Thus far in this study we have seen that the Scriptures in fact teach that both water baptism and the blood of Jesus Christ are for the forgiveness and remission of sins. To some this may seem a contradiction, even a stumbling block, yet the same holy Scriptures that so thoroughly illustrate these truths also beautifully link together water baptism and the blood of Christ into one event- the remission of sins. After explaining the transition from the old to the New Covenant, the writer of Hebrews beckons us saying,
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:19-22)
When one is baptized in water, God blots out that person's sin by sprinkling the heart with the blood of Jesus which in turn cuts the sins off of that person's heart. This is where we get the term "circumcision of the heart." For just as every male in Israel was required, under the Old Covenant, to be circumcised on the eighth day of his life, under the New Covenant everyone must have their sins cut off from their hearts by the circumcision made without hands, that is the circumcision of Christ. This is part of the promise guaranteed by God from the beginning of the establishment of the Old Covenant when He said,
"And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live." (Deuteronomy 30:6)
The apostle Paul equates baptism with the removal of sin by the "circumcision of Christ" in Colossians 2:11-12. He states,
"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
Hebrews 10:19-22 explains that in the "new and living way" which God ordained through Jesus Christ we are now able to draw near to Him in faith and enter the Holiest Place "by the blood of Jesus." Verse 22 shows us that the blood of Christ is applied, "sprinkled on our hearts," by God as we come to Him having "our bodies washed with pure water." Paul also taught that it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from our sins (Romans 5:9, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14), yet in his letter to the Ephesians Paul declares that,
"Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word." (5:25-26)
So we see God has ordained that the blood of the New Covenant, shed by Jesus, the unspotted Lamb of God, cleanses our hearts from sin as our bodies are washed with water through baptism in obedience to God. This is Christ's circumcision, the circumcision of the heart, as our sins are cut away and we enter into a New Covenant relationship with the Son of God.
Biblical Christian baptism is for nothing other than the remission of sins. There is not one verse that would suggest otherwise. As we read in I Peter 3:21, it is not merely the water that saves us. It is,
"Not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God."
Though it is actually the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that cleanses us from sin, immersion in water upon conversion is what we, as sinful humanity, are commanded to do in order to have our sins washed away by the precious blood of the Lamb. This is what the Scriptures teach about baptism. This is why the Lord Jesus commands it. For,
"This is He who came by water and blood- Jesus Christ; not by water only but by water and blood, and it is the Spirit who bears witness because the Spirit is truth." (I John 5:6)