January 15, 2009 - Thursday of the First Week after Epiphany

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 37:15-28; Romans 6:1-23

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We just can't get away from Holy Baptism this week! And why would we want to? In most churches, Baptism is thought of as just an act of your obedience. Just a symbol of a decision you make to be a Christian. Most churches and, sadly, most who call themselves Christians, think that Baptism doesn't really do anything at all!

But you, dear Christian, hear what St. Paul has said about it. Know that on the day you were baptized, you died with Jesus. His death became your death. And you were raised with Christ. His resurrection became your resurrection. On the day of your Baptism, every good thing that Christ accomplished by His life, death and resurrection became yours. At that moment of water and the word splashing on you, all that Christ is, has and has done is bestowed upon you as God's free and saving gift!

It is all given to us for newness of life. What does that mean? It means that now that we are baptized into Christ, we don't have to live in the old ways. No more accusations of the Devil troubling our conscience. No more trying to figure out what you need to do to earn God's forgiveness and get to heaven. No more living under the delusion that everything is about you. Now, in newness of life, you live free in Christ.

Holy Baptism means you are a new person. It doesn't mean that you'll change overnight or get rid of all your bad habits or even stop sinning. Rather, it means that when your heavenly Father sees you, He doesn't see the Old Adam, your sinful nature. He sees Christ in you and sees you covered with Christ. He sees the new creation, which is sealed for heaven by the blood of Jesus' new testament. Our Lord says in Revelation, “Behold I make all things new!” And in Holy Baptism that means you, too! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

God's own child I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ! He, because I could not pay it, Gave my full redemption price. Do I need earth's treasure many? I have one worth more than any That brought me salvation free Lasting to eternity. (LSB 594:1)