I recently watched a purification ceremony on TV. Men and women, dressed in white, dipped themselves in special tubs, while praying. The same kinds of ceremonies are common to many religions. Wash in the Ganges. Take an ice bath in Siberia.
What’s the point?
To purify, to wash sins away.
I’m reminded of the simple hymn, “What can wash away my sin?”
You may think Christian baptism washes away sins. It’s interesting that, in the Bible, only believers in Jesus were baptized. Their sins were forgiven before they were baptized.
- Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (Acts 2:38, 41).
- But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women (Acts 8:12).
- Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done (Acts 8:13).
- And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him (Acts 8:36-38).
- Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (Acts 10:47)
When I was a baby, my parents had me “baptized.” The minister wet his fingers and dampened my little head. That wasn’t biblical baptism. I hadn’t yet made any decision to believe anything. I probably didn’t even notice my head was wet. I was only a baby. The truth is, that little ceremony was more about my parents’ dedicating themselves to teach me about God—which they did.
Later, my dad trusted Christ. After him, I did.
A few years of growing later, both my parents and I decided to be baptized as believers. We knew our sins were taken care of.
“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” When we trust what Jesus has already done, we become new creatures in Christ. Later, we are baptized to signify what has happened in our hearts. In the New Testament, people were baptized immediately following their salvation.
Water can’t do anything but cleanse the outside. It gets us wet.
Only Jesus can cleanse our hearts and take away sins.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:8-9).
Are you saved?
Have your sins been washed away because you believed in Jesus’ sacrifice for you and called out for Him for salvation?
He loves you and wants to save you. After salvation, you’ll want to give a testimony through baptism.
They that gladly received his word were baptized.