literally wash away sins?

Arise and be baptized and wash away you sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.

We are often told, water can not literally wash away sins. Then the conclusion is drawn that one doesn't have to be baptized at all.

First, we would agree, that water doesn't literally wash away sins anymore than the blood of Christ literally washes away sins. Yet, our Lord had to DIE in order that our sins might be forgiven (see Matthew 26:28); and Saul, in being told what he must do to have the remission of sins (Acts 9:6) was required to "arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins. Even so, in our obedience of faith the Lord washes away our sins - "blots out our sins" - "forgives our sins". What this verse DOES establish is WHEN the Lord said he would forgive. (See Colossians 2:11-13)

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