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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 196

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From the Word: 17 And God heard the boy’s crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What distresses you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Get up! Lift up the boy and hold him tightly, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. (Genesis 21:17–19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “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)

Pulling It Together: Our lives are in the Lord’s hands. He has prepared a better place for us, a heavenly city, an excelling country (Heb 11:16). It was so for Abraham who with Sarah was made to wait in faith on God’s promise. Waiting was also the lot of Jacob, Isaac, and Joseph. And so it is for us; we must wait with faith in God (Heb 11:17–22). Hagar, Sarah’s maid, was also required to wait, though it seemed to her that her son Ishmael would die in the wilderness. In her season of misery, God opened her eyes so that her hope in him might be maintained. His word of promise was supplemented with the view of a nearby well that would sustain her child and herself.

God does the same for us. His word of promise attends a nearby well, and that word is for you. When life is most difficult, may your eyes be opened to view the “fount of every blessing” (Robert Robinson, hymn writer). May you recall the font of your baptism, always nearby in memory, but even more, may you remember Christ the living fount, whose word of promise reminds you that your life is in his hands. He has gone to prepare a place for you (John 14:2), of which your baptism always stands ready as reminder. God will sustain you until you reach his far city.

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see. Amen.

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The Creator has revealed to us the Trinitarian nature of the name of God in “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” This six-week study explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain,” while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

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