The New Testament offers great wisdom and guidance to help us understand the purpose of baptism.
Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (See: Acts 2:38). When we are baptized, we repent by turning from our sinfulness and receive the forgiveness that Jesus provided through his death and resurrection.
Baptism is a symbol of our faith (See: Acts 8:12-13). The model we see in the New Testament is that when someone became a new believer (demonstrating faith in Jesus), they repented and were baptized. Baptism serves as a vital step for those declaring their faith in Jesus.
Baptism is a symbol of being buried and raised to life with Jesus (See: Romans 6:3-4). When we are baptized, it is the means by which we enter into the death of Jesus, and it is also how we are raised up into new life in Jesus.
When we take into consideration the scope of New Testament insight on baptism, we can conclude that Jesus did not need to be baptized for the same reasons that believers do. But, Jesus did need to be baptized, which is why he asked John to baptize him. By being baptized, Jesus began his work to take our place and to redeem humanity. He modeled baptism as something all believers need to do as a step in their faith walk. This remains true for believers today.
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