PLANNING FOR HOLY BAPTISM
What is Baptism?
Baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo which means to apply water through pouring, washing, or immersing. Furthermore, baptism is not just plain old water; what makes baptism so unique is that God’s command to baptize and His Word of promise are included and combined with the water. Throughout the Old and New Testament, God attaches His Word to things in His creation in order to bless and forgive us. And where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. This is what makes baptism such a marvelous gift; it bears God’s Word and command which has the power to wash our sins away. This is why Jesus instituted baptism in Matthew 28:18-20 as a gift for all people. Therefore, baptism is not something we must do to please God. Rather, baptism is God’s gift to us, since “He saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).”
Is Baptism Really for Me?
Yes! Baptism is God’s precious gift for all people. Romans 3:23 teaches us that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our sin and the sin of the whole world separated us from God our Father. Thankfully, Jesus came to die on the cross for us and rose again from the dead to save us from our sins. Baptism is one of the ways that God brings the forgiveness won for us on the cross 2,000 years ago to us here today through His Word. That is why baptism is a “means of grace.” Through baptism God gives us forgiveness of all our sins, rescues us from death and the devil, and gives us eternal salvation. There is incredible power in God’s Word today just as there was when Jesus instituted baptism. He said, “Make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).” The teaching of Jesus always goes with baptism. In the case of adults, Christian instruction usually precedes baptism and continues throughout the Christian life. In the case of infants, Christian instruction follows baptism including Sunday-school and Confirmation class.
How Can I Receive the Gift of Baptism?
Since baptism is God’s gift to all people and is done according to Jesus’ command and promise, it is typically done in the context of the Christian Church during the Divine Service on Sunday mornings. Therefore, we encourage the baptism to be part of the Divine Service on Sunday morning since all of us who are baptized are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27) and therefore are placed into the community of the Christian Church in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). This Christian community is also a place where God encourages you in the Christian faith as you have been made a member of His Church through baptism.
If you desire to learn more about Baptism and the promises that God gives to you through this precious gift, or you are considering a baptism for yourself or your child, please contact the Church Office at Redeemer Lutheran Church 714-846-6330 or email the Church Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pastor Daniel Harmelink at email@example.com or Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Why Do Christians Baptize Babies?
This is a frequently asked question in the Lutheran Church. While it is true that Scripture does not say the specific words, “Baptize infants!”, it nowhere leaves them out of the promises of forgiveness and salvation that God gives in baptism. In fact, because babies are born into sin (Psalm 51:5) they are under the same judgment upon sin as adults are (Ephesians 2:3). Therefore, we all need the blessings that God gives us in baptism. Also, when Jesus said that baptism is a gift for all nations infants are included in that statement. And when the Apostle Peter was preaching about Jesus Christ in the book of Acts he said that baptism is a promise “for you and for your children (Acts 2:38-39).” When children are born the doctors place them in a blanket right away to keep them warm and secure. How much more important it is, then, that our children are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27) shortly after their birth into this sinful world. God has given this gift of baptism as a means of His grace that He might gather us with Him in the forgiveness of sins won for us on the cross by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Want to Read More About Christian Baptism?
• Frequently asked questions about baptism on the LCMS website
• LCMS pamphlet entitled “What About Holy Baptism”
• Find out what Luther’s Small Catechism teaches about baptism
• “Baptism: Christ Marks us as His Own” by Pastor David P. Scaer