Roman Catholics often use ‘holy water’ as a reminder of baptism.  Typically, they would dip their fingers in holy water and make the sign of the cross when entering their church building. This practice, to them, is used as a renewal of baptism, a cleansing of forgivable sin, as well as providing protection against evil.  It is often accompanied by the following prayer, “By this Holy water and by your Precious Blood, wash away all my sins O Lord.”  Many also keep a bottle of ‘holy water’ in their homes to be applied in the same manner.  It can also be used to drive away evil forces from the individual or his home.

According to the Bible, is this how our sins are truly washed away?  Let’s consider 1 Peter 1:18-19 which says, “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; BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  It is the blood of Christ shed for us which redeems us and washes away our sins.  It is ONLY the blood of Christ which can redeem us and wash away our sins.  To those who are already saved, we need a practical removal of our sins to maintain a relationship with our Lord.  It is the confession of our sins to the Lord that accomplishes that.  We read in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Although our sin debt is paid when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to continue to confess our ongoing sins to the Lord so that we might remain close to Him and enjoy fellowship with Him.  When we confess our sins, He forgives us and then completely cleanses us from our sins.  There is nothing in the Word of God that would have us use any type of so-called ‘holy water’ as an instrument to wash our sins away.  This practice denies the efficacy of the shed blood of our blessed savior.  What is the power to keep evil forces at bay in our lives?  It is dependence upon the Lord that gives us the power to overcome the temptations and attacks of Satan.  1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because BECAUSE GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD.”

We do find anointing oil used in the Old Testament to sanctify the priests or the tabernacle and its furnishings.  Exodus 40:9-13, “And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy. And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”

In the New Testament, there are a couple of occasions where we see anointing oil was used in connection with physical healing.  For example let’s read James 5:14-15, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”  However, notice here what it is that heals the sick one.  It is the ‘PRAYER OF FAITH’ that heals.  For more on the use of anointing oil, I encourage you to click on this Answers From the Book link: http://answersfromthebook.net/i-would-like-to-know-what-the-bible-teaches-us-about-using-anointing-oil/.

Is the use of ‘holy water’ or ‘holy anointing oil’ wrong or harmful?  If we use ANYTHING to replace or enhance the work of the Lord, it is entirely wrong and dishonoring to the Lord.  While we do have an example of oil being used in the New Testament, there is absolutely no use of ‘holy water’ in the Word to indicate that it is should be used to help wash away sins, protect from Satan and his power, or to be used by a priest in sprinkling to consecrate others.  This is entirely foreign to God’s Word.  (224.10)