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New City Catechism - Question 45
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Posted by Josiah Kenniv, worship director intern

 

New City Catechism - Question 45

 

Q45: Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?

A: No, only the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit can cleanse us from sin.

Kids’ Answer:  No, only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin.

 

SCRIPTURE TO MEMORIZE:

Luke 3:16 - "John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE TO READ:

Colossian 2:12; Acts 2:38-41; Romans 6:1-18

LIFE APPLICATION:

As we explore the answer to this question it will be beneficial to review the definition of baptism that was discussed in last week’s blog post.

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord by which those who have repented and come to faith express their union with Christ in His death and resurrection, by being immersed in water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:3-4; Acts 8:37-38; Colossians 2:11-12).

From this definition were five key points about baptism. First, baptism is an ordinance of the Lord. Second, baptism symbolizes union with Christ in His death and resurrection. Third, baptism is by immersion in water. Fourth, baptism is in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Fifth, baptism is for believers only.

Notice that according to this definition baptism does not save you, but is for the already saved (point number 5). Because baptism is for believers only there is an implied truth that we must recognize. Those who believe by faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to cover the penalty for their sins are by simple definition already cleansed of every sin before they are baptized. Baptism, which follows repentant faith in Christ cannot, therefore, cleanse you of anything but dirt which resides on the outside of your body. Only the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit can cleanse us from sin. Baptism, then, serves as an act of outward obedience to an already present inward reality. Just as outward washing cleanses the body from filth, the inward washing by the blood of Christ cleanses the soul from every stain of sin.

CONNECTION TO CORNERSTONE'S STATEMENT OF FAITH:

THE LORD'S SUPPER AND BAPTISM  
We believe that the Lord's Supper and Water Baptism by immersion are ordinances to be observed by the church during this present age.  They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation.  (Mt. 28:191 Cor. 11:23-26)



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