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BAPTISM QUESTION 18:
What does it mean when the Lord said to Paul,"...arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord?" Acts 22:16. Does this not teach that baptism takes away sins?
There is nothing that can take away sin, apart from its wages being paid. Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death..." There is no death in water baptism; you go down and under and come up again alive. However, you might say, "It symbolizes death." Right on! That is exactly what baptism means. It is symbolic of a believer's death, burial and resurrection with Christ, Romans 6:3-6. There is no substance to that which is symbolic; it represents something else. All throughout the Old Testament, it was the blood, (life) of an animal, that covered sins. Something died (that is the wages of sin) for their sins. However, this never actually took those sins away, Hebrews 10:4. It was only when Christ came and shed His blood and died for our sins that they were actually dealt with. Water cannot take away sins; it is only the symbol of death, burial and resurrection. It took the actual death, burial and resurrection of Christ to take them away. Water is symbolic of cleansing. It is symbolic of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. "The blood of His Son cleanseth us from all sins." 1 John 1:7. "Unto Him that loved us and WASHED us from our sins by His BLOOD..." Revelations 1:5. "These are they...that have WASHED their robes, and made them white in the BLOOD of the Lamb." It is an insult to God and Christ to spurn the precious blood of Christ as the only means of forgiveness and cleansing from sins. Hebrews 9:22, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."
Dear reader, I hope you are not trusting water or works to grant you favor with God. There is only one way to get the value of His death for you and that is through faith alone. It is trusting in the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through FAITH." Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Have you trusted Him alone, or do you trust baptism or good works also?
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated September 23rd, 2013 by Sandra Felix