Does baptism actually wash away past unlawful marriages? If anyone asks an adulterer who is attempting to justify their unlawful marriage, then the answer is yes. If one asks the Word of God, the answer is as follows:
What Is Marriage?
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed kept pure, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb. 13:4). In the beginning God instituted marriage and regulated it by his Word. He never planned for any marriage to be dissolved except it be for death itself. Marriage is a physical union; it is not a spiritual union. Gen 2:24 There are no marriages in heaven. (Matt 22:30) They are no more twain but one flesh (Matt. 19:6). Death ends all marriages. (Rom. 7:3)
Adultery is just as sinful as fornication, homosexuality, lying, stealing, and murder, etc. Sin is sin no matter it’s name. Jesus taught that divorce and remarriage results in committing adultery except it be for fornication. If a man puts his wife away for any other cause and marries another, he commits adultery, and he causes his wife to commit adultery. Any man who marries the one who is divorced, commits adultery. (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mk. 10:11, 12; Lk. 16:18).
What Is Baptism?
Peter taught that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:38) Ananias said to Saul, “And now why do you wait? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The only thing that baptism “washes” away is the past sins of the penitent believer! Baptism does not provide for forgiveness of sins not yet committed.
Baptism does not change any human relationship on earth. It changes man’s relationship to God. We are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27); into the one body, which is the church (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22,23). Baptism saves us (1 Pet. 3:21). In baptism we are made free from sin, and become servants of righteousness (Rom. 6:16,17).
All deeds, words, and thoughts that are sinful before baptism, are equally as sinful after baptism. (Rom. 6:1-18). If a man divorces his wife fraudulently and marries another, he commits adultery; and whoever marries his divorced wife commits adultery. (Mt 19:9) An adulterous marriage before baptism is an adulterous marriage after baptism because they remain in their sin.
Repentance Is Essential to Scriptural Baptism
Repentance is a commandment of God for all mankind (Acts 17:30). One must repent before they can be baptized (Acts 2:38; Lk. 24:47). All must repent or perish (2 Pet. 3:9). Godly sorrow leads us to repentance (2 Cor. 7: 10). The knowledge of the goodness of God leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4). The judgment of God causes men to repent (Acts 17:30,31; 2 Cor. 5:10). Repentance of necessity requires one to forsake and cease from their sins, and diligently pursue the will of God. (2 Pet 2:14)
Anyone who are in an unlawful marriage must repent before they can be baptized. Therefore, one must of necessity abandon their adulterous marriage before they can be baptized, and if they refuse such, they are not scripturally baptized and are still in their sins.
Conclusion: If baptism washes away unlawful marriages, and makes them right, what about the man who is married to two wives at the same time, may he keep both of his wives after he has been baptized? If unlawful marriages are made right by baptism, why would not the homosexuals who “marry” each other be made right by baptism so that they could continue to live together? Who in their right mind has ever baptized two homosexuals who intend to continue living together and committing this abominable sin? Baptism can’t wash away polygamy and homosexual marriages unless the ones who are engaged in such put away such abominations. The same applies to adulterous marriages.
Is it any wonder that this false doctrine claims that alien sinners are not amenable to the law of Christ? If an alien sinner is not amenable to the law of Christ, then they are not a sinner. Where there is no law, there is no transgression (Rom. 4:15). Sin is the transgression of the law (1 Jn. 3:4). Therefore, all have sinned and all are under the law of Christ. Rom 3:23 The law of Christ requires one to depart and abandon sin of any nature before they can be baptized. The doctrine of Christ never said, belief and baptism washes away our sins. No! What it does say is that REPENTANCE and BAPTISM washes away our sins. Believe that Jesus is the Christ and confess such before men! (Rom 10:10) Repent (abandon your sins . Including adultery) and be baptized (immersed) and have your sins washed away! (Acts 2:38) This is the kind of gospel that washes away all sins. This is the kind of gospel that saves.