Acts 22:16

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized,
and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Does baptism wash away sins?

How does baptism wash away sins?

Catholics and the so-called Church of Christ and many others require baptism in order to go to heaven. They believe baptism washes away sins legally and brings about regeneration.

How do you explain this verse? How will you answer the Campbellite (follower of the Presbyterians Thomas and Alexander Campbell, who became Baptists, and then started their own church called the Church of Christ)?

Ananias spoke these words to Saul of Tarsus, when he found him praying in the city of Damascus after his encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ on the way to the city (Acts 22:6-16).

Let it be stated absolutely that Jesus Christ washed away sins legally by Himself on the cross (Isaiah 53:5; II Cor 5:21; Heb 1:3; I Peter 2:24; Rev 1:5).

Let it further be stated absolutely that the Holy Spirit regenerates men by His sovereign will without human conditions or cooperation (John 1:13; 3:8: Eph 2:1; Titus 3:5).

If Jesus legally washed us from our sins with His blood (Rev 1:5) and the Spirit vitally washes us with regeneration, then how does baptism wash away our sins?

Baptism washes our sins away FIGURATIVELY. Jesus washed them away with His death and resurrection, so we are immersed in a symbolic picture of His burial and resurrection to show how our sins were washed away.

Baptism washes our sins away FIGURATIVELY. The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart and nature based on the work of Christ, so we are immersed in a symbolic picture of burying our old nature and rising to walk in a new life.

Peter explains Acts 22:16 perfectly in I Peter 3:21. He states by Divine inspiration that baptism is a figure that does not wash away sins, but is rather an answer to God of a conscience already washed from sins.

If you have been baptized by apostolic immersion in the name of Jesus Christ, then you have figuratively shown how your sins were washed away – by our Lord’s burial and resurrection. You answered God with a conscience made good by the blood of Jesus Christ (Heb 9:14).

Praise ye the Lord. Amen.

More Difficult Verses

Acts 2:38

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.

Mark 16:16

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

I Corinthians 15:29

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?