Terry Baxter Devotional

Don’t Be a Grave Digger: Romans 6:5-7

Don’t Be a Grave Digger: Romans 6:5-7
“5) For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6) knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7) for he who has died is freed from sin. Romans‬ ‭6:5-7‬
This is a difficult truth to embrace experientially. Paul says we were united with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. That means we have been freed from sin because we died with Christ. We are no longer slaves. Sin is no longer our master… unless we let it rule over us by ignorance or default. We now have a new Master in Jesus Christ and we can walk in newness of life in the Holy Spirit.
But most of us are grave diggers. We go back over and over again and dig up our fleshly sinful past. We are now locked in an inner battle. Every time a temptation comes our way we rationalize and start thinking; “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” And what do sinners do? They sin! So we become grave diggers in our thinking and empower sin and our flesh. We give them life.
But that little statement is not true for a born-again Christian. The truth is: “I was a sinner that was saved by Grace, and at that moment I became a saint that can live in freedom through the Spirit; but I am still capable of sin if I decide to become a grave digger and empower my
When I discovered the truth of the above two paragraphs, my victory level radically changed, mostly because my excuses and deception were gone. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from sinless, but I am no longer powerless. I am not a slave to sin. When temptation comes, it is no longer a compulsion, rather it is a willful act of disobedience. It happens because I lose the inner battle of truth and surrender to my will and my flesh to sin.
This is part of what Jesus talked about in John 8:31-32 where He said, “you shall know truth and the truth shall make you free.” It is so easy to rationalize and explain away what Jesus said in Romans 6-8, but the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to speak the truth. It is our job to embrace the truth and reckon ourselves as dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6-8 will be a frequent part of your journey to maturity, sanctification, walking in the Spirit and practical holiness. I have come back to these chapters over and over again since 1973 when I trusted in Jesus. I no longer argue with the principles laid out in these chapters. My only goal now is to love Jesus and embrace truth. When temptation comes my way, and it often does, I now try to surrender as quickly as possible to Jesus. I want to honor Him as Master.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

In The Likeness of His Resurrection: Romans 6:4-5

In The Likeness of His Resurrection: Romans 6:4-5
“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. 5) For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,”. Romans‬ ‭6:4-5‬
If you understand these verses, there is a two way transaction that takes place. We are baptized into His death on the cross so that our sins are totally paid for, but He goes way beyond that and places us into His resurrection life. We died with Him so that we might live with Him.
But the meaning goes even deeper. Prior to being born-again by faith in Jesus Christ, the life that we lived was basic “bios” or “biological life.” It could be understood as life on a physical level. But when we place faith in Christ, He gives us what the Bible calls “Zoe” life. This could be called “Spiritual Life.” This enables us to “walk in newness of life.” This is the God kind of Life.
But you say; “I object, I still look and feel very human.” So did Jesus, but without sin and Satan being His Master. We become like Him. Being born-again means our very essence changes. At the moment of salvation we are filled with the Holy Spirit. From that point forward it is possible for us to live and walk in the Spirit. Unfortunately, our flesh is still alive as well and this can set up the inner war Paul talked about in Galatians 5:16-24.
We could say that the Christian life brings on a metamorphosis every bit as real as the caterpillar crawling into a cocoon. It is a mystery, but soon new life emerges. The butterfly looks very different from the caterpillar that made the cocoon. From the moment it spreads its wings, it leaves caterpillar life behind. It will never crawl through life again.
So also the Christian has every resource in Christ to leave their old life behind and walk in newness of life. Just as we come to Christ by grace through faith, we daily step into our new life the same way. The process of spiritual growth is a precious journey that leaves the old behind and embraces everything new in Christ.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Mystery of Being Baptized into His Death. Romans 6:3-4

