Romans 6:4 — Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
We have seen that baptism proclaims our union with Christ and now are meditating on how we are called to live in the light of that union. Last time we saw how we should live given that we died with Christ. In the passage above, Paul makes it very clear that we were also buried with Christ.
The Christian life is described everywhere in Scripture as a new beginning. As one example, take the words of Paul to the Corinthian believers:
2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Old things are passed away and new things have come, he says. When we bury someone, we are putting their remains away. Their souls are parted from their bodies. They are lifeless, and there is no further use for them in this world. We understand, of course, that when the Lord returns these bodies will be reunited with their souls and raised for the final judgment, but in the meantime they are put away, finished with.
In everyday matters also, we understand the putting away of old things so that new things may come. Most of us do not continue to wear pairs of shoes that are cracked, worn and useless. We do not keep them on our feet while we try to put new shoes over the top! Rather, we take them off and dispose of them so that we may put the new shoes on.
It is precisely the same in the Christian life. We cannot live the old life of sin, fleshly and worldly pursuits at the very same time we are trying to live the new life of consecration to God, holiness and godliness. The old life has to be discarded - put away - buried. We must understand that when Christ was laid in the tomb, our old man (who had died in Him on the cross) was also laid to rest with Him. That person, as far as each true believer is concerned, is history - consigned to the past and never to put us back into the place of rebellion and condemnation again.
We use the phrase "dead and buried" idiomatically to indicate a complete and final end to something. If we say a business is dead and buried, we mean that it has ceased to trade and there is no hope that it will ever appear again. In the same way, believers should understand that their old man (the enemy of God and the slave of sin and Satan) is completely done away with because they are joined with Christ in His death and burial. While the believer may be troubled by residual sinful tendencies, the old man and all his loathsome characteristics can never return - he is dead and buried!
We are not very good at living in the light of these truths. It is a constant deception on the part of Satan to convince believers that the old man is still very much alive, and that we cannot live any differently now than we did before we came to know Christ. That is why so many passages in the New Testament call upon us to realize what has happened to us through our union with Christ and to live accordingly - to wake up and smell the coffee, effectively! So in the coming days, think of your baptism, of being joined to Christ and of your old man being buried with Him, and live your new life in the light of this wonderful truth!