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What Does the Bible Say About … BAPTISM AND SIN?

Does water baptism wash away sin?

The concept of baptism washing away sin stems from Acts 22:16, TEV. “And now, why wait any longer? Get up and be baptized and have your sins washed away by calling on His name.”

Does this mean you can was away your sins through baptism? Let us look at Biblical evidence. How is baptism described in the Bible?

Romans 6:2-7, NIV. “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don ’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Col 2:12: “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”

Mark 16:16-17: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Baptism represents a decision to believe in Jesus as our Saviour. Through baptism we publicly demonstrate that we believe in our salvation obtained through Jesus, who died for us and rose on the third day. Similarly we symbolically indicate that by accepting Jesus in our lives, we are experiencing a rebirth, our old self has died, we are a new creation through Jesus Christ.

Jesus made this clear when discussing the importance of baptism with a scholar named Nicodemus. John 3:3-8: “’In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’

‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’

Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’” NIV

It is clear here that baptism doesn’t wash away sin, but is an outward declaration that we want to live with Jesus who is the only one who can forgive our sins. It cannot be intended that the external rite of baptism was sufficient to make you pure, but that it was an ordinance appointed by Jesus as a public expression of the washing away of sins, or of the purification of the heart.

Forgiveness of sins is obtained solely through faith in the Lord Jesus, Acts 10:43: ”All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Baptism is the visible sign of this. Paul summarizes this beautifully in 1 Cor 6:11: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

What a wonderful Saviour we do have! Would you like to accept Him in your life now? He can and will forgive you of your sins, no matter how horrible they are. He can transform your life from an ugly charcoal into a radiant butterfly. You can overcome your sins through our Lord and Saviour. Why wait any longer? He is waiting for you!

Rob Chaffart


Water baptism can wash away one’s sin. The water means to be made pure or clean. Baptisms use to be given by submerging one person into the water totally in Jesus’ day…and some may still practice this way. The water is put on one’s head usually and that shows the power to take sin out even though we sin all the time….God does not count it because we are cleaned by the water and the Holy Spirit in our soul. So by doing it by water is a way to show how we are made clean.

What that means is that the gift of baptism is used by Christ with water. This is what I think it is.



Water baptism is symbolic to the cleansing that must take place in the heart. The actual baptism is your outward expression to show the world that you are now united with Christ because your heart has changed and will continue to hold fast to that which God has told us. (Romans 10:9 -10)

There are only two prerequisites to the cleansing of sin: You must believe in your heart and confess with you mouth that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. With the mouth confession is made and with the heart belief is made. The heart is circumcised into the newness of your new life. Just as Jesus was baptized, so too should we be baptized to show that we are one of His. This says to the world that we are not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of salvation to the Jews and to the Gentiles. Thank God for His amazing Grace.

There is but one thing that can wash away our sins: The Blood of Jesus which was shed at Calvary on Golgotha’s Hill. The thief on the cross that asked Jesus to remember him was given these words by Jesus, “This day you will be with me in Paradise.” He was not baptized. We are baptized out of obedience to the command given by Jesus. We are baptized because we love Him and we want to be like Him. There is power in the Blood. Jesus said “I came to seek and to save them that are lost. All we have to do is to open up and invite Him in and He will come in. Salvation is a free gift to us; all we have to do is invite Jesus in.




Baptism in Water is a commandment, and is an outer witness of the regeneration that has already happened in our hearts. If Water baptism saved, then John would not have needed to baptize Jesus, because Jesus knew no sin~ but was baptized out of obedience to His Father. And all of John’s followers would have been saved, and would not have needed personal salvation from Jesus . . . OH PRECIOUS IS THE FLOW . . . . . . . . .

Forever thankful to Jesus for dying to save me from my sins and for the witness of my baptism~ He is my Lord, my Saviour, my All! It is Jesus who made me whole (body, mind, soul, spirit) by His sacrificial death on the Cross . . .



I believe that the only thing that washes our sin away is the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No water can wash away our sin.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to his riches of his grace:

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Baptism is only a rebirth, not to say it is not important also. When we are baptized it is a symbol of washing away our past sins. We must do our best to live a Christian life and to refrain from past sins afterward, or the baptism was for naught.

