Being Dead to Sin after Baptism


it is said that once we are baptized we are baptized into Christ’s death and thus we become dead to sin.

My question is. If we are dead to sin dosen’t that shield us from future sins? How can the punishments of sin still be in effect for the baptized if we are dead to sin? While christians may still sin, the punishment on sin(the second death) dosen’t effect us because through Christ’s death we become dead to sin. Wouldn’t this be a guarantee if thus a christian stays faithful?


The problem with phrases like “dead to sin” is that they really don’t mean anything. Thus people have to attach some meaning to them, and not everybody will attach the same meaning.

I for one have no idea what “dead to sin” is supposed to mean.


Check out the Catechism (which quotes Romans 6:8-11):

CCC 1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” and through Baptism [34]:

But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.[35]

[34] Rom 3:22; cf. 6:3-4.
[35] Rom 6:8-11.

Through Jesus’ death, we have been freed from the bonds of sin. That doesn’t mean we won’t shackle ourselves voluntarily from time to time.


Let’s see what your namesake had to say—1 Peter 1:

1: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4: To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5: Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
10: Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12: Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
13: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14: As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16: Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy
17: And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
18: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21: Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22: Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24: For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you

We sin if we revert to our pre-Baptismal state by refusing to use the grace granted us for good. As a visiting priest summarized Peter: “You’re the Body of Christ----act like it!”


What about when St. Paul talks about being saved, but only by fire. meaning everything else of your foundation burns up9the bad works and sins you did while being a christian), but because your base is still Christ you still will be saved in the end even though you have used things like hay and straw as your walls. It seems St. paul says that while the righteous are saved, also the unrighteous who still yet have faith in Christ but yet still are not able to live good lives. They will be saved by fire, but they still will be saved in the end

If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire - Corinthians 3:15

Ive recently been thinking alot about this verse lately because it is such an interesting verse. but it seems to portray that even the bad christians will make it to heaven in the end because they still have their foundation on christ. Whats your opinion on this.

While it is bad to continue living a bad life after baptism and faith, but is a bad life AFTER faith in Christ enough to take away your salvation? How can we lose salvation once we have become dead to sin in our baptism?


Let’s look at the whole chapter:

1: And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 

2: I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3: **For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? **
4: For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6: I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7: So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8: Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
**9: For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
10: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. **
11: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12: Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13: Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14: If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15: If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
**16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17: If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. **
18: Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19: For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20: And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21: Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
22: Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
23: And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

When we look at what precedes 3:15, I think the meaning is made clear.

Christ laid the foundation on the Cross—justifying grace.

What then will we build on that foundation?

Will it be gold? — sanctifying grace.

Will it be straw? — sin.

Gold will survive the fire of judgment; straw will not.

If we have nothing to show for the grace granted us but a defiled temple and charred straw, will God not destroy us?

Let’s check in with the ECFs and see what they make of it:

Ambrosiaster (366-384):

To suffer loss is to endure reproof. For what person, when subjected to punishment, does not lose something thereby? Yet the person himself may be saved. His living soul will not perish in the same way that his erroneous ideas will. Even so, however, he may suffer punishments of fire. He will be saved only by being purified through fire.

(Commentary on Paul’s Epistles)

Chrysostom (344/54 - 407):

If someone has the right faith but leads a wicked life, his faith will not protect him from punishment, because his work will be burned up. A man in gold armor will pass through a river of fire and come out shining all the more brightly, but a man who passes through it with hay will lose it and destroy himself besides.

Homilies on the epistles of Paul to the Corinthians

Caesarius of Arles (470-543):

There are many people who understand this text incorrectly, deceiving themselves with a false assurance. They believe that if they build serious sins upon the foundations of Christ, those very offenses can be purified by transitory flames, and they themselves can later reach eternal life. This kind of understanding must be corrected. People deceive themselves when they flatter themselves in this way. For in that fire it is slight sins which are purged, not serious ones. Even worse, it is not only the greater sins but the smaller ones as well which can ruin a person.

