The Cross and Holy Baptism

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.–Romans 6:3-5

baptistryBaptism, as Luther’s Small Catechism states, “works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.” One such declaration that baptism has the power to do such things comes from Romans six. Here St. Paul rightfully exclaims that all who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. If therefore baptism and the death of our Savior are connected and here in Romans is declared for all then the two, baptism and the cross, are for the infant to the elderly. There cannot be a separation of the two, if the cross is for all then baptism is for all. And just as this passage continues to explain that as Christ was raised from the dead we too in baptism are raised from the dead. In Christ’s sacrifice on the cross he was buried only to be raised by the glory of the Father, as we are raised by the glory of the Father in baptism, for once we were dead in our sins but now because of Christ we too walk in newness of life.

United we are through the death of Christ by baptism because of Christ’s crucifixion! Drowned are our sins because “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, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:5-7).” We who are baptized are justified by his grace, heirs to eternal life. This is possible only because the word of God connects the simplicity of water to the Cross of Jesus and by this word grants a resurrection like his. If the cross of Jesus is for all and his resurrection is for all, then baptism must also be for all. Not because we earn our righteousness (let this be far from our utterance) but because the word of God declares this to be so. As 1 Peter 3:21 exclaims, “Baptism, which corresponds to this [the Great Flood and God’s deliverance through such], 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.” All who are baptized and do not reject the Holy Spirit come before God with a good conscience because Christ has appealed on our behalf and made us righteous. His resurrection is our resurrection from the font of grace, that is baptism, for in, through, and by Christ baptism is our gift of mercy and a rich blessing on all who receive it.

May the gift of God’s love be forever praised, and our baptism keep us secure all of our days.

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