“ Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”Matthew 28:19
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What is Baptism?
Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word.
Which is that word of God?
Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)
Water is some pretty powerful stuff. Think of the damage that is has done to land and property by flooding and hurricanes. Think of the power of water to grow crops and feed nations. Think about the power of water in our bodies. Too much, and we drown; too little, and we dehydrate and eventually die.
Although it is unthinkable today, in the first half of the nineteenth century, before the medical establishment understood germs and bacteria and such, handwashing was not part of the typical routine involved in childbirth or other medical procedures. As you can imagine, once handwashing was introduced and became common practice, mortality rates in hospitals and for childbirth dropped remarkably. Something so simple makes a life-saving difference.
What’s the best way to prevent infection? Simple. Wash your hands in soap and water. Plain old water combined with ordinary soap.
When simple water is combined with God’s Word, it, too, becomes life-saving, but on a much grander scale. When water is combined with God’s Word in Baptism, it has an eternally life-saving result. In Baptism, our sins are washed away in the most powerful name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Baptism, God puts His saving name on us and calls us His own dear children so that we may spend eternity in heaven with Him.
Water and the Word. It may seem simple, but it’s not. Water and God’s Word are indeed most powerful to save lives for eternity.
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.