Sermons 179.1


Thanx alot for that. but is there really such thing as false re-assurance in Christ? Shouldn’t we put all assurance we can have on him? Wouldn’t that be doubting his saving power?


This is starting to sound like the Protestant error of Once Saved Always Saved. Consider Judas, an original follower of Jesus and that 'it would have been better for that man if he had not been born." [Mathew 26:24]

It is not a matter of false trust in Christ it is a matter of being imperfect humans (recollect Peter’s denial) who are in continuous need of repentance and forgiveness of sin (recollect the washing of feet at that last supper). We should put all our assurances on Jesus being merciful and forgiving - but we must come to him and ask it as did all those who sought healing and were healed.

It is putting the Lord to the test and assumptive to assume we are forgiven and always saved simply by saying “I believe” (recollect Simon Magus).



Caesarius is not referencing reassurance in Christ, but in the notion that because Christ has laid the foundation, one may build any sinful thing we like upon it, and still be deemed saved.

The ECFs did not hold OSAS; that was an innovation that came along thousands of years later. They feared falling back into sin (indeed, Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians, especially the first, was to admonish the faithful from doing such); this is why so much of the early church discussions were about avoiding sins of the flesh in particular. How could they not, with Christ’s calls to reprentance ringing in their ears?

Sometimes I wonder if the reason we cling to such comforts as OSAS isn’t because we believe in our hearts (as Luther may have, at times) that we simply cannot stop sinning, no matter how we try.


Concur. This is a pattern of despair that Satan wants us to believe. He wants us to believe that we are incapable of being worthy of forgivness since we keep sinning even when given divine grace. Luther was mentally tortured and suffered a grave condition of scrupulosity and was prone to sins of the flesh and drinking in excess. He essentially over studied scripture to find a way to quiet his hyperactive mind while seeking a way to reconcile his own belief that Jesus was not kidding about needing to be pure to enter heaven. Basically one man’s mental illness has now spread in grand fashion to infect the spiritual senses of hundreds of millions of people calling themselves Christian. Such who follow Luther’s teaching and not The Catholic Church teaching are now yoked to the noxious and addictive doctrine of OSAS. They are going about blissfully ‘being sinners, and letting their sins be strong (sinning boldly), but letting their trust in Christ be stronger’ (Luther). If one has a relationship with Jesus one abhors sin and works at repenting as soon as the does sin and seeks confession.

I am convinced that a healthy fear of the Lord is necessary for salvation. Fear of eternal damnation will quicken our senses and bring us to love of God. Fear of damnation will keep us alive long enough to develop a deep spiritual relationship so that we become reflexively Christian and don’t have to even consciously think about it anymore. Virtually all the saints were very much fearful and respectful of God - even as they loved Him.



Of course, not every Protestant holds to OSAS. It is primarily found within fundamentalist communities who follow Calvinist theology for the most part. There is a growing nondenominational community which also holds for all practical purposes to OSAS but from a “God is love” perspective rather than a Calvinist predestination one.

I am convinced that a healthy fear of the Lord is necessary for salvation. Fear of eternal damnation will quicken our senses and bring us to love of God. Fear of damnation will keep us alive long enough to develop a deep spiritual relationship so that we become reflexively Christian and don’t have to even consciously think about it anymore. Virtually all the saints were very much fearful and respectful of God - even as they loved Him.



Jude 1:

22: And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24: Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25: To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

We must both love and fear God—love His mercy, fear His wrath!


If anyone wants to see whether our sins affect our Salvation should peruse the Parables of Jesus. There are numerous examples of punishments for the sinful, not the least of which is the Sheep and the Goats.


The idea that we are “dead to sin” means that sin no longer has a claim on us. IOW, we no longer HAVE to sin as we did before we were baptized into Christ.

Now, we still TEND toward sin and commit sins, but we are no longer slaves to sin.

We have a choice that we did not have previously.

My $.02.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit