How Can Water Baptism Wash Away Sins?
The Bible tells us that “according to the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22). Any covenant was dedicated with blood. No amount of sacrifice, however, could atone for mankind’s sins and fully restore our relationship with God. The only means of redemption was through the Lord’s own blood (Col 1:14; Rev 1:5). Jesus Christ’s blood seals a new and everlasting covenant between God and His children (Heb 12:24).
If baptism were merely immersion in water, then it would be nothing but a religious rite, since water cannot take away guilt. But the mystery of baptism lies in the profound unity of water, blood, and the Holy Spirit.
After Jesus died on the cross, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe” (Jn 19:34-35).
John, a disciple of Jesus, witnessed how Jesus Christ poured out His blood along with water and opened the fountain of cleansing. He explained the meaning of what he saw:
This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth…there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and these three agree as one (1 Jn 5:6-8).
Baptism is where water and blood come together under the eternal Spirit of God. Jesus Christ arose from death by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet 3:18) to enter heaven as our mediator before God (Heb 9:15, 24). The Holy Spirit, which God gives to believers, testifies that Jesus is alive and that His blood cleanses us (Heb 9:14) today. So while a sinner is immersed in water physically, his spiritual being is being cleansed in the blood of Christ (Heb 10:22: “washed” = immersed).
No sin is too great to be forgiven. God is ready to pardon everyone who turns back to Him and seeks cleansing. But you must first accept Jesus Christ and His gospel of salvation, confess your sins before God, and determine to follow His words.
“Repent,” the apostle Peter tells us, “and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
What is the right way to be baptized?