Article IX: Of Baptism

Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace.

They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.  (Augsburg Confession, article IX)

Baptism is one of those things.  Yeah, "those" things.  It requires Christians to be honest with the Word of the Lord and with their own weaknesses, inhibitions, limitations, and sins.

Historically, baptism has been apart of God's people since Noah floated atop a great flood and was saved while the evil world was drowned.  Baptism has been around since Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and were saved while Pharaoh and his armies were destroyed in the deep.  And really, Baptism has been around since God said "Let there be light", while the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

In all these examples -- and in the MANY more we find in Scripture -- we find baptism. 

In Baptism, God is the One doing all the heavy lifting.  Consider Noah and the flood.  Yes, Noah built the ark, but God flooded the world!  When the Israelites crossed the sea, Moses held a stick in the air, but God parted the waters.  When Moses consecrated the priests and the Tabernacle, and all the people, he may have flung water (and blood) with a hyssop branch, but God was the One upholding His covenant and He was the One declaring the people "sanctified" (holy -- saints).  When YOU were baptized, the pastor may have poured water on you (or you may have been immersed), but God was the one doing the work of salvation. 

Now this isn't just a "Lutheran" thing; no, we're not just holding on to old Roman Catholic traditions.  This is a CHRISTIAN thing because it is a Bible-thing.  Scripture teaches us, overwhelmingly, that Baptism saves us, that we are buried with Christ in our baptisms, that the Old Adam is killed in our baptisms, that we are washed in the Holy Spirit in our baptisms, that we are renewed in our baptisms, that we are covered in Christ's righteousness in our baptisms, that we are born from above in our baptisms, that we are set apart in our baptisms, and that we are made into saints in our baptisms.

Now, our eyes see only water.  That's all we see.  We see water being applied by some method (pouring or immersing) onto a person.  And if we let what we "see" dictate what we "believe" then we are like Thomas who refused to believe because he saw nothing but Jesus dying on a cross.  Much like the Romans who saw Jesus die; much like the Pharisees who saw Jesus die, Thomas saw with his eyes the blood and the gore and Jesus' breathing His last, and believed Jesus to be dead and gone.  He "saw" Jesus' body locked away in a tomb and concluded that the battle was over for Jesus.

But Jesus had other plans, and on the 3rd day He rose again and revealed to Thomas and the others that seeing ISN'T always believing, but believing is truly seeing! 

Well it's the same with Holy Baptism.  We may not "see" God open heaven and the Holy Spirit descend upon us.  We may only see water and a pastor.  But God, through His Holy Word, makes promises, regardless of what we see.  And God promises salvation, forgiveness of sins, eternal life and the Holy Spirit through Baptism! 

And this is why it is also good and fitting that we baptize infants!  Not only is it historic -- not only has the Church baptized infants since its beginnings -- but infants need God's salvation too.  As 8-day old infants were circumcised and covered in the covenant of salvation God cut with Israel, so too are infants who ARE baptized covered in the blood and righteous garment of Christ who was cut for all -- who was crucified and risen.  Jesus died for the smallest of infants and the most aged of adults.

In Holy Baptism we only see water, but by the powerful Word of God we believe, and thus we also see salvation.  You are baptized!  Remember this and remember what God has given you freely through Christ His only Son.