Watchman Nee We have now two worlds before us, the old and the new. In the old, Satan has absolute dominion. You may be a good man in the old creation, but as long as you belong to the old you are under sentence of death, because nothing of the old can go over to the new. The Cross is God's declaration that all that is of the old creation must die. Nothing of the first Adam can pass beyond the Cross; it all ends there. The sooner we see that, the better, for it is by the Cross that God has made a way of escape for us from that old creation. God gathered up in the Person of His Son all that was of Adam and crucified Him; so in Him all that was of Adam was done away. Then God made, as it were, a proclamation throughout the universe saying: 'Through the Cross I have set aside all that is not of Me; you who belong to the old creation are all included in that; you too have been crucified with Christ!' None of us can escape that verdict.
This brings us to the subject of baptism. "Are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death" (Rom. 6. 3, 4). What is the significance of these words? Baptism in Scripture is associated with salvation. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16.16). We are involved in Satan's world-system. To be saved is to make our exit from his world-system into God's.
In the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, says Paul, "the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6.14). This is the figure developed by Peter when he writes of the eight souls who were “saved through water" (I Peter 3.20). Entering into the ark, Noah and those with him stepped by faith out of that old corrupt world into a new one. It was not so much that they were personally not drowned, but that they were out of that corrupt system. That is salvation.
Then Peter goes on: "Which also after a true likeness (mg. 'in the antitype') doth now save you, even baptism" (verse 2, 1). In other words, by that aspect of the Cross which is figured in baptism you are delivered from this present evil world, and, by your baptism in water, you confirm this. It is baptism “into his death", ending one creation; but it is also baptism "into Christ Jesus", having in view a new one (Rom. 6.3). You go down into the water and your world, in figure, goes down with you. You come up in Christ, but your world is drowned.