Holy Baptism—Who receives what Baptism gives and profits?
The Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ, as is proved well enough from His own work. For God sanctifies many of those who have been baptized as infants and has given them the Holy Spirit. There are still many people even today in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Spirit both because of their doctrine and life. It is also given to us by God’s grace that we can explain the Scriptures and come to the knowledge of Christ, which is impossible without the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:3]. But if God did not accept the Baptism of infants, He would not give the Holy Spirit nor any of His gifts to any of them. In short, during the long time up to this day, no person on earth could have been a Christian.… Since the holy Christian Church cannot perish until the end of the world, the sects must acknowledge that such infant Baptism is pleasing to God. For God can never be opposed to Himself or support falsehood and wickedness, or for its promotion impart His grace and Spirit.… The sects shall not take from us or overthrow this article: “I believe in… the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.”
—Large Catechism, Part 4:49-51
Further, we say that we are not very concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not. For Baptism does not become invalid on that account. But everything depends on God’s Word and command. Now this point… rests entirely on what I have said, that Baptism is nothing other than water and God’s Word in and with each other [Ephesians 5:26]. That is, when the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith is lacking. For my faith does not make Baptism, but receives it.
—Large Catechism, Part 4:52-3
Lenten Catechesis from Treasury of Daily Prayer © 2008 Concordia Publishing House.
Used with permission.
All rights reserved. www.cph.org
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