The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) and, thus, is essential for salvation. Sometimes people object to what the Bible says about baptism by saying, "If baptism is for the remission of sins, then baptizing a person every time that he sins would be necessary." They might add, usually in a humorous way, that they would be wet all of the time if baptism was for the remission of sins, as they sin every day. Does the fact that baptism takes away sin mean that a person must be baptized each time that he sins? The answer is NO.

The Bible clearly teaches that there is a different law of pardon for the Christian when he sins than for the person who is not a Christian. This is shown in the case of Simon, which is recorded in Acts 8. Philip preached the gospel in Samaria, and many believed and were baptized (v. 12). Simon also believed and was baptized (v. 13). We know that Simon was not pretending that he believed because the inspired text definitely says that he believed. After a period of time, however, Simon sinned (vs. 15-21) and was rebuked by Peter. Now, what was he told that he needed to do? Was he told to be baptized again? No, he was not! Peter told him "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee" (v. 22). So Simon was simply told to repent and pray. He was a Christian who had sinned. He was not told that he needed to be baptized again.

I John 1:9, which speaks to Christians, points out that we are to confess our sins to God. I John 2:1-2 further states, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." James 5:16 says that we are to confess our sins one to another.

Acts 2 was a situation where Peter was preaching to those who were not Christians. He told them to be baptized as well as repent. Thus, there is a different law of pardon for those who are not Christians. Once a person has been scripturally baptized, he would not need to be baptized again. Later, when the Christian sins, God has a different law of pardon for him (Acts 8:22; James 5:16; I John 1:8-10, 2:1-2).

By Mike Johnson

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