Does Water Baptism Wash Away The Sin of Adultery?
This question is what would be known as a complex question because it can be answered both “yes” and “no”. A complex question is one “that has a presupposition built in, which implies something but protects the one asking the question from accusations of false claims. It is a form of misleading discourse, and it is a fallacy when the audience does not detect the assumed information implicit in the question and accepts it as a fact.”(https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/69/Complex-Question-Fallacy)
An example of this type of logical fallacy is: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” If you answer “yes”, then you are implying you have been previously beating her (when you have not). If you answer “no”, then you have not stopped the activity of beating your wife.
There are actually two questions inherent in this question. The first question is: “Does water wash away the sin of adultery?”
The Bible teaches that all sins can be forgiven by God. The one exception is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (which you can read here: http://thegospelofchrist.com/pages-qanda/47blasphemingholyspirit—holyspirit.html).
Major Premise: All sins can be forgiven by God (Luke 5:21; Psalm 51).
Minor Premise: Adultery is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Hebrews 13:4; Matthew 5:31,32; 19:9; Galatians 5:19-21).
Conclusion: Therefore, adultery can be forgiven by God.
When a person complies with the terms to obtain forgiveness that God has issued, then Jesus’ blood will wash away all sins (Colossians 2:11-12; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3,4).
Notice that it was “terms” (plural), not just one “term” (singular). Water baptism is not the only prerequisite for being saved from sin. God states that one must believe Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:16; 8:24), repent of his/her sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30), and confess Jesus as the Son of God (Romans 10:9,10).
If a person is living in fornication (or adultery – Colossians 3:5), that person must show genuine repentance, which includes ceasing that ongoing sin/relationship. Getting out of his/her adulterous marriage shows the fruits of his/her repentance and that he/she is willing to be single (a “eunuch”) for the kingdom’s sake in accordance to God word and he/she seeks first the kingdom (Matthew 3:8; 6:33; 19:12).
There are some who teach that all you have to do is say, “I'm sorry, God. Please forgive me” and continue in the very relationship that Jesus called “committing adultery” (present tense, continuous action, Matthew 19:9). Those who teach this doctrinal error are committing the logical fallacy of special pleading.
“Special Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption.” (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/special-pleading.html)
Ask those teaching this error:
May a homosexual couple who are “married” legally according to the laws of land continue in their homosexual “marriage” if they simply tell God they are sorry or if they are baptized and tell God they are sorry?
May a heterosexual couple living with each other and committing fornication continue in their “co-habiting” relationship if they simply tell God they are sorry or if they are baptized and tell God they are sorry?
May a man who has four wives (such as Muslims) continue in his polygamous relationships if they simply tell God they are sorry or if they are baptized and tell God they are sorry?
A person who rightly divides the Scriptures knows the answers to these questions: (1) the homosexual couple would need to divorce civilly and show their fruits of repentance by not giving themselves over to the sin of homosexuality; (2) the heterosexual couple would have to stop living together and get married if they wanted to show fruits of repentance; (3) the man in polygamy would have to divorce the three wives that he had married and only remain faithful and loyal to the first woman he married in order to show fruits of repentance (assuming his first wife does not divorce him because of his fornication with the other three wives).
Certainly, a woman and man who are living in adultery must divorce from an unscriptural marriage in order to show that they, like Jesus, do not approve of living in an ungodly relationship before God (compare God’s people of the Old Testament being told to divorce their pagan wives in Ezra 10:10-19).
“Does baptism wash away the sin of adultery?” Yes, if and only if a person who is living in adultery is willing to show fruits worthy of repentance by getting out of that adulterous relationship.
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