Archive | Baptism

the gospel life

The same friend who previously asked via Facebook, “What is the GOSPEL?”, posted this:

“Follow-up question: Which is MORE important, preaching the GOSPEL correctly or living the GOSPEL correctly, and why?”

Some of the comments were beginning to mix Law and Gospel.

Below is my “comment”/response:

The two are so intertwined. They have their own distinctions, but the preached gospel is infused in the gospel life. There is no gospel life apart from God’s Word.

The gospel life is wonderful and glorious, and must always come from Christ. It is always God’s work. It’s not our work. We are dead to sin. Dead meaning can’t do nuthin’, bro. The Law strikes us down and strikes us down hard to death. We’re gonners. Now, God is merciful and gives us life in Christ. Any fruit from the Gospel life is sourced from the Jesus on the Calvary tree.

We can’t go back 2,000 years to that Calvary tree to claim the fruit. It’d be cool if we could. Firstly, we can’t go anywhere to find God. The Law is written on our hearts, our sinful hearts, and we really, really want to use the law by our will and our standards to get to God and ultimately make our own god. We’re so broken. It’s God that finds us. Read the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). The coin can’t flip back up into the owner’s hand. It’s motionless. We’re that coin, man. God finds us. And God then uses us, the coin, to do good things. God’s use of the coin is THE gospel life. I love that story.

Secondly, how does He deliver Himself to us? How does He give us that Calvary fruit? God uses His Word.

The Bible tells us that through the ordinary means of water coupled with Jesus’ words, shared by the tool of the pastor, God gives Himself to us in Baptism. He puts His holy name on us by forgiving our sins in the stead of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection. We’re in His family from Baptism. It binds the church and our lives. We belong to Him. It’s His work.

God gives Himself to us in the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s body and blood. The real deal. Crazy, crazy stuff. No man can rationalize it. It’s the work of God after all. His Word is true and it’s His Word that delivers His body and blood for our forgiveness. It’s right there. Holy blessings abound! The Supper is a direct conduit to Christ on the cross who won our sins once and for all. All these blessed things are given to us in God’s overflowing love. That’s Gospel. From there we live the gospel life, a gospel life of God doing His holy work.

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Ich bin dennoch getauft

A project under future consideration is a casket garment. One that may be used for the eventual time of my death. It’s not that death has been on my mind, but rather the life in Baptism. On the garment will have the text “Ich bin dennoch getauft”. That’s the original German from Luther’s Large Catechism which translates to “Nevertheless I am baptized”.

Just as Christ being crucified on the cross was a sure and certain event so is the event of the Christian’s Baptism. It’s so because God promises it to us. He gives it to us. He unites us to Christ’s death and resurrection delivering forgiveness of sins. He puts His holy name on us and makes us His own. It’s something that goes with us through our entire Christian life for all eternity. When trouble comes, one can simply say, “Nevertheless I am baptized.”

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Holy Baptism for us

Holy Baptism is the Word from God, an ordinance, one of Gospel gift from God to us because it directly flows from the mercy of the cross and actually brings God’s real grace, the real presence of God Himself, and real salvation to all, thus defining the church.

Baptism is the greatest of all gifts.

In one respect it’s incredibly un-Lutheran to declare Baptism as the greatest of all gifts. Comparison between God’s gifts is not necessary. The question need not be asked or addressed because it is already answered. All the mercy that comes from God is of pure and unparalleled love. That statement brings our attentiveness to just how central Baptism is in the Church’s life.

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