The Purpose of Baptism

Rom 6:1-11

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion 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 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. KJV

So far we have looked at the importance of baptism and last week we looked at the design of baptism. Today we want to consider the purpose of baptism.

We may cover some of the same things that we covered last week but a little repetition is good for us.

  1. The purpose of baptism is not to save us or to complete our salvation.
    1. What others say:
      1. Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace. They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism. Augsburg Confession Article 9
      2. "But as our would-be wise, new spirits assert that faith alone saves, and that works and external things avail nothing, we answer: It is true, indeed, that nothing in us is of any avail but faith, as we shall hear still further. But these blind guides are unwilling to see this, namely, that faith must have something which it believes, that is, of which it takes hold, and upon which it stands and rests. Thus faith clings to the water, and believes that it is Baptism, in which there is pure salvation and life;" Luther's Large Catechism Part four of Baptism
      3. "Thus we must regard Baptism and make it profitable to ourselves, that when our sins and conscience oppress us, we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say: Nevertheless I am baptized; but if I am baptized, it is promised me that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body." Luther's Large Catechism Part four of Baptism
      4. There are various other denominations that hold views similar to these and some that are much closer to that of Baptists.
    2. Baptism does not save, it is a picture of what does save, the gospel, the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    3. That we lay hold of by faith and not by baptism.
      1. Rom 5:1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. NKJV
      2. Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. NKJV
      3. Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. NKJV
      4. Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." NKJV
      5. 2 Tim 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, NKJV
      6. Titus 3:4 But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. 5 He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. NLT
  2. Baptism is a declaration of our faith and our new life in Jesus Christ.
    1. We declare our death to sin
      1. The burial follows the death.
      2. Through the New Birth that Jesus spoke of we become dead to that which we were once alive.
        1. How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Rom 6:2
      3. And we become alive to that which we were once dead.
        1. Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. KJV
      4. Once we were dead in sin.
      5. Eph 2:1-10 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. NKJV
    2. We declare our death to the world.
      1. Gal 6:14. But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
    3. We declare our death to self.
    4. We declare our faith in Jesus as our Savior.
      1. Faith always comes before baptism.
      2. Our faith is in the thing pictured, the gospel.
  3. It is a badge of honor.
    1. To identify with the crucified but risen Savior.
    2. We are telling the world we will follow our Savior.
  4. It is the last step in becoming a part of the Lord's Church.
    1. It identifies us with the other believers.

We should never make more of baptism than the Bible does. But neither should we leave off what it teaches.

There is no other thing among churches that has cause greater turmoil than baptism.

But who is right? Or is it something that is not important?

I think it is important because it is a picture of that which saves us, the death burial and resurrection of Jesus and our faith in it.

 This message was preached at FBC Toulon,
by Albert Harmon. See it at