This past week I was planning on making 20 spinning tops for a bunch of kids. They’re all different and made from some special wood. When I was describing my project to a friend (a mother of one of the recipients) she asked me about having her son baptized. I briefly discussed with her some of the thoughts that came to mind and she responded with two questions: 1. When can it be done, 2. Would you please write a summary/introduction that could be shared with others who might have similar questions?
What follows is an attempt to respond to her request. I realize there is more to the teaching, but this, I thought, would give a basic introduction to the Biblical teaching, provoke further discussion perhaps, and give me a chance to hear from others on the subject.
WHY IS BAPTISM SO IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN? …… By Rev. Frederick A. Kogler
Let me start by explaining Baptism. The answer to the main question itself is based directly on what the Bible says. Baptism is a Biblical teaching and is not unique to Lutherans.
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
The Bible teaches us that baptism is not just plain water, but it is water used by God’s command and connected with God’s Word. Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!”
In the above passage Jesus establishes the sacred act of Baptism. The words are all inclusive. That means that all people of all ages are to be baptized in the name of the triune God. The word “baptize” means to use water in various ways: for example, to immerse, wash, pour, or sprinkle. But according to the Bible there’s more to it than just applying water.
The application of water is accompanied by very special words.Those word’s are ”in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
When the water is applied together with the words expressed above something very special happens. Baptism sets a person apart as an individual who is now brought into a new relationship with the Triune God. To baptize “in the name of” the triune God means that God makes us members of his family. The words “all nations” means that all people, young and old alike are to be baptized.
BAPTISM IS MUCH MORE THAN A MERE ACT OF DEDICATION
Little children should be baptized when they are brought to Baptism by those who have authority over them.
It is especially important to baptize children or infants not only because they are included in the words “all nations” but also because they need to be spiritually cleansed and because from infancy on they can believe.
“13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:13-15.
It is very important to understand that all people are spiritual beings. Children are something completely different from all other creatures. Children are much more than highly developed animals, they are human beings! Not only do little ones have a body and a mind, but they have a spiritual part called a soul. It is with their heart mind and soul that they believe. Their lives matter greatly to God!
“6 If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matt. 18:6.
BAPTISM BRINGS WITH IT SOME VERY SPECIAL BLESSINGS
We may wonder what good it is to be baptized. Baptism works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16.
Let’s look carefully at what the bible says about the great things that Baptism gives or works in an individual.
- It works forgiveness of sins;
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ Acts 22:16.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Gal. 3:26,27.
- It delivers from death and the devil;
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Rom. 6:3.
- It gives eternal salvation;
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, 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, 1 Peter 3:21.
By His suffering and death Christ has indeed earned these blessings for us; Baptism, however, is a means by which the Holy Spirit makes these blessings our own. (Baptism is a means of grace.)
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified,you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor. 6:11.
Baptism gives these blessings to all who believe, as the words and promises of God declare: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16.
AT THIS POINT WE MAY ASK: “HOW CAN WATER DO SUCH GREAT THINGS?”
It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says, in Titus 3: “but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7.
IF YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN HAVE NOT BEEN BAPTIZED PLEASE CONSIDER DOING SO…
(for a more complete discussion of baptism please contact Pastor Kogler email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I have a baptism scheduled for this Saturday. Since the two families are very large they have chosen Saturday so everyone may fit in our little church. A slightly revised version of this blog will be distributed to everyone.
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