Thursday, December 30, 2010

What makes a Lutheran all-wet?

Welcome to another installment of "What Makes a Lutheran?"! Last post we discussed how the central point of the Lutheran faith is Christ and Him crucified on the Cross. Therefore, Lutherans are “Cross-eyed.” We continue these next two posts to discuss a central aspect of our theology, which separates us from other churches, especially many of your big, non-denominational churches, "What do Lutherans believe about the sacraments?"

When I entered college I had a friend who told me, “You crazy Lutherans believe that salvation only comes through baptism.” I struggled after hearing this because I thought, wait a second, isn’t it just Jesus alone? I remembered hearing the words from the hymnal in the Baptismal rite, “Baptism now saves you” from I Peter 3:21, but was Peter wrong in his words? The problem I had was that I was asking the wrong question. Of course, we are saved solely by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins. If anyone says there is salvation somewhere else, they are not Christians. However, when we look at Christ's sacrifice on the cross, a question does arise, "How do I know He died for me?" This is a question I am sure that we all have asked at one point or another. We know that Christ died for the whole world, but then we read in Ephesians 1:4-5, we hear of how God chose some people to be saved. Though St. Paul is using these verses to comfort the Ephesians, we read them and worry that we might not be part of those who are chosen to be in heaven. Though it is intended to comfort us, this doctrine of predestination often frightens us. We then ask ourselves, "How do I know I am chosen to be in heaven?

How do we know that we are among the elect? We know because God told us so in our baptisms! In Romans 6:4, Paul tells us we are buried with Christ in baptism and raised to a new life! In I Peter 3:21 the Apostle tells us that baptism now saves us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Baptism, God shows you that Christ died for you because there he kills your old, sinful self with Christ on the cross and raises you from the dead to a new life with Him! In the waters of baptism, God gives Christ to you! Through the miracle of water and the Word, you are given faith in Jesus Christ. You don't have to try and figure out if you are among those who are saved any longer, God has come to you in a physical way through the water and the Word and made you His Child!

He brought faith when you were baptized, and He brings Christ every time you confess your sins and receive forgiveness. Every time you confess your sins, you once again become all wet in forgiveness, which is why us crazy Lutheran LOVE to become ALL WET in the waters of Holy Baptism.

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