What Is Baptism? Baptism Is Not Water Only, But Is Water Used Together With God’s Word And By His Command.
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF BAPTISM
Since Holy Baptism is commanded by Jesus Christ in the Gospel and accompanied by the visible sign of water it is called a Sacrament by the Church. Holy Baptism, along with Holy Communion, are the two Sacraments celebrated by Lutherans.
Martin Luther, writing in the Small Catechism, reminds us that “in Baptism God forgives sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe what he has promised.”
In Baptism God claims the baptized and names them a child of God. In Baptism the old self dies in the washing and renewal of the water and a new self is born. Jesus saves God’s children from their sin and grants them eternal salvation through the water and the Word of Baptism.
Luther writes “It is not water that does these things, but God’s Word with the water and our trust in this Word. Water by itself is only water, but with the Word of God it is life-giving water which by grace gives the new birth through the Holy Spirit.”
While Baptism is a “one time event” it has lifelong implications for God’s children. Luther reminds us that we are to remember our Baptism on a daily basis, confessing our sin through repentance, and being born anew to love and serve the Lord, until that day when our Baptism is made complete at our life’s ending. Prayer, Bible study, and the sign of the Cross are means by which we can celebrate our Baptism on a regular basis.
OUR PRACTICE OF BAPTISM
Since Baptism marks a person’s entry into the body of Christ, which is the Church, it is especially fitting that the celebration of sacrament occurs during a regular worship service of the congregation.
All are welcome to be baptized! We celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Baptism with those of all ages, from infants through adults.