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Into Before In

By Mark K. Lewis

religion, articles, christianity

Faithful Christians have long used the argument, concerning baptism, that one must enter "into" Christ before he can be "in" him. Since all spiritual blessings (grace, which includes the spiritual gifts of God, would be a part of "all spiritual blessings" [Eph. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:1]), are "in Christ," it behooves us to enter "into" him.

How does one get "into" Christ? Through baptism: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27); "Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" (Rom. 6:3). Just as one must enter into a building before he can be said to be in it, even so a person must enter into Christ, through baptism, before he can be to be in him, where all spiritual blessings, including the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7), are found.

This is not sophistry. The Bible recognizes this concept that one must go "into" before he is "in." In Mark 1:12­13, we read: "And ... the Spirit driveth him forth into (Gk. eis) the wilderness. And he was in (Gk., en) the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan." Notice that Jesus had to go "into" the wilderness before he was "in" the wilderness. Both the Greek and the English make this distinction. There is no brilliance of detection here; such is just plain common sense that men apply in all walks of life - except, it seems, when it comes to the Bible doctrine of baptism.

Let us continue to use this argument with the force that it deserves. One cannot be "in" something until he first goes "into" it. Thus, one cannot be "in" Christ unless he has first entered "into" him through baptism. This is the truth to which both Scripture and reason attest.

Published September 1997