Saturday, December 15, 2007

Baptism: The Gift that Keeps on Giving


While in conversation with a few Christians one asked me how I know I am saved. Without flinching or hesitation I said “Because I am baptized.” That caused quite an uproar in the bunch due to the fact that I was the only Lutheran.

Why all the uproar? Certainly they have bibles and I know several of them read them daily. Many will say that St Paul was not sent to baptize but to preach. Yes that is true he did not claim many baptisms. 1 Corinthians 1:17 Another thing St Paul was called to do was to teach and write letters. In his masterful letter to the Christians at Rome he outlines the Christian faith from beginning to end.

Romans 6: 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. ESV

He refers to baptism in writing as how we are dead to sin and it is not something in which we live. If baptism is not an act of God which is a powerful gift he certainly would not present it as help to combat sin. In this way it is a gift that keeps on giving.

Martin Luther in his catechism teaching on daily prayers suggests:

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say: In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

What this does is to place oneself under the cross and return to baptismal grace. This is the time when one died to the former life and raised in new life. In the same way when awaking from sleep we can start the day dying and rising anew in Jesus. This drowns the inner brat and although a good swimmer gives us a leg up on our sinful nature.

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:
In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

This is again dying and rising in Jesus. Troubling dreams are rare although still do happen. But this sends our ancient foe Satan, or whatever evil little helper he has, packing.
Many of my evangelical friends would object to this as to Roman Catholic. But bear in mind the Romanists, while teaching baptism is a Sacrament, very seldom refer to it but rather to good deeds as knowing one is a Christian. Kind of like one would hear in way too many evangelical churches today. So who is being more Roman Catholic one who reflects on baptism or looks at his or her works for assurance?

In the Name of the Father † Son and Holy Spirit.

1 comment:

L P Cruz said...

But bear in mind the Romanists, while teaching baptism is a Sacrament, very seldom refer to it but rather to good deeds as knowing one is a Christian

Absolutely bro. As an RC kid, it was penance that was the sacrament hammered to me, because baptism has been done already and tucked away.

LPC