Baptism 1: The Nature of Baptism

November 15, 2012

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

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Baptism washes away our “original” sin and makes us a child of God. God loves everyone, but only those marked through Baptism are considered His children.

What is a Sacrament

A Sacrament is a sacred act of God in the lives of His people. Sacraments meet three criteria:

  1. It is instituted by God. This means that God told us to do it in His Word.
  2. There is a physical element (in the case of Baptism: water) and God’s Word spoken over it.
  3. The act brings forgiveness of sins to the receiver.

Is Baptism a Sacrament?

Read Matthew 28:18-20

  • Underline: baptizing
  • Write: “water” in the margin, then connect “baptizing” to it with a line.

Read Acts 2:38

  • Underline: Repent and be baptized … for the forgiveness of your sins
  • Margin: Baptism brings forgiveness

As He was preparing to leave earth for heaven, Jesus gave one final command to His disciples: to baptize others in the name of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). It is considered a Sacrament because Jesus told us to do it, and He tells us that it brings the forgiveness of sins to God’s people. Baptism is a one-time event in the life of a Christian. In it, God washes away our original sin and puts His Holy Spirit in our heart. In Baptism, we become His kid. While we continue to sin on a daily basis, we only need to be baptized once. We remember our baptism on a regular basis, however, through the process of confessing our sins and asking God for His forgiveness.

Who Should Be Baptized?

Read Matthew 28:19

  • Circle: all nations
  • Margin: “Everyone”, then connect it to “all nations”

Read Luke 18:15-17

  • Underline: Let the children come to me
  • Margin: Baptize babies

Read Genesis 17:3-14

  • Draw a box around verses 9-14
  • Margin: See Colossians 2:11-14

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17

  • Underline: In him also you were also circumcised
  • Circle: buried with him in baptism
  • Margin: Write “Old Covenant” and underline it. Write “New Covenant” and circle it.

Jesus told the disciples to baptize all nations, which would include children. He also specifics invite children to come to Him, which they are unable to do without the Holy Spirit. Perhaps most convincingly, children were brought into a special “Covenant” relationship with God through circumcision in the Old Testament. This circumcision pointed to a greater “Covenant” relationship that was coming, and this relationship would be marked by Baptism, not circumcision.

While the Bible does not explicitly state that children should be baptized, it also does not prohibit it. We know that all people are sinful (including children) and in need of forgiveness, that children are included in the “all nations”, and that they were able to receive the benefits of circumcision without being able to act or speak on their own at 8 days old. Therefore, because God is the one acting in Baptism and not us, we are confident that He is working on the hearts of children who are baptized before they are able to confess Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Confirmation is the process of standing up to “Confirm” that the promises spoken on their behalf as children are in fact their own as well.

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Jason Christ

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