The washing of water by the Word. – Ephesians 5:26.
What does baptism, the washing of water by the Word, give or profit? Just because it is the washing of water by the Word, it has a great and mighty power. It gives forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation, and the Holy Ghost through the Gospel to kindle saving faith in us. As Luther’s Small Catechism rightly teaches concerning baptism: “It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare” (page 16, 1943).
And now let us show you such words and promises of God through which baptism receives its great and mighty power.
The Spirit of God, in Ephesians 5, teaches that “Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:25-26).
This same Spirit of God, in Acts 2, taught the following: “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
In Acts 22, God used Ananias to convey this important message to Saul: “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16). You see that baptism gives the forgiveness of sins. Jesus Himself declared in Mark 16: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).
The Apostle Peter, “moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21 b), clearly taught in his First Epistle: “Baptism doth also now save us” (v. 21 a). You see that baptism gives eternal salvation.
Furthermore, the Apostle Paul wrote in Titus 3: “But after that the kindness and love of God, our Savior, toward man appeared, not by the works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior; that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7). Here you see that baptism saves us, and gives us the Holy Ghost in the Gospel, to regenerate and renew us through faith in our dear Savior, that we should be righteous before God and heirs of eternal life.
Take, therefore. O Christian, these gifts of undeserved, unearned, and unearned grace which God has given to you through baptism! Take them and keep them securely through the grace of your gracious God and Savior, who has given you these priceless gifts in baptism!
PRAYER – Help me, O God; help me that in true faith I may securely hold the great and saving treasures which Thou hast given me through baptism! Help me to do this through Thy Holy Spirit working through Thy living, powerful Gospel. Help me to never lose the forgiveness of sins and life eternal which Thou hast given to me in the active and passive obedience of Christ Jesus, Thy dear Son and my dear Savior! Amen.
My loving Father, Thou dost take me, to be henceforth Thy child and heir;
My faithful Savior, Thou dost make me the fruit of all Thy sorrows share;
Thou, Holy Ghost, wilt comfort me when darkest clouds around I see.
(Hymn 298, st. 2; TLH)