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  • Chad Werkhoven

Titus 3:3-7 - Washed (not) with Water

Baptism signifies and seals, but it doesn't save.

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Read Titus 3:3-7

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 72

Q. Does this outward washing

with water itself wash away sins?

A. No, only Jesus Christ’s blood

and the Holy Spirit

cleanse us from all sins



Passages like today's are difficult for people who've grown up knowing Christ. Many of us can't remember a time when we didn't know the truth of God's Word, and although we certainly didn't live up to that Word each day and have done things we're deeply ashamed of, we can't honestly say that our foolishness and disobedience stemmed from our not knowing the love of God or our Savior. What a blessing we've been given to always know and live in God's grace!

Maybe some of you can point to a specific time where you went from living in malice and envy to being renewed in the Holy Spirit, and you've experienced the night and day difference that comes from suddenly coming to know Christ. What a blessing you've been given, to understand clearly that your salvation doesn't stem from doing a bunch or righteous deeds, but because of God's mercy!

Regardless of how or when you came to be aware of your salvation, know that all Christians became Christians in the exact same way: by being washed. The sacrament of baptism signifies the fact that when you were re-born, whether that happened so early in life that you can't remember, or it just happened last week, that you were washed and made clean by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dig Deeper

It's important to remember that the sacrament of baptism, while both beautiful to experience and witness, and necessary because our Savior commanded it, does not in and of itself actually save the recipient. As we've recently been reminded, sacraments are signs and seals.

Baptism signifies that the recipient's sins have been washed away, and there's not enough water in the world to physically accomplish the cleansing that we require to live in peace with a holy God. Paul here reminds us that the true washing we need comes by the power of the Holy Spirit who has been 'poured out on you generously through Jesus Christ your Savior.

We also talk about the covenant often when baptizing a person, noting that their baptism seals them into the covenant family of God - that is, the Church. As awesome as that is, v7 reminds us that as a baptized member of the church, you're not just joined to a distinct group of people, rather you've become an heir of God and you have the certain hope of eternal life.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who has shown His kindness and love to His children by washing them in the power of the Holy Spirit;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that having been made clean by the washing you've experienced, you will stay clean and free from sin.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 4


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