Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. – Matthew 28:19.
To baptize means to wash, to wash with water. But Christian baptism is “the washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26).
Luther’s Small Catechism rightly teaches that “baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in God’s command and connected with God’s Word” (page 16, 1943). Christian baptism has not been ordained by man, but by God. God has instituted it; God has commanded it. It is the water comprehended in God’s command. The Lord Jesus said to His disciples: “Go ye and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them.” And God has united His Word with the water of baptism. It is water connected with God’s Word. The Lord Jesus said: “Baptizing them in [into] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”
These words show what Baptism really is. We lost and condemned sinners are baptized, or washed and bathed, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. We are washed and bathed in what the Triune God reveals that He has done for us. We are washed and bathed in the grace and love of the Father, who for Christ’s sake receives us as His children. We are washed and bathed in the bloody merit of the Son, who has made us righteous and good in the sight of God. The Apostle Paul declared that “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). We are washed and bathed in the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost working through the Gospel of Christ, which kindles faith in us and makes new creatures of us. Thus Baptism brings us into the gracious communion of and fellowship with the Triune God.
O Christian, you are baptized! Thank God for the wondrous grace, of which He has made you a partaker of through this holy Sacrament!
PRAYER – I thank Thee, Lord, Triune God, that Thou hast delivered me from the power of darkness, and hast transferred me into Thy Kingdom of Grace, and hast made me a partaker of Thy grace in Christ Jesus. Grant, O Lord, that to my dying hour, in true faith, I may comfort myself with this holy Sacrament, and thus receive what it gives and promises, everlasting salvation. Amen.
Baptized into Thy name most holy;
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;
I claim a place, though weak and lowly,
among Thy seed, Thy chosen host;
buried with Christ and dead to sin,
the Spirit now shall live within.
(Hymn 298, st. 1; TLH)