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Romans 6:1-4 (NIV)

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

How do Protestants understand this passage regarding buried with Christ? What significant role does it has on the spiritual life of the baptized person?

Is this verse used as a scriptural support for Immersion Baptism?

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Protestant is not a useful qualifier here. Interpretations vary widely across denominations within protestantism. You might want "immersionists" or "sprinklers" or "method agnostics" or something to indicate the type of baptism that you're intending to discuss. this verse is interpreted differently by immersionists and sprinklers –  wax eagle Aug 15 '13 at 12:31

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I can only answer for my denomination (Baptist), but it was used as a supporting scripture for Immersion. During baptism, pastors would often say

Buried in the likeness of His death, raised in the likeness of His resurrection


...raised to walk in newness of life

The idea is that baptism is a the believer's public confession of faith. And the immersion itself is a symbol of Christ's burial and resurrection.

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I can cite that my Baptist-trained, nondenominational pastor defended immersion baptism, not with the passage you quoted, but with the evidence that the root of the word means "dip".

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Buried with Christ by baptism into death ( Romans 6:3).

What is baptism into death?

Let us first define what the word "baptism" means. It came from the Greek word βάπτισμα ( washing), from βάπτω ( to dip).Hence, baptism signifies "cleansing."

In Romans 6:3, baptism into death means "a cleansing involving Christ's death". This is what happened in what we call" death to sin" in verse 2. One who is baptized into Christ has been baptized into Christ's death and hence, has been baptized into death that is why it is said in verse 5 " we are united with him in the death like his."

Let us scrutinize each baptism ( cleansing,washing).

How are we cleansed/washed of sin by Christ himself?

The Gospel is all about Christ himself. It is his incarnation, crucifixion, burial, death and resurrection ( cf: John 1:1,14, 1 Corinthians 15:1-3). This Gospel is ,by its very word, the Good News. It's a Good News for those people whom he will save for the Good News itself is God's power of saving his people( cf: Matthew 1:21, Romans 1:16).

baptism into Christ = to received the Gospel ( Good News)by faith

It is by receiving the Good News by believing and trusting [ i.e. faith].

ROMANS 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of THE GOSPEL, for IT IS THE POWER OF GOD FOR SALVATION TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed FROM FAITH TO FAITH ,as it is written, “the righteous shall live BY FAITH.”

COLOSSIANS 2:12 having been BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM, in which you were also raised with him THROUGH FAITH in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

How are we cleansed/washed of sin by Christ's death?

baptism into Christ's death = justification by his blood

It is by justification. Christ's death involves his blood. It is by justification that we're cleansed for we're declared holy through faith in God’s work for salvation. Without the gospel God isn't able to save his people from sin ( cf: Romans 1:17, Hebrews 1:3).

ROMANS 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God


REVELATION 7:14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have WASHED their robes and made them white IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.

1 CORINTHIANS 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were WASHED, you were SANCTIFIED, you were JUSTIFIED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST and BY THE SPIRIT of our God.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place CALL UPON THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, both their Lord and ours:

ACTS 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be BAPTIZED and WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, CALLING ON HIS NAME.’

How are we cleansed/washed by death?

baptism into death is washing/cleansing involving death.

What sort of death is this?

Based on the context of Romans 6, it is about being "dead to sin" ( verses 2 & 11). It is about sanctification.

baptism into death = dead to sin

dead to sin = walk in newness of life

newness of life is the result of being born anew and renewal done by the Holy Spirit and received through faith ( cf: Titus 3:5, Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 2:12).

TITUS 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, BY THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

EPHESIANS 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts THROUGH FAITH; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love

COLOSSIANS 2:12 having been BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM, in which you were also raised with him THROUGH FAITH in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.


Baptism into Christ [by his life, death and resurrection - the Gospel]

Baptism into Christ's death [ specifically, in his death]

Paul just emphasized the believer's "baptism into Christ's death" which is part of the reality of being "baptized into Christ."

When one is baptized into Christ, the same is also baptized into his life, death and resurrection for all of these pertains to Christ.

The baptism into death is equivalent to dead to sin and being dead to sin is equivalent to walking in the newness of life.

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