What is Baptism?
Baptism is not water only, but it is water used together with God's Word and by his command.
What is this Word?
In Matthew 28 our Lord Jesus Christ says:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
What benefits does God give in baptism?
In Baptism God forgives sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe what he has promised.
What is God's promise?
In Mark 16 our Lord Jesus Christ says:
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not will be condemned.
How can water do such great things?
It is not water that does these things, but God's Word with the water and our trust in this Word. Water by itself is only water, but with the Word of God it is a life-giving water which by grace gives the new birth through the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul writes in Titus 3:
He saved us . . .in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. This saying is sure.
What does Baptism mean for daily living?
It means that our sinful self, with all its evil deeds and desires, should be drowned through daily repentance; and that day after day a new self should arise to live with God in righteousness and purity forever.
St. Paul writes in Romans 6:
We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Help me, God, to be honest with myself when I'm wrong. Thanks for reminding me that no matter how much I mess up, you will give me a fresh start each day. Starting over is a precious gift. Thank you. Amen
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