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Question 45: Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?

"No, only the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit can cleanse us from sin."
Join us as we jump into Biblical Foundations using New City Catechisms. 

Catechisms: Basic summaries of Christian doctrine, laid out in question and answer format. When memorized it gives a biblical framework for life. 

Bible Reference:
Luke 3:16

"John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Further Reflection:

As a Christian, baptism is not what leads to the washing away of our sins, but is an outward symbol of the washing away of our sins that already took place in a believer’s life by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ, who was buried, and raised up on the third day conquering sin and death once and for all! (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) 

 

One way we know baptism us not required for salvation, but is rather a symbol of our salvation, is found in Luke 23:39-43 when the thief who died next to Jesus on a cross, cried out to Jesus to be forgiven if his sins and received it on the cross moments before he died. 

 

So while baptism does not save us from the penalty of our sins, it symbolizes a believers death to the old self and being raised to new life in Jesus! 

 

Water baptism “illustrates the spiritual cleansing we experience when we are saved; just as water cleanses the flesh, so the Holy Spirit cleanses our hearts when we trust Christ.” (Got Questions) 

New City Catechism
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