We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.~ Romans 6:4
Grace to you and peace from the Triune God,
In Luther’s Small Catechism we see the fourth part on baptism say, “What then is the significance of such a baptism with water?” And it answers: “It signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” At God’s command, baptism is done but once. But it lasts a lifetime. Which is why it need never be repeated. Repentance, that change of heart. Repentance, when our old heart is swapped out for a new heart.
There’s an old person, or old creature, in each of us. Not only does it not do God’s will, but it actively resists and resents God. Hates God. Despises. And so God calls us to a change of heart. But it is no change within our power to do. Such a change only comes about when God drowns the old creature in baptism. He does this every day from the day we are baptized until the day we die. So, baptism lasts forever. It is no metaphor and no accident that the scriptures tell us that “We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4). Our old creature and its relationship to sin is like a wild bear that has attacked humans and now has a taste for human flesh. It’s gotta be put down. We can’t let it live. In baptism God puts us to death.
Just as surely and certainly as Christ has been raised bodily from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too, are raised from the dead to new life. Now we have been given a new heart. One that is no longer under any law, it freely submits to God, loves God, trusts God above all things. In baptism we are given a new heart that radiates with life. It is no longer under the sting of death. Only now can one be repentant. Note this, repentance can only arise from faith, when God gives a promise to trust. Namely, when we hear with our ears the forgiveness of sins proclaimed for us through faith in Jesus Christ, by sheer grace. As I’ve said, baptism happens but once.
Yet it lasts a lifetime. So repentance is nothing but a daily return to our baptism. For our old person in us with all sins and evil desires needs to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance. And daily a new person comes forth. The one who is righteous not in themselves but through faith. Trusting that God richly and mercifully forgives sins abundantly. You have been buried with Christ and raised with Christ. And if you have not yet been baptized in the name of the Triune God, God has authorized me to do just that for you. In those waters connected with the Word God has put himself. For there is Christ. In baptism there is for you forgiveness of sin, life everlasting, and salvation. Free of charge. By God’s grace alone.
Peace and joy,
Pastor Levi Powers