Our baptism is our means of declaring that we stand on the ground of this New Man – the Risen Christ. We have died to one manhood, one mankind (the old race of Adam); we have ceased, voluntarily, to have a life in that relationship (to Adam). In our innermost being a severance has taken place, a circumcision inwardly of the heart has taken place, and we have passed out from all that, by way of a grave; and now we occupy, in Christ risen, the ground of another order, another man, another kind; we are alive unto God.
That is what we mean when we are baptized. We have said, earlier, that baptism as an ordinance effects nothing: but but baptism is the New Testament means given for declaring a fact which exists, and the poignant point of this is that every man and woman of Adam has been baptized, all the sinners in the world today have been baptized. I do not mean that they have gone into a baptismal pool or been sprinkled. I mean that, in the baptism – the death – of Christ, the whole world was taken and given the chance of a new relationship, had it provided for them, carried out for them, effected on their behalf; and if every man and woman in the whole creation is lost, it will not be because they were not redeemed, but because they have not accepted their redemption, they have not taken the place which Christ has secured for them. Our invitation, our call, our beseeching, our entreaty, is that men will come into the thing which God has done for them in Christ. They are there, but they have to declare that they are there before it is made good for them. Our baptism is the testimony to the fact that we are on this ground of the new man, and that, accordingly, heaven is open for us, the face of God is turned towards us in Christ – a new creation, “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6), on the ground of this heavenly Man.