Special significance is rightfully attached to the fact that as often as three times, when relating the saving events through which Christ passed, the Scriptures include His burial. It is written: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3-4); "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:2-4); "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh b the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead" (Col. 2:11-12). Speaking of these three passages it may be indicated that the first refers to Christ's death, burial, and resurrection as a ground for the salvation of the lost. This Scripture is the recognized declaration of that which enters into the gospel of God's saving grace. The two remaining passages refer to Christ's death as judgment on the sin nature of those who are saved—that aspect of His death which provides freedom for the Holy Spirit to control the sin nature as that for which Christ has paid the penalty. It is the ground of the believer's experimental sanctification, which aspect of sanctification is made possible by and is wholly dependent on what Christ has accomplished. The death of Christ is referred to in Colossians 2:11-12 as His circumcision which was a substitution for others, whereas the other passage—Romans 6:2-4—adds crucifixion to that which Christ wrought as substitute for others. Thus the judgments against the believer's sin nature which demanded crucifixion, death, and burial with Christ to the end that he might share in His resurrection life fell upon Christ as substitute. Christ suffered these judgments on behalf of others.
The truth now under contemplation is that Christ's burial has been listed as an important factor in each of these three passages cited above, and as having doctrinal meaning. Regardless of disclosure, too little emphasis has been given this subject by theologians. In the matter of His bearing the sins of the unsaved, the burial of Christ is foreshadowed by the "scapegoat." This type is full and clear. Two goats were required on the Day of Atonement to represent typically that which Christ wrought. One goat was slain and its blood was sprinkled as a purification and cleansing. To the second goat was transmitted the sins of the people and that goat was led away into the wilderness to be seen no more. In His death for the unsaved, accordingly, Christ provided His blood which is efficacious for the cleansing and the judgment of sin, but also He took away sin (cf. John 1:29; Heb. 9:26; 10:4, 9, 11). That final disposition of sin is accomplished in His burial. He went into the tomb a sin offering sacrificed unto death. He came out completely unrelated to the burden of sin. Such is the doctrinal significance of the words, "and ... was buried." There could be no tracing of the disposition of sin achieved in the tomb as there never was tracing of the further life and existence of the scapegoat after it was released in the wilderness. In that burial which was an aspect of Christ's undertaking in behalf of the believer's sin nature, too, there is also evidently a disposition of those judgments which duly fell upon Him. Into this, again, none can enter with clear understanding. Its immeasurable reality is known only to God.
It should be observed that the Apostle employs at times a technical word in place of the more common word, to bury. He declares that the believer's body is sown when placed in the grave (cf. 1 Cor.
15:42-44). A thing may be buried to dispose of it or to the end that it may be forgotten, but that which is sown is done with the expectation that something will come up where the seed was placed. The believer's body must be raised, and will at length be raised at the coming of Christ (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
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