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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 194

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From the Word: 17 “And I will remember their sins and their crimes no more." 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:17–18)

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: Baptism is something God does to and for us. It is not our offering to God, as though God is a theatergoer soothed by our performance. It is not something we do in order to appease God, because Jesus is the once-and-for-all propitiation for our sins. We do not offer ourselves in a washing because we are sinners. Because we are sinners, God washes us. And where God does the cleansing, it stays clean. Confessing sinners remain clean before him, because those old clothes, our sinful, human nature, are left behind in the laundry. We arise in new wraps, the very skin of Christ. The Father no longer sees the old nature. He sees the new: old sinners robed in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only and final offering for sin. Remember that you are baptized, that Christ has done the deed: the sacrifice and the baptism. You cannot do it, nor redo it; it is finished. Christ accomplished it on the first take.

Prayer: I remember, Lord, all you have accomplished, and I believe. Amen.

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The Upper Room is a six-part drama and sermon series for use during the weeks of Lent, in midweek or Sunday morning services. The stories in this series seek to focus our hearts and minds on the last days of Jesus, drawing us into a greater spiritual maturity that recognizes the blessings and responsibilities of this life of faith, as we walk with our Lord on the path to the cross.


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