Reflections: Wednesday of the 14th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Baptism, pt. 4
Daily Lectionary: 2 Kings 5:9-27; Philippians 1:1-20

What does such baptizing with water indicate? It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written? St. Paul writes in Romans chapter six: “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Small Catechism: Baptism)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Return to your Baptism!” Before I was a pastor, I heard my Lutheran professors say this in class, my pastor preach it, and I read it in Lutheran magazines and books. I knew it was right to do, but what does it mean? Obviously they were not telling me to time-travel back to when the water went across my head and watch it happen, though that could be kind of cool to be able to do. But I was not entirely sure what they meant by it.

Luther gives us answers. In the Small Catechism, he says that you return to your Baptism by daily contrition and repentance. In the Large Catechism, he writes, “Even though someone falls from [Baptism] and sins, we always have access to it so that we may again subdue the old creature. Repentance, therefore, is nothing else than a return and approach to Baptism, to resume and practice what has earlier been begun but abandoned.”

Ok, so to return to your Baptism is to repent, but what does that mean? It is not simply regret or a frustration with facing consequences. 2 Corinthians 7:10 refers to that as a “worldly grief [that] produces death.” Godly repentance that leads to life is a whole different mindset. It is both sorrow over your sin AND it is faith in Christ’s forgiveness. The word “repent” is from a Latin word that literally means “to re-think.” You are now thinking in a different way about the sin you did AND about Jesus who died to take away that sin of yours. The Hebrew word for repentance means “to be turned.” So it is not that you are turning yourself around, but your Savior God is turning you away from your sin and toward Him again. As long as you live in this old world with your sinful nature, each time you return to your Baptism the Lord will have an abundant amount of forgiveness there for you! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Merciful Lord, cleanse and defend Your people united to You in Baptism by Your sacrifice. Give us grace to receive the fruits of Your cross and daily follow in Your way; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch