A message from Pastor Berndt
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Baptism now saves you! Really, are you serious? I thought Jesus saves us. Many times people get themselves into trouble when they take what God's Word clearly teaches and pits them against one another. Like pitting Jesus against Baptism. This is foolish.
What is helpful? To know how salvation is won and where to get it. Salvation is won by Jesus on the Cross – His blood to atone for all of your sins. Jesus’ Cross and Empty tomb – Christ has done all the saving work for you. IT IS FINISHED! (John 19)
While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5) The saving work is Jesus’ and His alone. By grace you are saved.
So if Jesus saves us – Him alone – how does Baptism save us? Baptism has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Holy Baptism belongs to the Lord. Baptism is the Lord's work – saving and rescuing you. Baptism works forgiveness of sins, rescues you from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation.
How can water do such great things? – It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost. (Luther’s Small Catechism, Baptism III)
Every baptism at Zion has Titus 3 before our eyes to see who is doing the saving. Check out who does the verbs. He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 3)
Holy Baptism is all gift – coming down from above for you to receive and believe in Jesus saving work for you. Full and free. As Jesus taught Nicodemus: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3) You have been born again – born from above in Holy Baptism – made a Child of God. Indeed Baptism does save – because it is all Jesus’ work – and a gift for you to receive and believe. You are the baptized children of God – washed clean through water and the Word. God has opened up your ears and heart in the font to hear and believe the Word of the Lord. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16)
Holy Baptism delivers all of Jesus’ saving work to you. Believe and trust in Jesus promises given to you. Rejoice that you are Baptized Children of God. To live in your baptism means to live forgiven – free from your sin, free from the grave, and free from the devil. Baptized and believing, you have life eternally. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It LSB 594:1
God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free Lasting to eternity!