The Gospel promises us God’s grace and salvation without any condition—a promise of free grace which makes no demands but merely says, ‘Take it, and it is yours.’C.F.W. WALTHER
What is Baptism?
Baptism is not simple water, for Christ our Lord has commanded its use and connected it with His Word.
“Go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.”MATTHEW 28•19-20 (EHV)
What good does Baptism do?
In Baptism God gives forgiveness of sins, saves from death and the devil, and gives eternal life to all who believe His Word of promise.
“Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.”MARK 1•16 (NLT)
How can water do such great things?
Water by itself does not do this. God has connected His word and promise to this water, and faith trusts the word which God has connected to this water. Without God’s word it would be simply water and nothing else, but with His Word, God makes it a Baptism—a water which washes away sin and brings about rebirth by the Holy Spirit.
“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”TITUS 3•4-7 (NLT)
What does the use of water in Baptism signify?
Baptizing with water signifies that our old sinful nature is to be daily drowned, through repentance, and that a new person emerge to live before God, pure and righteous forever.
“Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”ROMANS 6•1-4 (NLT)
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
In Holy Communion, our Lord Jesus Christ gives His true body & blood through the bread & wine for us Christians to eat and to drink, according to His own command and testament.
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? [...] For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”1 CORINTHIANS 10•16 / 11•23-25 (EHV)
What good does this meal do?
In His Holy Supper, Jesus gives forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation; for where there is forgiveness, there is also life & salvation in His name.
“This is My body, which is given for you [...] This is My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”LUKE 22•19-20 / MATTHEW 26•28 (EHV)
How can eating and drinking do these things?
Eating & drinking by themselves do nothing, but Christ Himself connects His word to this meal and gives us faith to believe this word. Whoever believes it receives what Jesus promises to give through this eating & drinking: the forgiveness of their sins.
Who is worthy to receive this Sacrament?
The person who is worthy has faith in Christ’s own words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” If we do not believe this, we are not yet prepared to receive the Sacrament of our Lord’s body and blood.
“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Lord’s body and blood. Instead, let a person examine himself and after doing so, let him eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For if anyone eats and drinks in an unworthy way because he does not recognize the Lord’s body, he eats and drinks judgment on himself.”1 CORINTHIANS 11•27-29 (EHV)