Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27
Q72. Does this outward washing with water
itself wash away sins?
A72. No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit
cleanse us from all sins.
Q73. Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism
the water of rebirth and
the washing away of sins?
A73. God has good reason for these words.
To begin with, God wants to teach us that
the blood and Spirit of Christ take away our sins
just as water removes dirt from the body.
But more important,
God wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign,
that we are as truly washed of our sins spiritually
as our bodies are washed with water physically.
Q74. Should infants also be baptized?
Infants as well as adults
are included in God’s covenant and people,
and they, no less than adults, are promised
deliverance from sin through Christ’s blood
and the Holy Spirit who produces faith.
Therefore, by baptism, the sign of the covenant,
they too should be incorporated into the Christian church
and distinguished from the children
This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision,
which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.