5 For if [since] we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Verse five is the reason behind verse four. Our identity in Christ is symbolized by baptism.
The “if” here means since or in view of the fact. It is a fact that Christians were “united together in the likeness of His death” at a point in the past—their salvation. It is a fact or certainty that believers are united with Christ’s death and resurrection.
we have been united together,
The word “united” means made to grow together. The idea in classical Greek carries the thought of fusing broken ends of a bone. The idea is close union. Life from Christ runs through Him.
The words “have been” denote an action of the past (salvation) resulting in the state of being united or vitally connected with Christ permanently.
in the likeness of His death
“Likeness” shows our recognition in Christ. Christians have concrete representation in what Christ has done. They have passed from the epoch of Adam to the epoch of new life or capacity in Christ. We are more like Christ than Adam. Christians are fused together with the epoch-ending position in Christ.
Our position in Christ’s death and resurrection does not imply that we share Christ’s death and resurrection in every respect. Christ was literally buried in the tomb; our burial with Him was metaphorical. His death was physical; ours was not.
certainly we also shall be [logical progression] in the likeness of His resurrection,
The believer’s experience with resurrection in Christ is epoch changing. This is the logical inference of our identity in Christ. The death of Christ was not His end; it led to His resurrection. The believer’s death to sin resulted in resurrection to the epoch-changing life with Christ. We are now free from the sin capacity in Adam. This is what Paul referred to in Philippians 3:10 as the “power of His resurrection.”
The reign of grace has indeed replaced the reign of the sin capacity in Adam (Ro 5:12-21). In this passage, Jesus died “to” sin, not for sin.
Union with Christ carries with it participation in the prerogatives that He owns.
Positional truth of our union with Christ is how God views our status in Christ. God sees us with eternal life now. We have this position forever. We are united or one with Christ forever.
The believer participates in the death and resurrection in the present. The resurrection of Christ brings about the spiritual resurrection of the believer. We can experience resurrection life in time. That is why Christians cannot live an antinomian life; we have new life and new capacity in Christ. The Christian begins this new life immediately upon salvation. We die with Christ, then we live with Him. This is a vital, living union with Christ. That is a new type of life. We order our lives as Christians in the power of this new life.
Every believer knows what it is to struggle with sin daily. We know about the forgiveness of the penalty of our sin on the cross. Few, however, know what positionally happened on the cross to their sin capacity inherited from Adam, when at their salvation a new capacity was launched in Christ. The new capacity is a restraint on sin.