BAPTISM


The following information is taken from the Holy Bible (NIV) 1989, Luther’s Catechism 3rd edition, and from Christian Worship – a Lutheran Hymnal.
LETS TALK ABOUT HEAVEN
Washed in the blood of Jesus

Our Savior Jesus Christ commanded baptism when he said: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ All of us are born into this world with a deep need for baptism. From our parents we inherit a sinful nature; we are without true fear of God and true faith in God and are condemned to eternal death. But Jesus took away our sin by giving his life on the cross. At our baptism he clothes us with the robe of his righteousness and gives us a new life. Our sinful nature need not control us any longer.
(Christian Worship pg. 12)BAPTISM

People have questions about Baptism; what is it, what does it do for us, why do we need it? Many denominations have different beliefs about baptism. Some feel it is something that should be done when a child is old enough to make his/her own determination and decision to be baptized. Some believe that infants should be baptized as newborns or as soon as possible after birth. There are some churches who think of it merely as an official naming ceremony and some that don’t believe in it at all.

I am a member of the WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod). The WELS does not deviate from Scripture in any way. We take God at His Word and to the best of our ability and understanding do not alter it in any way. What God says goes – end of story! We know (from God’s Word) that Baptism is an important blessing and gift from God and is beneficial to all people of all ages.

JESUS INSTITUTED BAPTISM

What is Baptism? (Luther’s Catechism pg. 9)
Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water used by God’s command and connected with God’s Word which tells us; therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them BAPTISMin the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19).

In the scripture above from Matthew Jesus refers to all nations in His command to baptize. He does not differentiate between babies, children or adults. The words all nations, include all people, young and old alike. This statement of Jesus eliminates the idea that only those old enough to understand and make his/her own choice should be baptized.

THE BLESSINGS OF BAPTISM

What does Baptism do for us? (Luther’s Catechism pg. 9)
Baptism works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. Jesus himself promises; whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16).

These words of Jesus do not stipulate any specific age for Baptism. By this statement we also have the reassurance that it is possible to be saved without baptism as long as there is faith. Jesus states; whoever does not believe will be condemned. He does not add to that statement; whoever is not baptized will be condemned. His words make it clear that the person who comes to faith in the last moments of life with no time for baptism will be saved. An example of this would be the thief who died on the cross beside Jesus. His request to Jesus: remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus replied; I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).

THE POWER OF BAPTISM

How can water do such great things? (Luther’s Catechism pg.9,10)
It is certainly not the water that does such things, but God’s Word which is in and with the water and faith which trusts this Word used with the water. For without God’s Word the water is just plain water and not Baptism. But with this Word it is Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of rebirth by the Holy Spirit.

[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying (Titus 3: 5-8).

We wash our bodies with water to become physically clean. The water of Baptism symbolizes a cleansing, and when not connected with the word of God it means nothing. It is simply water. We wash with it, we play in it, we cook with it, we drink it etc. When it is connected to God’s Word by the faith of those administering it (for an infant), and/or by the person himself, (an adult who has previously come to faith) it becomes a cleansing by the Holy Spirit.

THE MEANING OF BAPTISM FOR OUR DAILY LIFE

What does baptizing with water mean? (Luther’s Catechism pg. 10)
Baptism means that the ‘Old Adam’ (the sinful nature) in us should be drowned by daily contrition and repentance, and that all its evil deeds and desires be put to death. It also means that a new person should daily arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Forgiven
Forgiven

We were…buried with [Christ] 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 (Romans 6:4).

In baptism we become forgiven children of God. Jesus’ suffering becomes our suffering. His death becomes our death. His resurrection becomes our resurrection. Jesus paid the debt we owe to God for our sin. We have been adopted into God’s family. The Holy Spirit lives in us and we are heirs of eternal life. Jesus says; because I live, you also will live (John 14:19).

In summary then – Baptism is a gift from God. It is a spiritual cleansing which offers forgiveness of sins, grants faith by the Holy Spirit, and makes us children of God and heirs of eternal life.

It is for all people, young and old. All Christians should take advantage of this gift and blessing from God as opportunity allows. It is possible to come to faith without Baptism, but this should be the exception not the rule. We are saved by faith in Jesus and faith comes to us also through hearing and studying God’s word. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). Those who die without having had the opportunity for baptism, but who have faith in Jesus, will also be heirs of eternal life.

