Q45: Is Baptism With Water the Washing Away of Sin Itself?

New City Catechism: Question 45


Christians practice catechesis to instruct believers on the foundational truths of the Christian faith. In a question and answer format, this form of discipleship teaches the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, along with the basics of the Bible. The New City Catechism, created by Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, asks 52 questions, one for each week of the year, on topics such as God, creation, and salvation. Each video provides an extended answer to the question from either a pastor at Redeemer or council members of the Gospel Coalition. This video with Kent Hughes, Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, answers the question, "Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?”


Luke 3:16 (ESV)

16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



We can respond to question forty-five with the following answer: no, only the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit can cleanse us from sin.


Kent said that baptism with water does not wash away sin—only Christ’s blood and the work of the Holy Spirit cleanses us from sin. What stands out to you the most about this answer? Why?
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Through the Holy Spirit, we experience regeneration, renewal, love for God’s Word, sanctification, adoption into the family of God, and cleansing from sin. Baptism serves as an external symbol of the internal baptism of the Spirit.


Does the answer to this question impact your Christian walk? If so, how and why?
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Read through Luke 3:16. Take a moment to reflect on baptism. Use the space below to respond. You can write out a prayer, list the implications of baptism, or brainstorm ways you can apply the principle to your life.
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The Catechism can help you remember the core beliefs of Christianity. Take time this week to learn the answer to this question and memorize Luke 3:16. Allow God to transform your heart, mind, and actions as you participate in or reflect on baptism.



 To learn more about New City Catechism or to download the app, click here