Reflections: Thursday of the 14th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Baptism, part 2

Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 7:1-4; 8:1-18; 1 Timothy 5:1-16

What benefits does Baptism give? It works 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. Which are these words and promises of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Small Catechism: Baptism)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Our Lord has attached so many great and wonderful promises to Baptism. Jesus told His disciples to make more disciples by baptizing them (Matthew 28:19). A disciple is a forgiven sinner. Indeed, Peter told the Jews gathered in Jerusalem to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) and Acts 22:16 tells us that Baptism washes away our sins. Paul says that the Church is cleansed “by the washing of water with the Word” (Ephesians. 5:25-26).

Jesus also said that you enter the Kingdom of God by being born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). If Baptism brings you into the Kingdom of God, then it takes you out of the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Baptism rescues us from the devil.

Baptism grants us life and salvation. Jesus promises that Baptism saves us in Mark 16:16. Peter affirms that Baptism saves in 1 Peter 3:21. Also, Paul says that God saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

Of course, our Protestant friends will protest that water cannot save you. Faith alone saves you. Well, it is true that faith saves us, but faith in what? We put our faith in the promises of the Lord. When He makes a promise, we believe Him. If the Lord says, “Pick up that straw and live,” faith doesn’t sneer at the straw and say, “How can mere straw save anyone?” Faith trusts the Lord and picks up the straw. Likewise, when our Lord connects His promises to Baptism, faith believes and receives the Gifts offered in the water.

To despise Baptism is to doubt the Lord. Faith is ready to receive His Gifts, no matter how the Lord chooses to deliver them. The Lord brought the world out of water (Genesis 1:2). He rescued Israel by sending them through a sea. If He wants to give me eternal life and rescue me from sin and the devil by means of water, He can certainly do that! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

All who believe and are baptized Shall see the Lord’s salvation; Baptized into the death of Christ, They are a new creation. Through Christ’s redemption they shall stand Among the glorious heav’nly band Of ev’ry tribe and nation. (“All Who Believe and Are Baptized” LSB 601, st.1)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.