Baptism as Gracious Initiation
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.” Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believed on him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness (Rom 4.3-5, CSB).
For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified (Rom 8.29-30, CSB).
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28.17-20, CSB).
Baptism as Gracious Resource
What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin (Rom 6.1-7, CSB).
For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise (Gal 3.27-29, CSB).
You were also circumcised in him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of Christ, when you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead (Col 2.11-12, CSB).
Baptism is a biographical fact of life. A change has happened. God has done something to you. … All of us must take our cue from baptism and do less talking about what people ought to do or be and do more proclamation of who people are. (Will Willimon).