Do we die to sin at the point of repentance?


After viewing your web site, my brother and I saw the graphic on the gospel re-enacted.  I appreciate the way it is laid out.  I am attaching a similar graphic that is being taught in this area and in many other areas also.

In this graphic, it is taught that in baptism we repent of sin and die to sin.  Your graphic shows the re-enactment much better.  Please compare the one I am sending you to the one on your site.  I have been in conflict with several brethren here about this without success.  According to Scripture, we are to obey "that form of doctrine," not "a form" of that doctrine which is "death, burial and resurrection."  Jesus died on the cross, not in the grave just as we are to die to sin in repentance then be buried in baptism. 

Are these your thoughts?  I appreciate what I have viewed on your site and will continue looking at it as I have opportunity.


"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7).

One is freed from sin when he has died. It is baptism that we are buried with him into death. You cited no passages that says that at the point of repentance a person has died to sin. One cannot be saved from sin without repentance, but God does not teach that it is at the point of repentance that we died to sin. The key problem is that you added repentance to Romans 6:3-7 and it isn't in this passage.

If repentance removed sins, then why must one repent and be baptized to gain forgiveness of sin? "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

If repentance removed sins, then why was Saul (later Paul) told to wash away his sins in baptism? "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).

Of course there is the verse that solidly connects baptism and salvation. "There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21). What is one saved from? The only answer is "sin." It is baptism that is the final step for salvation from sin. Repentance is an essential step, but it is not the final step.

What you miss is that the act of baptism illustrates three points about Christ:

  • Entering the water represents Christ's death
  • Being under the water represents Christ's burial
  • Coming up out of the water represents Christ's resurrection

Paul, in Romans 6:3-7 says that baptism also illustrates three points about the Christian:

  • Entering the water represents dying to our old life of sin
  • Being under the water represents leaving our old man of sin behind
  • Coming up out of the water represents a raising up to a new life and the hope of resurrection to eternal life in the end.

Only baptism is being discussed in Romans 6:3-7 and it is baptism that represents all three points. I agree that there is a problem with the graphic in that it implies that baptism is repentance. I know the creator of it doesn't believe that and it wasn't his intention. But it appears you took it a different way that also is not correct.

First, I never intended anything but to let you know I appreciated the graphic on your site.

Second, I don't know how you came to the conclusion that I was trying to add repentance to Romans 6:3-7.  To read my email, you should have seen I oppose that idea.  Look at it again and you will find that I stated repentance and then baptism.

Acts 2:38 teaches repentance then baptism.  Repentance signifying our turning away from or dying to sin.  It is in repentance that we decide to quit sinning.  Without this step baptism cannot happen no matter how wet one may get. 

  • Entering the water represents Christ's death
  • Being under the water represents Christ's burial
  • Coming up out of the water represents Christ's resurrection

On these three points, I agree with the second and third but not the first.  Entering the water represents Christ's death only in the sense that He was already dead and ready to be buried.  He died on the cross, not in the tomb.  We do not bury living people.  Therefore we do not baptize people who are still living in sin, only those dead to sin can be baptized into Christ for the remission of sin.  It is in baptism where we, being dead to sin, are baptize into His death, our death into His death then raised to walk the new life.

You stated that I cited no passage about repentance being dead to sin.  Could you site the passage stating that entering the water represents Christ's death?

My goal is to find only the truth in God's word, nothing less or nothing more.

Your initial note stated, "we are to die to sin in repentance then be buried in baptism." This is not found in the Scriptures. In repentance we turn from sin, "... that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance" (Acts 26:20). But there is no passage that states that repentance is dying to sin.

I agree that hearing is necessary before one can believe (Romans 10:17). Confession is necessary to approach salvation (Romans 10:10). And repentance, a turning from sin, is necessary before gaining life (Acts 11:18). However, the removal of sin -- the death to sin -- comes through baptism. "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death ... for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ" (Romans 6:3-8). This passage was cited in my reply and proves the point.

If, as you claim, that a person dies to sin when they repent, then you are saying they have been freed from sin (Romans 6:7) before they were baptized, whether you realize it or not. Yet, as I pointed out, repentance is not under consideration in Romans 6. The discussion is about baptism. In baptism, one enters death with the Lord and in that death he is freed from sin.

This is why you've run into objections because you are describing the events as you see them making sense to you but not as they are described in the Bible. People like me want biblical ideas expressed in biblical terms. Otherwise, you'll accidentally leave a false impression on others. (And you still didn't back up your point that repentance is dying to sin with your Bible. Assertions are not proof.)

"Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).