As Christians, it is our God given responsibility to baptize our children. We should do it joyfully and without hesitation. Parents who have lost children to death before baptism can take comfort, in the knowledge that our God is a just God, but He is also a merciful, fair and loving God. All life is precious to Him. We can rest assured that in His almighty wisdom He takes special care for the souls of helpless infants.

He does command baptism however, and entrusts these little lives to us as parents, to be cared for and nurtured. It is our responsibility to make sure they have all that they need, not only for their bodies (their physical good), but especially for their souls (their eternal good). Eternity is forever. Therefore why would we not, when it is within our power to do so, want to afford ourselves the comfort of the sure knowledge that their souls are safe in His loving arms?

Baptism is not to be taken lightly. Our Baptism does not insure that we can never fall from faith and lose our eternal inheritance. We must read and study God’s word in order to stay connected to Jesus. We should go to Him in prayer at the end of each day with a repentant heart. We need the fellowship and support we find in a church home where God’s word is taught in its truth and purity. Those who have a true heart of faith will find studying and listening to the word, talking with God in prayer, and attending worship services to be a joy rather than a duty. If we neglect these things we are in danger of losing our faith. If we lose our faith our Baptism will do us no good.

By Grace AloneAlways keep in mind that Baptism is a gift from God to us. It is not something we do for God. It is not our commitment to Him, but rather it is His commitment to us. It is His promise that we belong to Him, we are forgiven, and heirs of His eternal Kingdom.

Prayer:
Merciful Father in heaven, we thank you for the blessing of baptism by which you offer and grant the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Help us to regard our baptism as the robe of righteousness we are to wear all the days of our life. Grant us a rich measure of your Spirit that we may grow in faith and Godly living. Help us to carry out our responsibilities to others who have been baptized, so that all of us may finally come to the blessed joys of heaven, through Jesus our Lord. Amen. (Christian Worship pg. 14)

Gloria Dei!

By Christine

My Spiritual I.D.


Baptismal Certificate
Baptismal Certificate

 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43: 1)

Do you have a legal document that tells others who you are? In the U.S. every child born receives a social security number and a birth certificate. Your birth certificate and SS number are proof of who you are.
Your birth certificate lists your time and date of birth, the hospital and city where you were born, how much you weighed at birth, and the names and address/addresses of each of your parents.
Your SS number is unique to you alone. There is no other person in the U.S. or anywhere in the world for that matter, who shares that number with you. It identifies who you are. You will be asked to present it for any legal document you submit to anyone, and for all important paperwork.
The most widely used I.D. people in the U.S. carry however is a driver’s License. Your driver’s license is a laminated card which contains a picture of you, shows your date of birth, weight, sex, and the address where you live. Most young people here in the U.S. obtain a driver’s license at the age of 16 after they pass their driver’s training course. It is something they will carry with them their entire life. Your driver’s license is legal proof of who you are, no matter where you go.
As a young teen getting my first driver’s license, I can still hear my mother instructing me; don’t ever go anywhere without it! It tells others who you are. If you get in an accident and aren’t able to speak the police will be able to identify you and notify your family.
I took the instructions my mother gave me seriously and always obediently made sure I had my license whenever I went out, even if I wasn’t driving. But there was one time when I forgot it. I was out of state spending time with my cousin in Phoenix, AZ. I was new to the area and the evening after I arrived, she took me out and introduced me to some of the local gathering places for young people. For whatever reason (I have no idea why, but maybe I just forgot it) I didn’t take my purse.
My cousin was driving and as she pulled into one of the city parks, a police officer pulled up beside her. She had not been driving recklessly or broken any laws, but I think he just randomly pulled her over, maybe because she was young and it was a Saturday night. He was just being cautious and making us aware of his presence. Of course he asked each of us for our I.D. and I didn’t have mine. I honestly don’t think he believed me when I told him I had forgotten it at home. I’m sure he thought we were up to some kind of “no good”, but he finally let us go and told us to go straight home. I couldn’t believe it! The one time I didn’t have it with me, I get caught! Now, forty some odd years later, I don’t recall ever having repeated that mistake again.
We should each recognize that our I.D. is a very important document because it is proof of who we are. I am not aware of what laws and regulations are in effect in other countries, but pretty much everyone in the U.S. over the age of 16 has and needs some type of picture I.D. If you don’t drive you may have what we call a State I.D. or maybe if you are a student you have your Student I.D. But do you have a Spiritual I.D.? Do you know what a Spiritual I.D. is? Do you know where/how to get one? Let’s talk about it.
I obtained my Spiritual I.D. on April 23, 1950. That is the day my parents brought me to baptism. I was one month old. We are all born into this world sinful. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). We inherit the virus of sin from our parents, and their parents, and so on down the line. Many people feel that babies are sweet and innocent and don’t sin, but they are wrong. They may be sweet, and they are innocent in that they

