part of the what is truth? series

We’ve looked in another question about what baptism is, but what is the purpose of baptism? There are many in the religious world today that would say, “it’s an outward showing of an inward commitment.” In fact, an almost identical statement is made by Crosswalk.com where they say, “Baptism is an outward act that symbolizes the inward phenomenon of coming to and accepting Jesus Christ as real, as God incarnate, as the sacrificial means by which those who believe in him can be forever reconciled to God.”

There are many references to baptism and baptizing in the New Testament so we should be able to see something about the purpose of baptism in Scripture.

how Scripture answers "What is the purpose of baptism?"

The purpose for baptism is profound and so much more than simply a symbolic act1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,11. John the Baptist prepared the way with “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”9. Peter says the same thing on the day of Pentecost – baptism (and repentance) was the remedy for removing/forgiving sins1 – saving us3.

Paul makes the same direct connections to forgiveness of sins2,5 and salvation4,12. He further makes a connection to being “buried with Christ”2; and to the Galatians he connects baptism to what put them “into Christ” – effectively putting on Christ7,11 and a condition of church membership8. All of this correlates with Paul’s account of his own “faith journey”13.

Do you want to put on Christ7? (And would we really consider someone saved without putting on Christ?) Or, put the way Paul states it in Romans2 and Colossians6, do you want to be “buried” and “raised” with Christ? Baptism is the only thing that does these things, allowing us to “walk in newness of life”2 and inherit the kingdom of God12.

When put in these terms, wouldn’t you agree the purpose of baptism is essential for salvation? BTW, these connections explain perfectly the immediacy of being baptized after hearing the word preached4,5. We even see immediacy when there’s every reason in the world to wait10. Just as Paul said, “And now why do you wait?”5.

the answer above is built on and footnoted with the following scripture-blocks

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  1. John Muchemi Gichuki at - Reply

    That’s enough to convince a person who seeks the truth, diligently. Job well done! Thanks!