September 4, 2008 - Thursday of the 15th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 2 Kings 2:1-18; Ephesians 4:1-24

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Believer's baptism.” “Baptism of the Holy Ghost.” Speaking in tongues. “Baptism of fire.” Baptism by immersion (dunking) or by sprinkling. If you listen to all of these churches, you'd think there are as many different kinds of Baptism as there are different churches. How do we know which is right? How many times do we need to be baptized and in how many different ways? St. Paul rescues us from the despair of that noise with these simple words: “ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism.”

Why just ONE? Because there is one body and one Spirit. There is only one Holy Spirit. He doesn't come in a million different contradictory and confusing ways. No, He brings us one baptism. Water. Word. The sprinkling or dunking doesn't matter. One baptism. Not every time we kind of slip away from the Lord and go our own way. One baptism. The name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is such a name that once you have it, you don't need to have it put on you again! When you are baptized, the Triune God gives you all of Himself. There's nothing missing. Nothing to be made up later. Nothing to be added on at some other time. It's all the Lord and His Name and His forgiveness.

We can run from our baptism. We can reject it. We can despise it. We can live as if our sins aren't forgiven or that God isn't our Father or that Jesus isn't our Savior or that the Spirit isn't in us. We can pretend God has done nothing for us. But that sort of life is just misery and despair, and when the guilt comes from that, the temptation is to figure out which baptism you need now.

Same baptism you've always had! Repentance doesn't mean you end up in the font literally. But it does mean living in the gift of the Baptism you've been given. Cling to your Baptism! It gives you Jesus--the very Jesus who died and rose for you to take away your sins. The same death and resurrection you share with Him in the waters of Holy Baptism. Once and for all. Not many times or in many ways. Your Baptism is the Lord's and so it's always His good gift to you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

In Baptism we now put on Christ—Our shame is fully covered With all that He once sacrificed And freely for us suffered. For here the blood of His own blood Now makes us holy, right and good Before our heav'nly Father. (LSB 596:4).