Must Baptism Be Done “For The Remission Of Sins” To Be Scriptural?

We see from many passages that baptism is essential to salvation, for example Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Gal 3:26-27, and I Pet 3:20-21. Look those up and see for yourself.

And when you look up Acts 2:38, you will see it states “for the remission of sins” as the reason to be baptized. Sometimes the Bible (God) tells us to do things without telling us why. In those cases we must be willing to trust God and obey Him even if we don’t understand why or even agree with the why. But if God tells us why (the reason) we should do something, then we should do it for that reason. Let me illustrate: If one can see from Matt 19:9 that a divorce is unscriptural (unapproved of by God) if it is not done for the specified reason (“for fornication”), then by the same logic one ought to be able to see from Acts 2:38 that a baptism is unscriptural (unapproved of by God) if it is not done for the specified reason (“for the remission of sins”). See the parallel? If one can see the former, why not the latter?

Just a cursory reading of I Cor 13:3 and Matt 6:1,5,16 would tell us that if we are doing what God said, but for the wrong reason or motive, then we are not really obeying God. Doing something that just happens to coincide with God’s command, but for our own reasons, is not really submitting to God’s will, is it? That would be going about to establish our own righteousness, instead of submitting to the righteousness of God (Rom 10:3), right?

Now let’s move back to the topic of water baptism and the reason the Bible gives for why we should do it. The wording of Acts 2:38 (“Repent and be baptized … for the remission of sins”) not only proves baptism is essential to the forgiveness of sins, but it also specifies the reason a person should be baptized. Baptizing as “an outward sign of an inward grace” (meaning, to show you are already saved) is no more scriptural baptism than young children playing baptism while they are out swimming.

I was immersed/baptized when I was 10 years old, but when I learned baptism must be “for the remission of sins,” I was baptized again at the age of 20 – this time for the right reason. So even though I thought I was saved between 10 and 20, I really wasn’t. I had never really obeyed Acts 2:38 for the reason given. Have you ever been baptized for the remission of sins?

Baptism is to be done “for the remission of sins,” at least according to God it is. If you’ve been baptized, but not “for the remission of sins,” then you’ve never really received the remission of sins. You need to be rebaptized, just like the disciples in Acts 19:1-5 were rebaptized, just for a different reason. You have to be baptized for the right reason to achieve God’s intended results. Peter would exhort you to “be baptized … for the remission of sins.”

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