Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Stuff of Jesus: Baptism.

Today, as in the day of Martin Luther, Christians have mistaken to whom the sacrament of Holy Baptism belongs. You will hear “I was baptized in a ___________ Church.” or “I was baptized as a witness to the world of my faith in Jesus.” These totally miss the point of who instituted baptism and the purpose of the sacrament. There is only one baptism in the Triune name of God. That is Christian baptism which does not depend on the name of the congregation in which it is administered.

In the first place, we must above all things know well the words upon which Baptism is founded, and to which everything refers that is to be said on the subject, namely, where the Lord Christ speaks in Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.*

Likewise in St. Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.*

In these words you must note, in the first place, that here stand God's commandment and institution, lest we doubt that Baptism is divine, not devised nor invented by men. For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself, so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat.*

In this section Martin Luther recaptures baptism and places it back in the realm of Jesus things rather than man’s things done for Jesus. This changes, of course, what one believes about baptism and its effectiveness as a means of grace. If it were merely the work of men we could not look at it for assurance of our standing as children of God.

Rather than looking for ways to wrestle with scripture to make baptism our work we should rather believe scriptures strong teaching. Leaving baptism to be the stuff of Jesus we can live in the peace and certainty it gives.

In the name of Jesus. Amen †

*Martin Luther’s Large Catechism


Steve Finnell said...

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Julie said...

Thank you David. Nice one. I might use Luther's "baptism should not be regarded as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat." Kapow!

Penned Pebbles said...

Great post! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

What if one had a baptism performed not in faith, but great great doubt? Moreover, what if this baptism was done in a Baptist church?

I didn't believe, but I wanted to. I just wanted God's forgiveness and to be free from fear.

I'm trying to believe now, but its hard after so many years of unbelief.

David Cochrane said...

Ty Anonymous for visiting my blog.

When one is baptized into the Name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit that is Christian baptism. We do not have Baptist, Catholic, Orthodox, Presbyterian etc. baptisms. When it is done as Christ instituted we have the strong promises connected with it.

Furthermore we can say each day and throughout the days "I am baptized!" This was not just a past event but a daily dying and rising again in Jesus. Romans 6:3-8. We can tell the world, flesh and devil to go away I am in Jesus!

Away with all the doubt that, unfortunately, is taught in the Church. To trust the reality of all the strong promises of Jesus in his gifts we can go with assurance in our daily rounds.

In Jesus you are in God's peace. Strive to live in that peace with the help of God's word and his sacraments.

In the name of Jesus. Amen †

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind words, Mr. Cochrane. I am fascinated and intrigued by all this; its so different then what I grew up with. And I have to admit, the Lutheran view of baptism does seem to have the backing of the Bible. Its liberating not to have to depend on one's mental states or willpower, which is what essentially I have been taught.
Great blog!

David Cochrane said...

Rob, Very kind words indeed. Thank you.

God's peace. †