The Mystery of Being Baptized into His Death. Romans 6:3-4
“3) Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 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.” Romans‬ ‭6:3-4‬
Paul now introduces one of the most mind bending mysteries in the entire Bible. The moment someone becomes a believer and is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, they metaphysically enter into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ with Him.
This truth became real to me years ago back in high school when I was memorizing the book of Galatians. For years Galatians 2:20 became my favorite verse; “20) I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Notice that Paul again talks about the mystery of “being crucified with Christ.”
Peter said something similar in 1 Peter 3:18-22. Only in this text he compares being baptized into the body of Christ with Noah and the ark going through the judgement of the flood. As we read that text, a beautiful picture develops as a comparison between Christ on the cross and the ark going through the flood.
Just like God told Noah to prepare an ark for the judgment of the flood, so God prepared His own Son for the judgment of the cross. But who were saved in the days of Noah? According to Hebrews 11:7, it was only those who had the faith to enter the ark. Noah preached and offered a way of salvation for people to repent and enter the ark, but only Noah and his family believed and were saved. Only eight people went through the judgment of the flood in the ark.
So let’s take another big step in our thinking that clarifies this text. Who went through the judgement of the flood? The answer is everyone in that generation including Noah and his family. But what was the difference. They were safe because the ark endured the judgement of the flood for them. By faith they entered the ark.
“And corresponding to that”… , every human will face the judgment of God’s wrath on sin because we have all sinned. However, the believer goes through that judgement “in Christ.” He is our “ark” to bring us safely through. By faith every believer is metaphysically placed “in Christ“ on the cross, in the grave and in His resurrection. Believers will not face God’s future wrath because by faith we stand before Him baptized “into Christ.”
Notice in Genesis 7:16 it specifically says that God closed the door of the ark behind them. He sealed it. In the same way the New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit is given as our “seal of our salvation.” (See Ephesians 1:13-14) He baptizes us into the body of Christ and seals us safely in the ark of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:13) This whole transaction is based on faith in the simple message of the gospel.
Jesus became our ark to bear the judgment of sin on the cross just as the the ark bore the judgement of the flood for Noah and his family. They went through the judgement of the flood just like everyone else, but they were safe because they were in the ark. So we pass through the judgement for our sin “safe in Christ.”
The moment we place faith in Jesus, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into His body which became our ark to bare the judgment of the cross for us. We are safe because by faith we were “in Christ” on the cross when he was crucified. I believe this is a small slice of what Paul was saying in Romans 6:3-4.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Erasing The Baptism Confusion: Romans 6:3-7

Erasing The Baptism Confusion: Romans 6:3-7
“3) Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 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. 5) For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6) knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7) for he who has died is freed from sin.” Romans‬ ‭6:3-7‬
There is a cloud that hangs over these verses. Some churches believe in what is called “Baptismal Regeneration.” They believe that the churches ceremony of water baptism is what brings salvation, then they look at these verses to substantiate that claim.
But this runs contrary to Paul’s argument in the book of Romans that justification is by faith and not human works. If circumcision did not save Abraham in the Old Testament, how could the ceremony of baptism save people in the New Testament? (Review Romans 4:10-17)
But there is another baptism accomplished by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation talked about in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 12:13 says; “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” This in indeed what Paul is describing in Romans 6:3-7.
At the moment of salvation the Holy Spirit places (baptizes) the new believer into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We die with Him that we might also live with Him. We are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.
It is nearly impossible to read this text without remembering the words of Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3:1-16. He says that being “born-again” requires both a physical birth and a spiritual birth. (See John 3:5-6) The conversation culminates with John 3:16 where personal belief or faith in Christ is the basis of receiving eternal life. No place in the text is a ceremony by a church mentioned. In fact, the church did not come into existence until at least Acts chapter two.
Human Religion always tries to place itself as the doorkeeper of heaven. This is a false and twisted view of Scripture. Those who take the time to study the full context of Romans 5-8, discover the ministry of the Holy Spirit is mentioned multiple times, while the church is not mentioned at all.
There is no doubt for even the casual reader of the book of Romans to conclude that Paul is referring to the wonderful phenomenon accomplished by the Holy Spirit at the moment of personal saving faith in this context. He baptizes the new believer into Jesus Christ. The act of water baptism is merely an outward picture of this inward reality accomplished by the Spirit of God.
The opens another sad but troubling conversation. Over the years I have asked countless people what is the basis of their hope of salvation? Many tragically point to the fact that they were baptized as an infant into the Christian faith. I point out that they are believing in something not taught in the Bible. The Bible always places personal saving faith in Jesus Christ before water baptism. (See Acts 8:36-37 and Acts 16:29-34)
Never does the Bible confuse the doctrine of justification by faith with a human ceremony. In fact, as Christianity spread, Paul refrained from water baptism so as not to confuse the gospel message. See 1 Corinthians 1:13-17 as a powerful testimony of this fact.
If you are one of those who are religious but not born-again, I would encourage you to read the gospel of John and the book of Romans over and over again while asking the Holy Spirit to clarify the gospel. This confusion may be the single greatest error Satan is using in traditional churches to keep people blind to the truth of the Gospel. Personal saving faith in Jesus Christ is the only basis of salvation taught in the Bible.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Refuting the False Notion of Grace: Romans 6:1-2