My Spiritual I.D.
My Spiritual I.D.

aren’t aware of their sin and don’t know any better, but still they ARE sinners. As little sinners, they need God’s forgiveness in order to be fit for heaven. They need to be washed in the blood of Jesus through faith in order to be saved. I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit (John 3: 5, 6).
At one month of age, even though I was too little to understand it all, I was born again through my baptism and became alive in Christ. I now belonged to His family of believers. Through the waters of baptism connected to God’s Word, The Holy Spirit put faith in my tiny little heart and I was washed clean of my sin and reborn into a new life. There was rejoicing in heaven that day! There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10). The angels rejoice jubilantly over each person on earth who is forgiven through faith. God loves all people and doesn’t wish that anyone would go to Hell. He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3: 9).

Faith comes from hearing the Word. Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10: 17). But it also comes to us through the Sacraments ie: Baptism and Holy Communion. A newborn baby is too little to read the written Word and understand what it means for his/her soul. The Holy Spirit, through baptism, places faith in the hearts of babies and little children who are too young to understand. Through baptism their sins are forgiven. Through baptism God showers His never ending grace upon each little child so that when He looks at him/her He no longer sees a sinful little human, but the holiness of Jesus.
Many people have the mistaken idea that baptism is something we do for God. They feel it is something we should let our children decide upon when they become old enough to understand. Baptism is not our commitment to God. On the contrary, baptism is God’s commitment and gift to us. It is His way of saying; I love you and you are Mine! I promise I will never leave you. I will watch over you and protect you. I will bring you home to be with me forever when your life here on earth of over.
Parents, it is your God-given responsibility to bring your child to baptism. Jesus himself tells us; Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Luke 18: 16).
My baptism certificate is my Spiritual I.D. It is the I.D. which says I belong to God. It tells me I am saved through the blood of Jesus shed for me on the cross so many years ago. It is proof that I am His forgiven child. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3: 27). I carry His name with me every day that I live. It is not a guarantee that I will never leave Him, but it IS His guarantee to me that He will never leave me. I pray that he will watch over me and keep me in my baptismal grace until the day He calls me from this earth.
Unlike my driver’s license or state I.D. I will not need to present my spiritual I.D. for legal documents here in this life. I won’t need to present it when I stand before God on the last day either because he has a record of it in His Book of Life. However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10: 20).
Have you obtained your Spiritual I.D, yet? Have you been baptized for the forgiveness of sins? Are you an heir to His eternal kingdom? Have your children been baptized? If you and/or your children haven’t been baptized and you are interested in finding out more about it, feel free to email me at grandmapoz@yahoo.com. I will try to direct you to someone in your area who can tell you more about it and help you make it happen.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children (Acts 2: 38, 39) Goria Dei!

by Christine

Special note to parents:

God does not tell us in His word what happens to little babies who are killed through abortion or who die before birth or before there is time for baptism. It is not my intent to put fear in the hearts of already grieving parents who have lost children to death before baptism. For your comfort, remember that our God is a just God, but He is also a merciful, fair and loving God. We can trust that in His almighty wisdom He takes special care for the souls of helpless infants. All life is precious to Him.
He does command baptism however, and entrusts these little lives to us as parents, to be cared for and nurtured. It is our responsibility to make sure they have all that they need, not only for their bodies (their physical good), but especially for their souls (their eternal good). Eternity is forever. Therefore why would we not, when it is within our power to do so, want to afford ourselves the comfort of knowing for sure that their souls are safe in His loving arms?