This is one woman’s opinion from Cincinnati, Ohio.



No more than a bath can. Sin is only cleansed by the sacrifice of Jesus applied to our lives when we publicly acknowledge Him as our Saviour.

Baptism is a form of public witness that we have made that decision. It is also the form of witness that Jesus ordained for us to use. Some religious bodies do not use it, believing that other forms of public witness are just as valid – like coming forward at an evangelistic meeting and kneeling at the front while someone prays with you, or giving a testimony to an audience, or perhaps door knocking. For example the thief on the cross next to Jesus made a public witness of faith but was not baptized. Neither did he have the opportunity. Some believe that true baptism is receiving the Holy Ghost.

Mark 1:8-AV I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall

baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

This was spoken by John the Baptist speaking of the coming of Jesus onto the scene.

Matthew 28:19-AV Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of

the Holy Ghost:

This was spoken by Jesus to His disciples.

Jesus Himself was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. The disciples baptized when they preached. People heard them and came forward and were baptized.

Acts 2:41-AV Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.

Jesus Himself baptized people.

John 3:22-AV After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

Jesus also said the following:

Mark 16:16-AV He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;

but he that believeth not shall be damned.

The keyword here is ‘believeth’. My understanding of this verse is not that baptism is essential, because other passages prove that it clearly isn’t, but that it is expected as a witness to our salvation and, if you like, our own little contract with God.

So I admit, it seems hard to get away from this business of baptism. But if you look at these few references it is plain to see that baptism was used as the initial form of public witness of the belief that had come upon people after hearing the preaching of the Gospel message. How many churches do that today? The one I belong to and several others I know of baptize people into membership of the church. The use of this ceremony has been tainted with the doctrine of works.

Baptism is not offered by these churches until the candidate has studied at length and accepted all the doctrines of the religion concerned. In other words, has shown by his or her ‘works’ that he or she is ‘good enough’ to be baptized and admitted to the membership of the church. It seems that public confession of faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord is no longer sufficient. Professed belief in man made rules and interpretations of doctrine have been added.

Well, a public confession of faith was good enough for the thief on the cross, and he was told by the Lord Himself that he would be with Him in paradise. So I guess that will do for me too. I have had the opportunity so I have been baptized, even ‘though I now believe the church does not do it right, it was special for me. I do not believe that any of the multitude of denominations have a mortgage on the truth and correct practices.

But if baptism is so important and is not able to save, why is it important. I expect it is because mankind just loves a ceremony. Much of God’s dealings with His people in the Old Testament was based on ceremonies, most with periodic repetition. It is not surprising that He would also give us a ceremony to signify such a significant event in our lives as receiving salvation.



Yes I do believe that it does.



No, water baptism does not and can not wash away sin. Water baptism, as vital as it is as a symbol and testimony of one’s saving faith in Christ, is only that: a symbol, a token of obedience and a way to publicly declare one’s faith in Christ. John’s baptism didn’t wash away sin, either; it merely displayed a repentance from sin. The ONLY thing that can wash away one’s sin is the blood of Christ.



You asked the wrong question! Of course water baptism by itself (from the Greek baptizo which would more properly be translated “immerse”) cannot save anyone, any more than a bath or a quick dip in a swimming pool can.

The question should be reworded: “Does the Bible teach baptism as necessary for salvation?”

Acts 2:38 tells us that the first required response to belief in Christ was to “Repent and be baptized”. Mk. 16:16 says that “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved”. The letter to the Colossians was written to Christians, and in Col. 2:12 it assumes that all the Christians there were “buried with Him in baptism.” Bible baptism is not a “work”. You are completely submissive in baptism– you cannot do it to yourself.

As to the old “thief on the cross” argument: Aw, come on! Christ

had not even risen from the dead yet. He was saved under the old covenant.

It always awes my soul that so many people are willing to stake their salvation on what some church, preacher or family member has taught them, instead of what the Scriptures clearly teach. May God open your eyes to His Truth.

Steve Featherston