This brief study is about the connection between the blood of Christ, baptism and the remission of sins. We so often hear from others that baptism cannot be necessary because it is a work of human merit. This assumption is false, for when we submit ourselves to baptism, we are putting our faith in the working of God, not in ourselves (Col. 2:11-13). We are told that it is the blood of Christ that saves us, not baptism. We do not deny that the blood of Christ saves us (Eph. 1:7). That is not what is at issue. The issue is, does baptism have anything to do with remission of sins? Here is a very simple way to show others the connection between baptism, the blood of Christ and the remission of sins:
First, turn your Bible to Matthew 26:28, where Jesus said concerning the cup in the Lord’s Supper, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Take special note of the phrase “for the remission of sins.” The reason why Jesus shed His blood was so that people could have their sins remitted (forgiven).
Now turn over to Acts 2:38. In response to the question, “what shall we do?” Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” Again, take special note of the phrase “for the remission of sins.” It is exactly the same as in Matthew 26:28. There is no difference. This is significant in that many people try to say that “for” in Acts 2:38 means “because of”; that is, they say that we are baptized because we have already received forgiveness. But this will not work. If “for” means “because of” in Acts 2:38, why wouldn’t it mean the same thing in Matthew 26:28? Did Jesus die “because” sins were already forgiven? No. He died in order to make forgiveness available. We opt for consistency. Whatever the phrase means in Matthew 26:28, it also means in Acts 2:38. Now the argument is made that baptism has nothing to do with remission of sins because we are saved by the blood of Christ. Thus, the argument puts Acts 2:38 at odds with Matthew 26:28. But this is not necessary. They can easily be understood in harmony.
To see this, next turn your Bible to Romans 6:3, which says, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” Take special note of the phrase, “baptized into His death.” Here is where the connection is made between baptism and the blood of Christ. Where did Christ shed His blood? In His death. How do we come into contact with the blood of Christ, wherein is found remission of sins? In baptism. Thus, what Peter says in Acts 2:38 is in complete harmony with what Jesus and Paul said.
- Christ shed His blood for the remission of sins.
- We are baptized into the death of Christ, wherein Christ shed His blood for many for (in order that they might obtain) the remission of sins.
- Therefore, we are baptized for (in order that we might obtain) the remission of sins.
The connection is clear and easily understood if we will let the Bible interpret itself. Now, while still in Romans 6, other points could just as well be made concerning baptism:
- Baptism is into Christ. If we are going to be in Christ, how do we get there? We get there by submitting to the working of God through baptism.
- It is in baptism where we are “born again” (see John 3:3, 5). From the grave of baptism (which is a burial), we are raised to walk in “newness of life.” What phrase could better describe being “born again”?
- Note verses 17-18. We told that we were slaves of sin, but that we “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine.” Verse 18 follows, “And having been set free from sin…” When are we set free from sin? When we “obey from the heart” what God told us to do. When we do this, we are not “earning” salvation through meritorious works, but we are submitting to the working of God. Study also Colossians 2:11-13.
By faith, we must submit to the grace that God has offered through Jesus Christ. Baptism is a part of what God has given.
Article by: Doy Moyer