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The Biblical Purpose of Baptism

Allan McNab

  1. “shall be saved” – Mark 16:16
  2. “for the remission of sins” – Acts 2:38
  3. “wash away your sins” – Acts 22:16
  4. “freed from sin” – Rom. 6:7
  5. “put on Christ” – Gal. 3:27
  6. “cleanse her with the washing of water” – Eph. 5:25
  7. “putting off the sins of the flesh” – Col. 2:11
  8. “having forgiven you all trespasses” – Col. 2:13
  9. “baptism doth also now save us” – 1 Peter 3:21

Metaphors of Baptism

“Metaphor” “A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as a ship plows the sea)”. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

Baptism is “Washing”

Washings in the OT

  1. After touching a dead animal – Lev. 11:24-25
  2. After recovery from a skin disease or leprosy – Lev. 13 - 14.
  3. A man or woman with an unnatural bodily discharge – Lev. 15.
  4. A priest who touches anything unclean – Lev. 22.
  5. Anytime the priests came into the tabernacle – Exodus 30:31.
    1. The blood of Christ makes forgiveness possible Revelation 1:4-5 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia… and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
    2. The blood was shed for all mankind, but not everyone will be saved Acts 22:16
      And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
    3. 1 John 5:6-8 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
  6. Adam is a “type” or “figure” of Jesus – Rom. 5:14
  7. The first Adam was put to sleep, his side was opened, and what was taken out of his side was used to form his bride, Eve.
  8. The second Adam was put to sleep in death, his side was opened, and that which came out of his side was used to form His bride, the church. “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (John 19:34)
  9. We are washed by the blood Revelation 1:5 “…from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood”
  10. We are washed by water Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ Washing In The New Covenant

The bronze laver with the Tabernacle (for washing).

Exodus 30:17-21 - You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die.

The bronze laver in Solomon’s Temple

1 Kings 7:23-26 - And he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference… 26 It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained two thousand baths.

The bronze laver in Herod’s Temple

“Between the altar and porch of the Temple… was the immense laver of brass, supported by twelve colossal lions, which was drained every evening, and filled every morning by machinery, and where twelve priests could wash at the same time.”

Edersheim, Alfred, The Temple, pg. 55.

The OT Washings Were Shadows

Hebrews 9:8-11 - The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, 9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands.

Washing In The New Covenant

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

Spoken to a “Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee”

Acts 22:16 - And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Written to Christians in Ephesus

Ephesians 5:25-26 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.

Titus 3:5 - Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:21-22 - Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

The 1st and 2nd Adam

Our washing is spiritual, not physical:

1 Peter 3:20-21 - …the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

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