In the previous lesson "Means of
Grace" were defined as the tools ("means") by which
He gives His grace. God's Word and the Sacraments are His means of
grace. He uses these "tools" as a means to bring us to
faith...and strengthen our faith.
What It Does
Sacraments, Holy Baptism does three
1) Grant us forgiveness of sins;
2) Deliver us from death and the Devil; and
3) Give eternal salvation to all who believe this as the words and
promises of God
Baptism: What It Is
Don't let looks deceive you! When we look at
the visible things (or "elements")
in the Sacraments, we may think that what we see is what we get.
But this is not so.
The water in Holy Baptism is not just simple
water. In his Small Catechism, Martin Luther wrote,
"Baptism is not simple water only, but
is is the water comprehended in God's command and connected with
What makes the water in Baptism so powerful?
God's Word. Baptism is simply a God-given connection of water with
God's Word. That's what makes Baptism work. God's Word is always
powerful. Paul, in Romans 1:16 taught that the Word of God "it
is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes"
(NIV). If one does not use God's Word in Baptism, is there a
Baptism? Definitely Not! Without God's Word, the water of Baptism is
simply water...and nothing more.
God's Word is present, the Holy Spirit is there to empower the Word
of God to change hearts. When God's Word is connected with water,
the most remarkable thing that can happen occurs: God renews and
regenerates a sinner and makes them a forgiven child of God. This is
nothing less than a total renovation and recreation of who we
Baptism: God Makes
Us A "New Creation"
one is baptized and comes to saving faith, they become a "new
creation." No longer does God look at us as sinners. He sees us
as forgiven saints. Do we deserve God's forgiveness? Do we deserve
this new identity as "New Creation?"
course not! It is entirely by God's grace that, by Holy Baptism, He
makes us His children. God gives this calling to everyone! Whether
one is black, white, yellow, red, male, female, young, old, smart or
not-so-smart, God called us to baptize everyone. Everyone? Yes,
EVERYONE...including infants and the elderly.
is only when we recognize the universality of God's grace that
Christians understand that when Jesus said, "baptize all
nations" that He meant everyone. Those who deny infant baptism
not only defy Jesus' command to baptize everyone. They also deny the
universal, unlimited grace of God who would reach out and save
everyone who believes in Him.
Baptism: Can God Save Without It?
blessings of Baptism are for those who, having been baptized, have
faith and believe in God. The Bible gives some instances of people
who have been saved without Holy Baptism. The thief on the cross is
one of those people. The people of the Old Testament were also saved
without Holy Baptism.
ascended into heaven, the New Testament records how Jesus' Apostles
continually preached that people should be baptized "for the
forgiveness of their sins" (Acts 2). The Apostles regularly
preached repentance and baptism. They knew Jesus' teaching, "He
who is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16 NIV). Since baptism
was the way Jesus taught them to bring salvation to people, it is
necessary that we baptize infants as soon as possible after
birth...and adults when they come to faith in Jesus Christ.
if you don't receive Holy Baptism or were wrongly baptized?
saving faith cannot exist in the heart of one who refuses to
be baptized, saving faith can exist in those adults who have
not--and cannot--be baptized. However, if such believing adults
continue to refuse Holy Baptism, their unbelief in Baptism and the
power of God's Word is damnable.
people lose their baptism certificates and are unsure of the date
and circumstances of their baptism...if they were baptized at all.
Those who are unsure of their baptism should talk with their pastor
about the possibility of being baptized as Christians.
must also remember that just because one is baptized doesn't mean
they "automatically" go to heaven. Only unbelief damns.
For that reason, there will be people in Hell who were baptized as
Christians. The reason they are in Hell is not because there was a
problem with their Baptism. No. The reason they are in Hell is
because of their unbelief. Somehow Satan deceived them and they gave
up their faith in Jesus Christ...in whom they were baptized.
A Daily Experience
Holy Baptism is only done once, it is celebrated every single day.
Each day one ought to remember their Baptism and reflect on God's
forgiveness, grace and love for them. By remembering our Baptism daily,
we continue to live in the confidence of which St. Paul wrote in
Romans chapter 8.
"I am convinced that neither death nor
life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the
future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything
else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the
love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans
In Baptism, God gives His gracious, eternal
promise to be with us always "until the end of the world."
With this promise, why would anyone NOT want to be
Celebrate Your Baptism today!!!