Friday, April 15, 2011
The Stuff of Jesus: Baptism 2.
Acts 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. ESV
We see clearly that in the name of God, in the name of Jesus, there is salvation. When a person is baptized into the name of the Triune God there is salvation. This is so painfully clear one wonders why it is so hard for some to come to understand. They maintain baptism is the Christian’s work to show loyalty to Jesus and make a profession of faith in him for salvation. There is a dearth of scripture that teaches that fact so it is merely church tradition once again, wrongly, being placed over and against clear scripture.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. ESV
For to be baptized in the name of God is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself. Therefore, although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God's own work. From this fact every one may himself readily infer that it is a far higher work than any work performed by a man or a saint. For what work greater than the work of God can we do?*
Baptism is not man’s work whatsoever. Nor is it the invention of man. Jesus uses the hands and the voice of the minister to apply the water and to invoke the name of God. However, it is clearly Jesus doing the baptism. Jesus has located the delivery of the fruit of the cross in the preached word and in baptism. He cleanses his church and makes it to his sight without spot or wrinkle no matter what sin captivates the heart and mind of the baptized believer. Rather than rejoicing in the sin like the unbeliever he or she will be granted repentance in the same Triune name of God. These are strong and precious promises given to us in God’s word. Jesus has given us such a wonderful gift in baptism that no matter what the world, our own sinful flesh or the devil says or does we remain able to tell them “I am baptized!” Let us believe this good news and live in the peace it gives.
In the name of Jesus. Amen. †
* The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.