Catechism 1280 - the sign on the soul


When we are baptised we receive a spiritual sign or mark on our soul. How do we know this? Is it is scripture?


Scripture teaches there to be only one baptism–we do not re-baptize anyone who has been previously baptized. Even when a person commits apostasy, if he later repents, he is still not re-baptized. Therefore, we can deduce that even when faith and grace are lost in a soul, something essential to baptism is never lost so that it is unrepeatable.

As an aside, St. Vincent Ferrer said the indelible sign is the name of Jesus on the forehead (which signifies the rational soul), mentioned in Rev. 22:4.


Ephesians 1:13 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed* with the promised holy Spirit.




I think this might refer to Confirmation, rather than Baptism. In the section on Confirmation, the CCC cites this very verse when talking about the indelible mark of Confirmation:

1295 By this anointing the confirmand receives the “mark,” the seal of the Holy Spirit. A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority, or ownership of an object.106 Hence soldiers were marked with their leader’s seal and slaves with their master’s. A seal authenticates a juridical act or document and occasionally makes it secret.107

1296 Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Father’s seal.108 Christians are also marked with a seal: "It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."109 This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial.110

106 Cf Gen 38:18; 41:42; Deut 32:34; John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae 8:6.
107 Cf. 1 Kings 21:8; Jer 32:10; Isa 29:11.
108 Cf. Jn 6:27.
109 2 Cor 1:21-22; cf. Eph 1:13; 4,30.
110 Cf. Rev 7:2-3; 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6.


So which scriptures refer to the mark of baptism? And thank you for your replies so far. Do Orthodox, Copts and other believe in the mark/seal but Protestants do not? Is this what gives Baptism it’s sacramental nature?



1274 The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord (“Dominicus character”) "for the day of redemption."86 "Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life."87 The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life "marked with the sign of faith,"88 with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of faith - and in the hope of resurrection.

I will recheck Ephesians

Tertullian De Bapt…

  1. I do not mean to say that we obtain the Holy Spirit in the water, but having been cleansed in the water, we are being prepared under the angel for the Holy Spirit. Here, also, a type preceded; for in the same way John was forerunner 25 of the Lord, "preparing His ways." 26 So, also, the angel, the intermediary in Baptism, "makes straight the paths" 27 for the Holy Spirit that is to come upon us, by the washing away of sins, obtained by faith that has been sealed in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For if "on the word of three witnesses every word shall be established," 28 how much more, while we have through blessing the same mediators of faith as we have guarantors of salvation, is the number of divine names sufficient for the confidence we feel in our hope! But although it is on the word of three that the witness to our faith and the covenant of our salvation alike are pledged, mention of the Church is added of necessity, since "where there are three,"29 that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,30 "there" is the Church, which is a body of three.



This is the footnote for Ephesians 1:13 at bible

  • [1:13] Sealed: by God, in baptism; cf. Eph 4:30; 2 Cor 1:22.



“[Abraham] received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.” (Rom 4:11) – since baptism is new covenant’s version of circumcision, the indelible physical mark (!) of circumcision is replaced by the indelible spiritual mark of baptism.

“It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Cor 1:21-22)

“In [Christ] you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:13-14)

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30)

St. Thomas Aquinas addresses the question of whether the sacraments impart a “character” on the soul (ST III, 63).

I would suspect Orthodox Christianity shares the same belief. Protestants vary widely.

Baptism is a sacrament because it gives spiritual grace through a physical act. Penance and Eucharist are sacraments too, despite not leaving an indelible mark on the soul.


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