Romans 6:1-11 (ESV) What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Before His Ascension, Jesus bequeathed to His Church Holy Baptism, when He said, “Go and make disciples from all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded.” One of the things Jesus commanded was to let the little children come to Him, and so those little children, even infants who are part of all nations, also are to be made disciples through Baptism and by teaching them all of Christ’s Words as they get older.
The Baptism Christ has given to us is a new birth of the Holy Spirit, which makes us beloved children of God, as St. Paul said, “[God] 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, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6).
The gifts of Baptism can never be exhausted. It promises us the resurrection of our bodies on the Last Day, and everlasting life, in perfect peace and joy in heaven, as St. Peter explains, “Baptism…now saves you…through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). The reason Baptism is more than just a symbol is that it is filled with the power of Christ’s death for our sins and His resurrection for our justification, as St. Paul also writes in Romans 6.
Salvation is promised to us because Christ’s death is for the forgiveness of our sins and His obedience fulfilled all righteousness. John the Baptist asked the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Luke 3:7). The wrath of God is His anger and punishment against sin and unrighteousness. There is only one safe place to hide from the wrath of God, and that is in Jesus, in our Baptism into Him, in His forgiveness and robe of righteousness. When Jesus went to the cross, He received the full outpouring of God’s wrath against our sins, so that our guilt may be forgiven, so that we may be saved on the Last Day rather than damned by His wrath against all unbelievers. That is the wrath to come—the everlasting punishment that will be suffered by those who reject Jesus Christ and His Baptism.
But all who believe and are baptized will be spared from that wrath because their sins are forgiven by Christ’s death for their sins; their sins are washed away in the flood of Christ’s blood in Holy Baptism, and they are clothed with His perfect righteousness. So value your Baptism as the highest good you have in this life. There is no greater treasure than you could receive, for it gives you the gift of everlasting life on account of Christ’s resurrection.
In a world filled with profound uncertainty, one thing you can count on for sure is your Baptism, where we celebrate this truth: “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5).
Hymn (LSB 601):
1. All who believe and are baptized
Shall see the Lord’s salvation;
Baptized into the death of Christ,
They are a new creation.
Through Christ’s redemption they shall stand
Among the glorious, heav’nly band
Of ev’ry tribe and nation.
2. With one accord, O God, we pray:
Grant us Your Holy Spirit.
Help us in our infirmity
Through Jesus’ blood and merit.
Grant us to grow in grace each day
That by this sacrament we may
Eternal life inherit. Amen.
Prayer: Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.