Refuting the False Notion of Grace: Romans 6:1-2
“1) What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2) May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans‬ ‭6:1-2‬
Paul had many critics to his teaching about grace and justification by faith. The main objection was that Paul was teaching that grace nullified the Law thereby granting license to sin and lawlessness. By removing the Law he was throwing out a call to righteousness.
But Paul did not throw out the Law. He merely pointed out that the Law was never intended to be a means of salvation. The purpose of the Law was to establish the lost and sinful condition of humanity. (Review Romans 3:19-20)
The Law paved the way for the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the need for an alternative means of salvation apart from self-righteousness. The Law became the door keeper of grace and the doctrine of justification by faith.
But I must concede to the critics of Paul. Many Christians wrongfully view grace as an excuse for sinful living. They have a false and twisted understanding of grace.
Stay tuned as Paul unpacks the true meaning of grace and explains the full meaning of the Gospel. Romans 6-8 explains how grace is the enemy of sin and the pathway to freedom, righteousness, holiness and walking in the Spirit. Paul is about to explain the dynamics of what it means to be born-again to newness of life.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Contrast Between The Law And Grace: Romans 5:20-21p

Contrast Between The Law And Grace: Romans 5:20-21
“20) The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21) that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans‬ ‭5:20-21‬
Paul closes Romans chapter five with one more contrast. This time it is between the Law and grace. He stresses again that the Law came in that transgression might increase. The Law was not intended to save people, but rather to prove the guilt of sin beyond all doubt and to show that they are worthy of death.
By contrast, grace abounded all the more and paved the way for righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ. Just as the Law reigned bringing death, much more grace reigns unto eternal life.
These two verses put the final nail in the coffin of works based religion. Any effort to be accepted by God on the basis keeping the Law or self-righteousness is futile. It only amplifies how bad we have missed the mark. When measured by the Law there is no guest question of my sin and guilt.
I join with Paul in celebrate amazing grace. I put all my faith and hope in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross as the payment for my sin and the basis for my salvation.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Contrast Between Death and Life: Romans 5:17-19

