Author: Ron Graham

Six Steps

Baptism Into Christ
—The fifth step

We now think about water baptism. Philip baptized the Ethiopian in water after the Ethiopian made the good confession (Acts 8:36-39). Water baptism is another step toward eternal life.

1 Baptism is “for the forgiveness of sins”

Peter said, "Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38).

Notice that Peter thought baptism no less necessary than repentance for forgiveness. The people listening to Peter believed his teaching, but they did not yet have the forgiveness of sins. They stood condemned (Acts 2:36-39). They asked what they must do. Peter said they could have forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit if they would “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38).

Jesus said that his blood was shed "for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). Peter said that baptism is "for the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38). Since God has joined these two, the blood and the baptism, do not separate them.

2 One is “baptized into Christ’s Death”

Paul says,"As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Galatians 3:26,27). “As many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death(Romans 6:3-5).

Having believed in Christ, repented of sins, and confessed Christ, we enter into Christ and his death through baptism. There we receive the forgiveness of sins through his blood, and receive the Holy Spirit so that we might rise up from baptism to walk in new life.

3 In baptism one is “born of water and the Spirit”

Jesus said, "Except a man be born [again] of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:3-5).

We are saved by the "washing of rebirth" (Titus 3:5) also called "the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26).

Back in Romans 6:3-8 we see that in baptism the old self dies and the new self comes into being. The old self is "buried with Christ through baptism into death". Then the new self is born, through the Holy Spirit, to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

4 Baptism is “the answer of a good conscience toward God”

Referring to how Noah and his family "were brought safely through water", (1Peter 3:20) Peter goes on to say, "And corresponding to that baptism now saves you. It is not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God" (1Peter 3:21).

If a good conscience toward God is essential to salvation, and baptism is the answer of a good conscience, then baptism is essential to salvation.

We know that we have not misunderstood Peter here, because he says, "...baptism now saves you..." . He does not mean it is the only thing or the primary thing that saves us, as if to leave Christ out, but he certainly makes it clear that Christ will not save us if we leave out his commandment to be baptized in his name.

Short Quiz

1. What does Acts 2:38 say about baptism? (A) It is a sign that one has received forgiveness, (B) It is for the forgiveness of sins, (C) Sins are washed away by water.

2. What does Romans 6:3 say about baptism? (A) One is baptized into Christ and into his death, (B) One can be in Christ without being baptized, (C) Baptism has no effect.

3. What does 1Peter 3:21 say about baptism? (A) It saves us, (B) It is not for washing our bodies, (C) It is the appeal to God for a good conscience, (D) All of the above.

4. What does Galatians 3:26-27 say about baptism? (A) Baptism is an act of faith in Christ Jesus, (B) We are baptized into Christ, (C) As many as have been baptized are clothed with Christ, (D) All of the above.

5. What does Acts 22:16 say about baptism? (A) Paul had to be baptized to wash away his sins, (B) Paul needed only to call on the name of the Lord, (C) Paul could neglect baptism and still be saved.


1. (B) It is for the forgiveness of sins.

2. (A) One is baptized into Christ and into his death.

3. (D) All of the above.

4. (D) All of the above.

5. (A) Paul had to be baptized to wash away his sins.