Jesus? submission to John?s baptism of repentance, the rite that belonged only to sinners, can be explained only upon the ground that he was ?made to be sin on our behalf? ( <470521>2 Corinthians 5:21). He had taken our nature upon him, without its hereditary corruption indeed, but with all its hereditary guilt, that he might redeem that nature and reunite it to God. As one with humanity, he had in his unconscious childhood submitted to the rites of circumcision, purification and legal redemption ( <420221>Luke 2:21-24; cf. <021302>Exodus 13:2, 13 see Lange, Alford, Webster and Wilkinson on <420224> Luke 2:24) ? all of those rites appointed for sinners. ?Made in the likeness of men? ( <502007>Philippians 2:7), ?the likeness of sinful flesh?
( <450803>Romans 8:3), he was ?to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself? ( <580926>Hebrews 9:26).
In his baptism, therefore, he could say, ?Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness? ( <400315>Matthew 3:15). Because only through the final baptism of suffering and death, which this baptism in water foreshadowed, could he ?make an end of sins? and ?bring in everlasting righteousness? (Dan 9:24) to the condemned and ruined world. He could not be ?the Lord our Righteousness? ( <242306>Jeremiah 23:6), except by first suffering the death due to the nature he had assumed, thereby delivering it from its guilt and perfecting it forever. All this was indicated in that act by which he was first ?made manifest to Israel? ( <430131>John 1:31). In his baptism in Jordan, he was buried in the likeness of his coming death and raised in the likeness of his coming resurrection. <620506>1 John 5:6 ? ?This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not in the water only but in the water and in the blood? = in the baptism of water at the beginning of his ministry and in the baptism of blood, which was to close that ministry.
As that baptism pointed forward to Jesus? death, so our baptism points backward by the same, as the center and substance of his redeeming work, the one death by which we live. We who are ?baptized into Christ? are ?baptized into his death? ( <450603>Romans 6:3), that is, into spiritual communion and participation in that death which he died for our salvation. In short, in baptism we declare in symbol that his death has become ours. On the Baptism of Jesus, see A. H. Strong, Philosophy and Religion, 226-237.
(b) The correlative truth of the believer?s death and resurrection, set forth in baptism implies a confession of sin and humiliation on account of it, as deserving of death, a declaration of Christ?s death for sin, and of the believer?s acceptance of Christ?s substitutive work. It implies an
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