January 2018

Washing of Holy Baptism

“We were buried therefore with Him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

          Different doctrines (teachings) have developed on what Baptism is.  The main point of this article is to promote that Scripture assures us that Divine benefits are given in Holy Baptism.

          First, Baptism “works the forgiveness of sins” (Small Catechism-SC): “…Repent and be Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself” (Acts 2:38-39). Divine benefits identified here are “the forgiveness of sins” and “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 

          Second, Baptism “rescues us from death and the devil” (SC): the Romans 6:4 above and its surrounding verses assure us of being united with Christ in Baptism. Christ has defeated death and the devil with His Victorious Resurrection; “Thanks be to God, who gives us this victory through Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:56b).

          Third, Baptism “gives eternal salvation” (SC): “Whoever believes and is Baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16) and “Baptism…now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).

          “What benefits does Baptism give? It works the forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare”. (SC) Who should receive these Divine benefits? Christ taught “Go and make disciples of all nations, Baptizing them…teaching them…” (Matthew 28:19). In Acts 16, Lydia’s household and the jailer’s family were Baptized. Colossians 2:11-12 equates or substitutes Old Testament circumcision with New Testament Baptism.  Circumcision was normally done for an infant before Christ instituted Holy Baptism. It was done on the eight day as specifically recorded for the Apostle Paul (Philippians 3:5) and even Christ (Luke 2:21). Laws should not be made restricting these Divine benefits based on mankind’s thoughts of mental capacity and/or age.

          There is more Biblical doctrine that assures us of the Divine benefits in Baptism; please refer to your Small Catechism. Christians’ responsibilities are to follow Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples by Baptizing them and teaching them.

          To close I share a paragraph from a booklet that Faith Lutheran presents to the Baptismal family:

          With the washing of Holy Baptism, your child is clean and holy and under the good favor           of God. Baptism frees him or her to live forever as a “favorite” of the Lord, a beloved                 child of God. Through the forgiveness of sins, your son or        daughter has the same               place in the lap of the Father as does the only-begotten   Son. (“Baptism of Your Child”             Thomas and Carla Fast, page 15.)

The Lord be with you,

Pastor Sam Wiseman