What is Water Baptism? Is It A Work?

To put it simply, water baptism is a biblical washing and cleansing ritual performed by anyone wanting to come into faith in Jesus. I understand this comes with many questions and concerns as this has been seen as a works-based doctrine. Baptism is a work that is performed in the life of a believer, however, the work is performed by God Himself and not us. There is an actual cleansing happening in the water and the cleansing is the removal of sin. Only God can do this type of work in us through the blood of Jesus. Though we are the ones getting into the water for the removal of the sins, the work itself is not something we can do, it is a working of God.

“…having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

Colossians 2:12

The Blood In The Water

There is power in water baptism and it is the power to save from the power of sin. However, not even water baptism can do anything unless there is a belief and trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross to save from sin. When Jesus shed His blood and was nailed on the cross, He nailed the certificate of death and put death to shame. This was not enough to save from sin. The death of Jesus was not enough, He was also buried. If Jesus would have died alone, there would be no power over sin. Death would have won. At the time of the death of Jesus, the veil in the temple was torn in two. It is said that the veil was about 4-5 inches thick. The tearing of the veil was very significant as no one could enter behind it except the High Priest. When the flesh of the Son was torn, the veil was torn also, giving us access to the Father. 

“Therefore, brethren, since we have the confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,”

Hebrews 10:19-20

Because Of His Resurrection

Though Christ died, there was no glory in it alone without the glorifying of the body. Since the death of Jesus was an unrighteous death (meaning He didn’t do anything to deserve it), death could not hold Him in the grave. It was by the power of God that Jesus was raised from the dead, resurrected with a new body, and glorified by the Father. In this, Jesus was exalted to the highest throne above all thrones of Earth. He was given authority over sin and death. The resurrection of Christ is the promise that you and I will have new life. The resurrection of King Jesus activated the ritual of water baptism so we could find the same promise of life in Him.

“Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

1 Peter 3:21

You can read the blog “Baptism Saves” for more details about how baptism saves you. To summarize the death and resurrection of Jesus, here is what we see:

  1. Jesus died to save us from sin. Matthew 1:21
  2. Jesus shed blood and without it there is no remission of sin. Hebrews 9:22
  3. Jesus hung on a cross as He died to become a curse. Galatians 3:13
  4. Jesus was buried but death could not hold him. Acts 2:24
  5. Jesus’ resurrection was by the spirit of God. Romans 8:11
  6. Jesus was given authority after being raised from the dead. Matthew 28:19
  7. Jesus was glorified after being raised from the dead. 1 Peter 1:21

There are many more points we could bring up concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus. If you look at the work completed through His death and resurrection, you will see that it was all in light of obtaining freedom from sin and receiving a new life. However, because Jesus was the one to perform this in His righteousness, to obtain the freedom from sin and the new life, one must be connected to Him. This is where baptism comes in.

Water baptism is not an outward expression of inward faith. It is a uniting with the work of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin. It is a crucifying of the body of sin and a raising up in the newest of life with Him. It is the application of the bloodshed for us so that we can be free from the power of sin forever.

3 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 6:3-11

In Closing

Water baptism is definitely a work. It takes work to turn from the old ways to a new way of living. It is a work from God to remove the power of sin from us in the water as it is written in Micah 7:19, “Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” There is a promise found in James 4:8 that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. He is waiting for you to turn from your own understandings and your sin so He can wash your sins away. Come to Him and come into the water for a uniting with Christ on the cross and receive the grace of God, the forgiveness of sins.

If you need to contact someone about getting baptized, you can find a green pin on TLRMap.com. If you do not get a hold of someone, please feel free to contact us here at contact@onewaygospel.com. Blessings

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