“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”Mark 16:16
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What benefits does Baptism give?
It 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.
Which are these words and promises of God?
Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)
What did you get for Christmas last year or for your last birthday? Are you expecting a nice gift for Valentine’s Day? Were those gifts everything you had hoped for? Were they better than you expected? Or were they a disappointment? Even if we loved a gift when we first got it, over time, that gift may wear out, be used up, or be lost. Not so with the gift of Baptism.
Unlike last year’s Christmas sweater, the gifts bestowed on us through Baptism never wear out.
Yet sometimes we forget about this most precious gift. Like that lovely Christmas sweater, we can carelessly set it aside as something we think we only need for a particular season of the year. We live as though we haven’t been forgiven and rescued. We live as prisoners of our own sin. We struggle to forgive others as we’ve been forgiven. It’s not that I don’t believe that I have eternal salvation or that I’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb, I just don’t think about it. When that happens, I can get sucked into all kinds of wrong thinking and acting, sometimes before I even realize I’m doing it.
Praise God, that it’s not all about me. The gift of Baptism is most certainly not like the gift of some earthly trinket. The power of Baptism doesn’t lie with me and whether I think about it or remember that the Holy Spirit is at work through it. Baptism is powerful to save because of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Sure, I can reject the gift, say, “No thanks, I don’t want it,” but that’s not the same kind of life-giving power as is the gift itself.
Each day, we have the opportunity to wake and live under this life-giving gift of Baptism. I’ve been forgiven and saved. Wow! Best gift ever! I need that gift every day. That’s not the kind of gift I want to put high on a shelf.
Praise be to God, the gift of Baptism never disappoints and never wears out.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Catechism quotations are from Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, copyright © 1986 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.