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From the Word: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God in salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For it it, a righteousness of God is revealed from faith into faith, as it is written, “But the one who is righteous through faith shall live.” (Romans 1:16–17)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface
Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe shall be damned.
Pulling It Together: The power of Baptism is faith in the Baptizer, in God. Without faith in God’s word of promise, baptism is a ceremonial cleansing at best. But when the word of God is spoken through the water, and is received in faith, there is divine, salvific power. The one who is baptized but does not believe the promise of God’s word, is damned. But the one who believes the word of the Baptizer will be saved.
Therefore, Baptism is God’s work from start to finish. He gives faith to believe the gospel, and the faith to receive all of its promises. God’s righteousness, not ours, is revealed in Baptism, from faith to faith. Our righteousness is his, not ours, received from God through faith, as it says, “the one who is righteous through faith will live.” We are righteous because we believe his promise.
Prayer: Keep your church in steadfast faith, Lord, so that she may proclaim your word of promise to the nations. Amen.
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Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.