Lenten Catechesis—Thursday of Lent 4


Ecce-Homo-e

Holy Baptism—What does such Baptizing with water signify?

We are sunk under the water, which passes over us, and afterward are drawn out again. These two parts… signify Baptism’s power and work. It is nothing other than putting to death the old Adam and affecting the new man’s resurrection after that [Romans 6:4-6]. Both of these things must take place in us all our lives. So a truly Christian life is nothing other than a daily Baptism, once begun and ever to be continued.… Without ceasing… we always keep purging away whatever belongs to the old Adam. Then what belongs to the new man may come forth. But what is the old man? It is what is born in human beings from Adam: anger, hate, envy, unchastity, stinginess, laziness, arrogance—yes, unbelief. The old man is infected with all vices and has by nature nothing good in him [Romans 7:18]. Now, when we have come into Christ’s kingdom [John 3:5], these things must daily decrease. The longer we live the more we become gentle, patient, meek, and ever turn away from unbelief, greed, hatred, envy, and arrogance.
—Large Catechism, Part 4:65

Faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. Since these blessings are presented here and promised through the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart [Romans 10:9]. Without faith it profits nothing, even though Baptism is in itself a divine overwhelming treasure. Therefore, this single phrase, “Whoever believes,” does so much.
—Large Catechism, Part 4:33-4

You see plainly that this is no work done here by us, but a treasure, which God gives us and faith grasps [Ephesians 2:8-9]. It is like the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross, which is not a work, but a treasure included in the Word. It is offered to us and received by faith.
—Large Catechism, Part 4:37

When our sins and conscience oppress us, we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say, “Nevertheless, I am baptized. And if I am baptized, it is promised to me that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body.”
—Large Catechism, Part 4:44

Lenten Catechesis from Treasury of Daily Prayer © 2008 Concordia Publishing House.
Used with permission.
All rights reserved. www.cph.org

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