Contrast Between Death and Life: Romans 5:17-19
“17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18) So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19) For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” Romans‬ ‭5:17-19‬
Paul now begins to focus on an important distinction between Adam and Christ. Just as Adam’s sin and transgression became the basis of death and condemnation for the whole human race, so the condemnation of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross became the only basis of forgiveness and justification for the human race. There is no other means of salvation but through faith in Jesus Christ. (See Acts 4:8-12)
Let me erase a confusion some have based on these verses. The transgression of Adam did bring death to the entire human race, but the death of Jesus Christ on the cross does not mean that every human is automatically saved. However, the atonement of Jesus Christ did open the door for salvation and justification by faith to those who believe in the Gospel and receive Jesus Christ through personal faith. According to Romans 5:19, there will be many who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul now begins a transition into the second part of the gospel message. Though it was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His burial that became the basis of human redemption and forgiveness, it was His resurrection that became the basis of new life imparted to every believer. This will be Paul’s theme as we move into chapter six.
This is what separates Christianity from every other world religion. They all had founders who died, but only Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead by the power of God. Christianity is not about death, it is about life.
Paul states this point very clearly in Romans 5:17. Let me quote the verse for emphasis. “17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
Note the contrast between death and life! Adam brought death, but Christ brought life. But notice that this life is to those “who receive the abundance of grace.” There needs to be a personal faith response to the gospel. Believers are the ones who will reign in life through Jesus Christ.
From this point forward in the book of Romans, Paul is going to focus on the new life through the Holy Spirit that begins to emerge in every true believer. Christianity is about life and not death. It is about forgiveness and not wrath and condemnation. It is about our future and not our past. It is about the Spirit and not our flesh. It is about being set free and not enslaved. It is good news and not bad news.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Contrast Between Adam and Christ: Romans 5:15-17

Contrast Between Adam and Christ: Romans 5:15-17
“15) But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16) The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans‬ ‭5:15-17‬
Paul now makes a crucial comparison between Adam and Christ. He starts both verses 15 and 16 by saying that the free gift through Christ is not like the transgression that came through Adam. They are similar in that Adam’s transgression affected the whole human race, just like Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. (See John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2) They are different in that death spread to all people through Adam’s transgression, but the free gift of salvation is only applied to believers. Justification is by personal faith in Jesus Christ through the Gospel. Romans 5:17 amplifies this point when Paul said; “… much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
I recognize there is disagreement from strict Calvinists on this point, especially if they hold to the concept of the limited atonement of Christ. With circular reasoning they argue that Christ died only for the elect, because in the end His atonement will only be applied to the elect.
Though there is some merit to the final point, I would say that Romans and the whole Bible consistently teaches that Jesus died for the whole world, and salvation is reckoned only to those who are justified by faith. This is the thrust of the book of Romans through chapter eight. Looking back, we will discover that those justified by faith were the elect, but looking forward is much more difficult to identify them. I have met many among the frozen chosen who show no evidence of conversion. By the way, I consider myself a biblically balanced Calvinist. I agree with much of what Calvinism teaches but I am not dogmatic.
I find no value in arguing these points. It is much more productive to simply preach the Word than it is to argue theology. Our call is to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world while trusting the Holy Spirit to convert those Whom Jesus is calling to Himself. This call has never been more urgent or needed than today. God’s people need to carry the good news of the gospel courageously into the world and our culture today. The Great Commission is as binding today as in any time of church history.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Doctrine of Original Sin: Romans 6:12-14

