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Second Coming

Do people receive forgiveness of sin before baptism or after baptism?

Hello M,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

The Bible says, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4).  “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3). “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

Some downplay the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins. They claim that if a person “dies to sin” before baptism, then that person is saved before baptism since “he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:7). The Bible teaches that a person must “die to sin” in the sense that he must have a changed heart about sin and disobedience. He dies to the love and practice of sin. As Paul explained to the Galatians: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

While a person dies to sin at that moment in his own mind, he is not forgiven of sin by God at that point. Forgiveness occurs when the repentant believer allows himself to be lowered into the watery grave of baptism. Romans 6:3-4 explains that when we are baptized in water, we are baptized into Christ’s death for forgiveness.

Being “buried with Him through baptism into death” is the point at which we are cleansed of sin, thus enabling us to “walk in newness of life.” Therefore, the believer cannot have “newness of life” until after he has come up out of the waters of baptism.

While some ignore the importance of baptism in God’s plan of redemption, the New Testament repeatedly affirms it (John 3:5,23; Acts 8:36,38-39; 10:47; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:20-21).

In His service,

The BibleAsk Team

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  • Johnson Dangana

    So what about the thief at the cross with Jesus. We know he wasn’t baptised, does that mean he won’t be saved?

    • God holds us accountable for what we can actually do, and He understands that there are sometimes limitations. The Lord will not require a physical impossibility. But if the thief was able to come down from the cross, he would have been baptized. This is the only example in the Bible of an exception to this rule.

      • Johnson Dangana

        Thanks a lot