What About Johnís Baptism?

by Mark Aites


According to Scripture John the Baptist did baptize ďfor the remission of sinsĒ (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3).There is no question about it.It is the same Greek words that are used in Acts 2:38 on the day of Pentecost.

The issue is not, did John baptize for the remission of sins? for the Bible says that he did.The issue is when did those whom John baptized receive the remission of sins?

The Bible makes us aware that in order for sins to be paid for, there has to be a blood sacrifice (Hebrews 9:21-22).During the time of Johnís ministry the only sacrifices known for sin were animal sacrifices.But we know that they were not sufficient to atone for sin, ďBut in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sinsĒ (Hebrews 10:3-4).Since the blood of animals was not sufficient to obtain the remission of sins, those whom John baptized could not have received the forgiveness of sins before Christ died.

Johnís message of baptism unto repentance for the remission of sins was understood in prospect.Only the blood of Christ had and continues to have the sufficient power to cleanse one of their sins.

When our Lord shed His blood, we recognize that it was shed for all mankind, from the beginning in the Garden of Eden until the last moment until time ends in the great day of Judgment.Two verses make us aware of this fact: ďWhom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committedĒ (Romans 3:25).ďAnd for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritanceĒ (Hebrews 9:15).

But what about Acts 19:1-5?Werenít some, who had been baptized with Johnís baptism, told that they needed to be baptized again?If you note carefully, Paul states ďthey should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ JesusĒ (Acts 19:4).This signifies that they had received Johnís baptism after the Great Commission was in force.The baptism of the Great Commission involved being baptized in the name of Christ, whereas Johnís was not.The baptism of the Great Commission replaced Johnís baptism, for Johnís was only meant as a work of preparation.But the events on Pentecost make it plain that those who had received Johnís baptism prior to the cross did not need to be re-baptized.