“buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
This verse explains when the circumcision of verse 11 occurred. At that time, a believer is buried and raised with Christ. This verse is a statement of what Jesus achieved by his death on the cross. It boils down to our incorporation into his status before God. God puts off our old life at the moment of salvation. This burial is our positional union with Christ in God’s eyes.
The third result of the work of Christ on the cross is our burial with him.
“buried with Him in baptism”
The words “buried with” mean to bury together, join in burying, or to be buried with. The term “with” indicates a “co” relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a co-burial. We must bury anything dead. When Jesus was buried, we were buried. God buried us along with Jesus Christ! This burial obviously does not mean that God put us into the same tomb as Jesus and laid us down beside him!
Colossians describes our burial “with Him” as having already taken place. We were identified with Christ in his burial. “Buried with” here is only in the figurative sense (Romans 6:4). We are identified with Christ in his burial as set forth in his baptism.
“Baptism” here is not water baptism. It is Spirit baptism. Spirit baptism is an action of the Holy Spirit, whereby he puts the believer into the body of Christ (i.e., our salvation). Water baptism is a physical demonstration of what the Holy Spirit did. We should not emphasize the physical object; the importance is what the Holy Spirit did at our salvation. Water baptism is simply the illustration of Spirit baptism in physical movements.
The Christian is both buried and raised with Christ positionally.
Positional truth is like a prisoner who has been made legally free, but he remains in prison, not knowing that he is free to walk out the door. The Christian is legally free from the penalty and consequences of sin. God strips the flesh of its legal power over us. As God reckons, he identifies us with Christ. God cannot see us for Jesus.
That person that we were before Christ is dead in the sight of God. That individual is dead and buried. God wants us to reckon as he reckons us. Our position in Christ is eternal, infallible, and unalterable.
When we act like we did before we came to Christ, we act out of character. It is like putting on a Halloween mask. When we act like that, we fool those around us. We masquerade in make-believe. We play the hypocrite. No one else may know, but God does. God does not want us to pretend that we are not Christians. He will haul us off to the woodshed if we do it too often. He will not put up with trifling. God will allow us to go so far, and then he will pull us up short.