTODY OF THE LAW
Scripture Reading: Gal. 3:27-29; 4:1-7; Rom. 8:14-16
In the foregoing message we pointed out that Paul concludes Galatians 3 with three important matters: baptized into Christ, putting on Christ, and the oneness of all the believers in Christ. To be baptized into Christ is to enter into an organic union with the Triune God. God's intention in His economy is to put us into Him and to come into us and live in us. This is what we mean by the organic union, an organic oneness in life.
BELIEVING INTO CHRIST
AND BEING BAPTIZED INTO HIM
In order to experience this organic union with the Triune God, we need to believe into Christ and be baptized into Him. Believing and being baptized are two parts of one step. First we believe into Christ, then we are baptized into Him. The Greek preposition, eis, used in John 3:16, 18, and 36, means into. These verses indicate that we need to believe into the Son. By believing in Christ we enter into Christ. We believe ourselves into Him. We have seen that M. R. Vincent says that this Greek preposition, as used in Matthew 28:19, implies a mystical, spiritual union with the Triune God. Chinese people may believe Confucius, but they would never say that they believe into Confucius. Neither would Greeks claim to believe into Plato. Chinese do not become one with Confucius, and Greeks do not enter into a spiritual union with Plato. But when we believe into the Lord Jesus, we experience an organic union with Him. When we believe in Him, we believe into Him and thereby become one spirit with Him. This is what we mean by the expression organic union.
In addition to believing into Christ, which is inward and subjective, we also need to be baptized into Him, an act which is outward and objective. We need both the inward action of believing and the outward action of being baptized. In this way we make one complete step to enter into the Triune God. In Galatians 3 Paul speaks often about faith and believing. But at the end of the chapter, he speaks of being baptized into Christ. The step which begins with believing into Christ is completed by being baptized into Him. In this way there takes place in full an organic union between the believers and the Triune God.
PUTTING ON CHRIST AND ONE IN CHRIST
Having been baptized into Christ, we must now put on Christ. To put on Christ is to live Christ. It is vital for Christians to realize that we need to put on Christ and live Him. According to Romans 13:14, we live Christ by putting on Christ.
To put on Christ is to clothe ourselves with Christ. Whenever we clothe ourselves in a certain way, we indicate that we intend to live in that way. In like manner, to put on Christ means that we live by Christ, in Christ, and with Christ. In particular, it means that we live out Christ. Christ becomes the expression of our living. Immediately after we have been put into Christ and have entered into an organic union with Him, we need to live Christ, to put Christ on in our living. Day by day, we need to be clothed with Christ and express Him as we live in Him, by Him, and with Him.
In 3:28 Paul says that we "are all one in Christ Jesus." This refers to the church life, the one Body, the one new man.
In 3:27 and 28 there are three crucial points. The first is that we enter into Christ; the second is that we put on Christ and express Christ by living Him; and the third is that we have the church life, where, in the one new man, the one Body, we are all one in Christ. If we have these three matters, God's eternal purpose will be fulfilled, and the desire of God's heart will be satisfied.
The book of Galatians shows that Paul was an excellent writer. After so much argument and debate in chapter three, Paul concludes by saying that we have been baptized into Christ, that we have put on Christ, and that we are all one in Christ. We who have the hearing of faith have been put into Christ. Now we need to live Christ and express Christ. This will cause us to be one in Christ in the church life.
The Galatian believers were foolish in going back to the law. Paul seemed to be telling them, "You have all been baptized into Christ and into the one Body. Now you should take Christ as your clothing, your expression, and live Him. Don't go back to the law to try to fulfill its requirements. Stay with Christ and live out Christ. Remember, you are members of the one Body, of the one new man. Stay with all those who are in Christ, and practice the church life so that God's purpose can be fulfilled. If you go back to the law, you will be in slavery again. The desire of God's heart cannot be satisfied by your efforts to keep the law. It can be satisfied only if you remain with Christ and live Him out." Praise the Lord that we have entered into an organic union with Him and that now we are living Christ in the church, the one Body. Surely this satisfies God.