Salvation by Repentance and Belief: What is the purpose of water baptism?


  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published April 27, 2023
  • Word count 1,249



As we’re aware, quite a bit of research has gone into answering questions about water baptism and, for that matter, the Baptism of the Spirit. With that said, what could we conclude as to what the purpose of baptizing someone in water is? I think one way to answer this would be to see if there are any Scriptures that give us an indication of such. Once we’ve completed our research, then let’s summarize and present what both baptisms provide. How’s that?

Let’s begin by taking a look at some verses from the book of Matthew.

Suggested Reading: Matthew 28:1-20

10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Jesus has risen from the dead and has subsequently appeared to two of His disciples, one of whom is Mary Magdalene. He proceeds to instruct them to tell the eleven apostles to meet Him at a mountain in Galilee.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

When Jesus meets up with them, he directs them to go forth and teach (to make disciples by proclaiming the truth concerning99 Himself) all nations. And that whosoever chooses to believe the truth (about who He is and what He’d accomplished) and proclaims it, they were to be baptized in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. What does this tell us? This signifies recognition and dependence upon God the Father as his Creator and Preserver; receives Jesus Christ as his only Mediator and Redeemer, and his pattern of life; and confesses the Holy Spirit as his Sanctifier and Comforter100). And the union of these three names in the form of baptism proves that the Son and Holy Spirit are EQUAL with the Father.101

In most of the occurrences where water baptism is mentioned in the book of Acts or the Epistles, it only acknowledges being baptized in the name of Jesus. Why might this be the case? This could be because being baptized in the name is to be baptized on the confession of that which the name implies: on the ground of the name; so that the name Jesus, as the contents of the faith and confession, is the ground upon which the becoming baptized rests.102 However, this shouldn’t take away insinuating that being baptized in water recognizes the Trinity of one God in three persons.

While there’s more verses that talk about being baptized in water, I don’t think they’ll add anything more to what we’ve already learned. So, I think this is a good time to summarize what water baptism provides and what it doesn’t, along with what the Baptism of the Spirit is all about. Here we go.

Water baptism:

●Is symbolic of the believer being baptized into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. When the believer is immersed in water, this is symbolic of their death to sin. Likewise, when they’re raised from the dead this is symbolic of their new life in Christ. Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:10; Acts 22:16

●Is illustrative of being baptized in the name of Christ, the ground of which is justification by faith. Matthew 28:19; Romans 5:1

●Illustrates that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in essence, deity, have the same divine attributes. Matthew 28:19

Doesn’t provide for the:

●Forgiveness of sins. Acts 2:38

All sin was forgiven at the cross. Luke 23:33-46; Colossians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 5:19;

Hebrews 9:24-26; Ephesians 1:6-7

Receiving the forgiveness of sins in time means to confess sin to God the Father and to be restored to fellowship with Him, and recovering the filling of the Spirit. Acts 3:19

●Receiving of the indwelling Spirit. Acts 10:43-48; Acts 9:17-18

The receiving of the Spirit is through faith. Galatians 3:14

It was indicated as following repentance, belief, and water baptism because in this instance in the early church, water baptism illustrated, to the many Jews who attended this feast, their public identification with Christ as their Messiah and Savior. Acts 2:38

This didn’t occur until after water baptism took place because it confirmed that the ministry of the Apostles Peter and John was commissioned by God. Acts 8:12-17

●Salvation of a lost sinner. John 3:5

The two ingredients for salvation are the gospel and the Holy Spirit. The word water is figurative. John 3:5; 1 Peter 1:22-25; 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Because water baptism is mentioned with faith but wasn’t included when faith was denied, then it’s to be considered as a testimony only. Mark 16:16

The baptism that saves us is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 3:21

The Baptism or indwelling of the Spirit:

●He was included as one of the ingredients for salvation. John 3:5

●He was as received by the apostles on the day of Pentecost in the upper room. Acts 2:4; Acts 1:2, 4-5; Matthew 3:11

●This was indicated as having taken place simultaneously with the filling of the Spirit as indicated by the word filled. This word means that the believer is being controlled by the Spirit, who’s furnishing them with His guidance, graces, and presence. Usually, the filling occurs later in a believer’s walk as they learn how to have their mind renewed, but in this case, the apostles had already walked with Jesus for three years and were spiritually prepared. Acts 2:4; Philippians 2:1; Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22-23

●Provides over twenty spiritual realities at salvation that are permanent in a believer’s life. Some of these are that the believer is:

In a permanent and continuous state of redemption and the forgiveness of their sins. Colossians 1:14

Baptized into Christ’s death (in them was understood a death to sin, corresponding to His actual death103 having become separated from its power). Romans 6:3-4; Acts 10:43

Baptized us into His resurrection (in them was understood they were given new life by means of the quickening of the Spirit) so that they would be able to habitually walk in an entirely new way. Romans 6:3-4; Acts 10:43

Placed in a permanent and non-stop state of sanctification. Hebrews 10:10

Made righteous or acceptable to God in his position. Romans 5:1

Sealed by the Holy Spirit, who is the mark of ownership indicating that God owns us. Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 1:13

●He baptizes each believer into the body of Christ giving each of them at least one spiritual or leadership gift that produces harmony and usefulness of all. 1 Corinthians 12:13

I think that we’ve covered water baptism as well as we could. There was only one more verse that came to mind in this regard, which I’ll leave with you to make a spiritual guess as to which baptism is being referred to according to this gospel.

Ephesians 4:4-5 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

There’s something else that’s paramount to the gospel of repentance and faith and that’s whether the evidence of good works is considered essential to the salvation process. Let’s find out in the next chapter.


99Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.

100The Pulpit.

101The Pulpit.

102The Pulpit.

103The Pulpit.



New Covenant Ministries - Ministerios NuevoPacto - Harbor Church, Block Island

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My name is James Rondinone. I am a husband, father, and spiritual leader.

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership Course of Study and graduated as valedictorian (Summa Cum Laude).

Studying and teaching the Word of God has been a passion of mine for over 20 years.

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