Afternoon Sermon: What Is Baptism?, Baptist Catechism 97, Romans 6:1-14 

Baptist Catechism 97

Q. 97. What is Baptism?

A. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament instituted by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized a sign of his fellowship with Him, in His death, burial, and resurrection; of his being engrafted into Him; of remissions of sins; and of his giving up himself unto God through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27)

Scripture Reading: Romans 6:1–14

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 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. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:1–14, ESV)


Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.



Let me begin by reminding you that we have been considering how God takes the redemption that Christ has earned and applies it to his elect living in different times and in different places throughout the world. We know that Christ has earned our salvation. This he has done long ago. There is nothing left for him or for us to do as it pertains to the accomplishment of our redemption. And we know that the salvation Christ has earned is received by faith in Christ alone. In fact, Question 90 of our catechism asked, “ What doth God require of us, that we may escape His wrath and curse, due to us for sin? And the answer given was, “To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.” To be saved we must turn from our sins and trust in Christ. But now we are asking the question, how does God deliver or communicate the benefits that Christ has earned to us? I think you would agree, there must be a conduit or a connection between Christ and us. All of these benefits are received by faith, but how do we come to hear about Christ and his finished work? Through the word of God read and preached. The word through is important. It indicates that there is a means. And how will be come to be strengthened and nourished in Christ? We know that God works through baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. These are the means (or conduits) that God has determined to use to bring his elect to faith in Christ and to strengthen them, by his grace.


Baptist Catechism 97

Today we are looking especially at baptism. The question is, what is baptism? By the way, understanding what baptism is will help us to know who is it for.  I think you will see what I mean in just a moment. 

So what is baptism?

“Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament…” 

“Ordinance” – it is something that Christ has ordered. 

“Of the New Testament” – Baptism is a sign of the New Covenant. 

Just as circumcision was a sign of the Old Covenant (starting with the Abrahamic), so Baptism is a sign of the New Covenant.

All who are members of the New Covenants are to be given this sign, therefore.   

“…instituted by Jesus Christ…”

The precursor to New Covenant baptism was the ceremonial washings of the Old Covenant

When Christ came into the world to inaugurate the New Covenant he made Baptism the sign of entry into this covenant. 

Baptism, like circumcision, and the command to not eat of the forbidden tree, is a positive law. It is not a moral law. It is a law that God added in special connection with a covenant – the New Covenant. 

“…to be unto the party baptized a sign…” 

“…of his [or her] fellowship with Him, in His death, burial, and resurrection;” 

“…of his [or her] being engrafted into Him;”

“…of remissions of sins;” 

.”..and of his [or her] giving up himself unto God through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.” 



Do you remember your baptism? Do not forget what you said, and what was said of you, then.

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