Baptism Into Christ = Baptism Into Christ’s Death 


For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)

Two comments from Origen (martyred in 254AD) on being baptized into Christ which also means being baptized into Christ’s death, which Origen notes is the kind of death that God gives: one that leads to life (union with God) rather than to separation from God which is the type of death which comes from sin:

… the wages that sin gives are called death, not that death that separates the body from the soul, but that [death] in which the soul is separated from God by means of sin. Moreover, we are said to be baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3), doubtless, into that death in which he died to sin once and for all (Romans 6:10-11), so that we also might be separated from sin and live to God. For the one who dies by a death of this sort is said to be justified from sin (Romans 6:7). So then, a distinction must be made because, although, to be sure, God is said to kill and to hand over to death, this is the kind of death that is given by God to confer life. For nothing evil is given by the [One who is] good, though it may bring grief and it may involve plenty of sorrow. Nevertheless, it is bestowed with healing in view and with the intention of restoring health, so that the severity of the harsh treatment might separate the soul from sin, that soul that the allurement and charm of sin had separated from God. But sin, on the other hand, whatever it doles out, whatever it confers, is the death of the soul, even if it lavishes out wages.”  (COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS Books 6-10, pp 19)


Origen notes the death given by God though painful and causing grief, still leads to healing and eternal life. Sin on the other hand leads to a death which is separation from God and separation from all that is good. This death is actually given as a wage – we earn it through our sinfulness. Sin lavishly pays those it owes for their work. So, we have to labor our way into sin’s death, whereas God’s life is freely given as a gift. In baptism we are crucified with Christ and are buried with Him, which frees us from the demands of Torah.


Doubtless, when we died with Christ and were buried together with him through baptism and were crucified with him (Romans 6:4-8). And for this reason he says, ‘Having died, we have been discharged from the law’ (Romans 7:6). For unless someone has died with Christ, he is not discharged from the law. I am aware as well that in some copies it is written, ‘from the law of death in which we were being held.‘ This, however i. e., ‘having died,’ is both truer and more correct. (COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS Books 6-10, pp 27-28)


In the last sentence Origen is noting that already in the 3rd Century they were aware that Scripture, God’s word, had variant texts. If one went around reading the different handwritten manuscripts of Scripture in various locations one would note that all the texts did not perfectly agree. Origen believes some of these texts were more correct than others, however he does not claim the variant texts are of no value as they all come from antiquity and were believed by some communities. For him, some texts are more consistent with the total tradition of the Church than others.