What is the purpose of baptism?


Baptism testifies to believers that God has cleansed them from their sins through Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, our sins are often compared to being filthy and dirty. Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” When we sin, when we lie, when we cheat, steal, hate, or covet, our sinful souls are filthier and dirtier than a pig rolling around in the muck and mud!

So it makes sense, then, that believers are baptized in water. Why? Because water is used for cleansing filthy and dirty things. If you baptized someone in mud, they would come out filthier than when they started. This wouldn’t be a very good picture of what happens when we believe in Jesus!

The water in baptism, then, is a sign pointing us toward what God does for our sins when we first believe in him. The apostle Paul describes his baptism in Acts 22:16. He was told, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his (Jesus’) name.

When we are filthy and dirty, we take a bath in water to cleanse the dirt and grime away. The water in baptism is a picture of what God does for us. As law-breaking sinners, we were filthy and dirty with sin. But as 1 Corinthians 6:11 explains, “You were washed… in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Baptism shows us this: just as surely as water washes away dirt from your body, the blood of Jesus has washed away the filth of our sins.

Baptism water isn’t magical water. No lake, pond, river, or ocean on Earth could ever wash away the dirt and filth of our sins. At the very first moment we believed, God cleansed our sinful souls and made us righteous in his sight. Before a believer is baptized, their sins are already washed away.

But that doesn’t mean that baptism isn’t important. Jesus gave us the ordinance of baptism as a sign. It’s a wonderful and powerful picture of our salvation. Though our souls were stained with sin, the blood of Jesus has surely washed that filth away!


+ If baptism doesn’t actually wash away our sins, why do you think Jesus gave us the ordinance of baptism?

+ When a baptized believer thinks back to the day of their baptism, what ideas should they think about?



Acts 22:16; Col. 2:11-14

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