The Doctrine of Original Sin: Romans 6:12-14
“12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13) for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” Romans‬ ‭5:12-14‬ ‭
Paul now makes an important observation about the entire human race. He establishes what is often called “The Doctrine of Original Sin.” Not only was the guilt of Adam’s sin passed on to all of his descendants, so was a tendency or predisposition toward sin. This text establishes the point that all people are sinners both by nature and by personal choice.
It appears that both the guilt of Adam’s original sin and the nature to sin are both passed on through the male at the time of conception. This is what makes the virgin birth of Jesus Christ so important. Because God was His Father, Jesus Christ had neither the stain or guilt of Adam’s original sin over His life, nor did He have a sin nature. He was in every way sinless.
In the same way, because Mary was His mother, Jesus was therefore part of the human race and could become a substitutionary atonement for all of humanity. He was the sinless Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) He was a “type” of Adam with a clean slate. (Romans 5:14)
But Paul makes another point in these three verses that is very significant. In both Romans 3:19-20 and 4:15, he had stressed the point that the violation of the Law is the basis of establishing guilt and placing the sinner under Gods wrath. The problem is that the Law was not given until Moses. So does that mean that all people who lived prior to the giving of the Law were innocent?
In tackling this objection, Paul points out that death reigned over all humanity from Adam to Moses. (See Romans 5:14) People from every generation died. How can we explain this apparent inconsistency?
The answer is found way back in Genesis 2:16-17. God’s original command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the consequence of death, were given to Adam prior to his transgression. It was his willful breaking of this basic command that placed him and all of his descendants under the condemnation of death. The doctrine of the universal guilt of sin on the entire human race is actually illustrated by the physical death of all people who lived prior to Moses and the giving of the Law. It serves to punctuate the Doctrine of Original Sin.
This brings us to another commonly asked question; “What about the innocent?” What about newly born children who are in a state of innocence because they have not committed personal sin? The Bible constantly points out that the original sin of Adam is passed on at the moment of conception. For example, in Psalm 51:5 David observes; “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Again, I stress that because of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ was the only human ever conceived without the stain of Adam’s original sin and the resulting death sentence on their life.
In these three verses, Paul convincingly argues both the concept of original sin and the concept of a sin nature in all people. The result is that all people are sinners and worthy of the judgement of death. (See Romans 3:23 and 6:23) When properly understood, this doctrine underlines the urgency of the Gospel.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Introduction to the Holy Spirit: Romans 5:5

Introduction to the Holy Spirit: Romans 5:5
“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans‬ ‭5:5‬
Justification happens the moment we place saving faith in Jesus Christ. At that instant we are born-again. We become a child of God. But it is not a cold or static event. It is more like tipping the first domino that starts a chain reaction in our lives.
Everything Paul talked about in Romans 5:1-5 begins to unfold immediately… and much more. Why? Because at the moment of salvation we are both sealed and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is a New Testament phenomenon that does not come through the Law or in the Old Testament. This is the promise Jesus made to His disciples. (See John 14:16-21)
From the moment of salvation forward, the Holy Spirit is active in the life of the believer. He begins the process of changing them from the inside out. This is often referred to as the doctrine of sanctification. He works to bring our character and conduct into harmony with our justification.
Romans 5:5 says that this includes pouring out the love of God within our hearts. The word “love” in this verse is “agape.” I simply call this “the God kind of love.” Both 1 John 4:8 and 16 say that “God is love.” This kind of love is connected to the very character and nature of God. It is part of His essence.
In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit; “22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” This is a broader panoramic view of Romans 5:8. It is also a character portrait of Jesus Himself.
As the sanctification process unfolds, each believer should begin to reflect this image of Christ. Paul hints at this in Romans 8:29-30. God predestines us to become conformed to the image of His Son.
A common mistake many young Christians make is focusing more on the power of the Holy Spirit “through them” rather than the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit “in them” producing personal holiness and Christ likeness. I am learning that the “through them” is intimately connected to the “in them.”
Let me be candid, God can work through a dumb mule to accomplish a given work, but He doesn’t ordain mules into full time fruitful ministries. In the same way, the Holy Spirit can do amazing things through anyone, but a life of fruitfulness comes from abiding in Jesus and His Word on a daily basis. Read the full context of John 14-16 and the promised ministry of the Holy Spirit. Notice the emphasis Jesus made in John 15. He wants us to abide in Him. He wants us to bear much fruit.
If you are a new Christian, I encourage you to start an extended biblical study of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as soon as possible. If Satan cannot stop a person from becoming a Christian, he will work overtime to keep them ignorant, timid or confused about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Make walking in the Spirit a life long pursuit.
Read and listen to what others have to say about the Holy Spirit, but make this subject a life long study of your own. As you read your Bible over and over again, be diligent to underline, highlight, take notes and compare everything the Bible says about the Holy Spirit.
I have been a believer since 1973 and this subject is more meaningful, precious and insightful for me than ever before. God is constantly coloring in the picture with compounded new understanding. I am confident He will do the same for you as well.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global