Some people believe they should be baptized again if they have sinned or have committed what they consider a major sin. Is this a biblical belief?
A look at the New Testament reveals this is not the case. Baptism is intended as a public profession of faith for a person who has believed in Jesus Christ. Jesus set the example by being baptized (John 1:29-34). He called His disciples to make other disciples and to baptize them when they believed (Matthew 28:19-20). When the church first began, the 3,000 people who believed were all then baptized (Acts 2:41).
Those who think they must be baptized after sinning usually feel this way because they think baptism literally washes away their sins or saves them. However, baptism does not save a person; baptism is the confession of faith by a person who has been saved. The clearest example is the thief on the cross. He believed in Jesus, yet had no time to be baptized. Yet Jesus said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).
Instead, when we sin as Christians we are called to confess our sins to God. First John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." In some cases, we may also need to go to another person to be reconciled due to a particular sin we have committed. However, there is no need to be baptized again. Baptism is designed as an event that takes place once in the life of a believer, not repeatedly.
Romans 6:3-4 offers a great perspective on the important role of baptism: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Baptism signifies we walk in "newness of life." While we will still sin, our goal is to live for Christ according to the teachings of God's Word.
Is there a time when being baptized again is recommended? In some cases, a person is baptized in a church before he or she has truly come to faith in Jesus Christ. In these situations, it is important to be baptized after salvation to declare your public profession of faith in Jesus. If this is an area that may apply to you, you can speak with your local church minister regarding whether this is appropriate in your situation.
Baptism is a sign that shows we have believed in Jesus and are committed to living for Him. When we sin, we do not need to be baptized again. Instead, we confess our sins and seek to live for Him better each day.
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