Thank you, my dear friend, for this very excellent question. I believe that the thoughts you reference are nicely outlined in Romans 6:3-11, and I would encourage you to study this entire section. I will select a few of these and other verses which I believe can be helpful in understanding what it means to “be crucified with Christ.

First of all, I’m sure you’ll agree that before we have trusted in Christ for our salvation, our standing before God is that we are sinners, and on the road to judgment (Romans 3:23, 6:23, and Hebrews 9:27). Once we have believed on Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit enters us, and we are “saved” (see Ephesians 2:8-9; John 5:24). Thus, once we have believed the Gospel message, we are forgiven for our sins, and we are saved from judgment for having broken God’s perfect standard, the Law. But the moment we are saved, the Holy Spirit actually enters us and works in our hearts to conform us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we are saved, we say that we are “born again,” and this means that the Spirit of God has changed us, and we are new creatures: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, (II Corinthians 5: 17). This last part is immediate in one sense—we at once have a new nature; but in some ways, the change in our behavior (becoming more Christ-like) generally takes place over time as we walk in communion with the Lord, praying and reading His Word.  The Holy Spirit works with the Word of God to conform us more and more to the image of Christ. This last part refers to our “state”, and this conforming to the image of Christ depends on that work of the Holy Spirit and the Word to bring about this change. In Romans 8:29, we read, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”. Our standing before God, once saved, never changes; We are saved for all time, and we own that we are “born again”. But how do we reconcile the fact that along with our new nature which is holy, we yet have an old nature, the “old Adam,” or the flesh? This is where Romans 6 comes in, and the language here is more figurative. We may not actually see the effects of what has happened the moment we are saved, but we are to “reckon” ourselves to be “dead to sin, having died with Christ when He died for us on the cross. We read in Romans 6: 3-6, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 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”. Going further, in Romans 6 we read: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans 6:11).

Thus, Christian water baptism is a picture of what has happened when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. The Lord Jesus went down into the waters of death and judgment some 2000 years ago, dying for all of our sins for all time. Since He took the judgment that should have been ours, we can say (if we are believers) that we died with him. As the Lord Jesus was raised up from the dead, we demonstrate in Christian water baptism that we are born again and raised to “newness of life”—when we plunge under the water, this represents the death of the old man; rising up from the water represents our new life in Christ. We are telling the world that we purpose to follow Jesus ever after, and read our Bibles and look to the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Christ day by day.

My dear friend, I pray that this brief treatment of your question has been helpful to you; I also pray that you are “born again”: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever,” (1 Peter 1:23). To be saved, one must repent of their sins and put their full trust and faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus at Calvary’s cross.  This is all that is required: “…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, “ (Romans 10:9).  (SF)  (491.3)