New City Catechism – Week 45

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Q45: Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?

A45: No, only the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit can cleanse us from sin.

Symbols can be weird things. Sometimes they mean very little to anyone other than the person displaying it. People sometimes wear a t-shirt that no one understands. If you’re showing a symbol which needs to be explained, perhaps a new one is in order.

Symbols can also be very powerful. In the film Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne said, “People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.” Symbols can be very powerful if leveraged correctly.

In fact, some symbols and symbolic gestures carry much weight. Within the church, symbols mean a lot. Communion and baptism are meant to be symbolic, but carry much weight. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 11 exactly how important the Lord Supper really is. It’s not able to save, but it’s a reminder of Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. It should be treated respectfully.

In the same way, baptism should also be respected. It’s a joyous occasion, but it isn’t something to be done lightly. It’s so important that even Christ himself showed obedience to the Father by being baptized. The act of baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. When someone is baptized, they are showing others their commitment to Christ through the symbolic act of being immersed in water.

Baptism isn’t shown to save in Scriptures. It’s not what takes away one’s sins. If it were, then Jesus being baptized would be problematic. Instead, it’s a public display of an inward commitment to Christ. Only trusting in Christ’s work on the cross and subsequent resurrection can save someone from their sins.

-Pastor Jon