When did baptism for the remission of sins start?


In the “Articles” section, under Baptism, “Answering Arguments Against Baptism”.  You state that “Baptism for the remission of sins did not begin until the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37-38), so the thief (and Jesus) lived under the law of Moses.”

Please read Mark 1:4: "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

So my question is: did baptism for the remission of sin start with John the Baptist as stated in Mark 1:4 or did it start on the day of Pentecost?

I belong to a church of Christ.  I know what is required for salvation and that one is not saved until they reach the blood of Christ through water baptism. I’m a little confused to as when the baptism for the remission of sin started since Mark 1:4 says what it says.


The problem is that eis ("for") in Mark 1:4 means "leading to." By itself, it doesn't tell you if it is leading to an immediate result or one in the near future.

John's purpose was to get the people ready for the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah said of him, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God" " (Isaiah 40:3). In the Old Testament, he was compared to the prophet Elijah and it was said of John, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:5-6).

This is what John did. He taught people to leave sins behind, to repent, and to get ready for the Messiah. "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" " (Matthew 3:1-2). He was a no-nonsense preacher who was quite blunt in his scoldings (Luke 3:1-18).

Much later Paul runs across twelve men who had been baptized by John but not into Jesus' baptism.

"And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:1-5).

Thus it is from Paul that we learn that John's baptism prepared people for Christ. It leads unto remission of sins, but it wasn't adequate for the removal of sin. This is unlike Jesus' baptism which washes sins away. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

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