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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 52

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 52.—In Baptism, Which is the Similitude of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, All, Both Infants and Adults, Die to Sin that They May Walk in Newness of Life.

And after he has said as much about the condemnation through one man, and the free gift through one man, as he deemed sufficient for that part of his epistle, the apostle goes on to speak of the great mystery of holy baptism in the cross of Christ, and to clearly explain to us that baptism in Christ is nothing else than a similitude of the death of Christ, and that the death of Christ on the cross is nothing but a similitude of the pardon of sin: so that just as real as is His death, so real is the remission of our sins; and just as real as is His resurrection, so real is our justification. He says: “What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” 1176 For he had said previously, “But where sin, abounded, grace did much more abound.” 1177 And therefore he proposes to himself the question, whether it would be right to continue in sin for the sake of the consequent abounding grace. But he answers, “God forbid;” and adds, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Then, to show that we are dead to sin, “Know ye not,” he says, “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?” If, then, the fact that we were baptized into the death of Christ proves that we are dead to sin, it follows that even infants who are baptized into Christ die to sin, being baptized into His death. For there is no exception made: “So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death.” And this is said to prove that we are dead to sin. Now, to what sin do infants die in their regeneration but that sin which they bring with them at birth? And therefore to these also applies what follows: “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now he had commenced with proving that we must not continue in sin that grace may abound, and had said: “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” And to show that we are dead to sin, he added: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?” And so he concludes this whole passage just as he began it. For he has brought in the death of Christ in such a way as to imply that Christ Himself also died to sin. To what sin did He die if not to the flesh, in which there was not sin, but the likeness of sin, and which was therefore called by the name of sin? To those who are baptized into the death of Christ, then,—and this class includes not adults only, but infants as well,—he says: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1178


Footnotes

254:1176

Rom. 6.1Rom. vi. 1

254:1177

Rom. 5.20Rom. v. 20

254:1178

Rom. 6.1-11Rom. vi. 1-11


Next: Chapter 53

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