March 2019   
Bible Search
November 2017 - Reformed for Baptismal/Thankful Living

Reformed for Baptism/Thankful Living

The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation has just occurred. We have spent the last year of monthly articles looking at various aspects of Luther and the Reformation – of looking at the spiritual heritage passed down to us by the Reformers and being reminded of the gifts that have been given to us – most notably the rediscovery of the pure Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  And with the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, truly we have much to be thankful for as Lutherans – indeed we are those re-formed in Christ Jesus for thankful living, or what could actually be called Baptismal living.

Though many of us may not remember the actual event, it was in your baptism that your Creator lovingly reached down through the water and Word, killed and buried your sinful guilt with Christ’s death and burial, washed away not only your shame, but the sting of eternal death as well, and raised you up through those waters in the power of Christ’s Resurrection unto true, new and eternal life!  It was the day of your salvation.  Your Rebirth.  Your new life.

It was the day when your God personally gave to you the blessing of Christ’s baptism – His baptism for you in the Jordan, as well as His baptism of Blood for you on the Cross.  When God the Son took on our human nature and became the Man Jesus Christ, He so became like one of us that at the beginning of His public substitutionary work, in humility He was baptized with a sinner’s baptism – your baptism.  The sinless One bathed in your dirty bath water (of sinfulness) so that He might make you clean.

And in the greatest act of love for humanity, Jesus continued on that road begun at the Jordan with a faithful servant’s heart, and finished it at the end of the Road of Sorrows, outside of the city of Jerusalem, where He horribly, indescribably suffered for your vile sins – each and every one of them so that you might be spared the hell He suffered in your place. 

This highest act of loving service and sacrifice was received and honored by the Father as Jesus rose from the grave in victory on the 3rd Day.  As such, all of humanity had been declared clean and forgiven in the baptism/pouring of Jesus’ blood.

But even more incredible is how He has lovingly applied that forgiving, cleansing, saving work to you personally in your baptism – the day when He personally poured the blood of Jesus over you, saving you from your nakedness and shame and death.  There is to be no doubt about that saving work given to you, and that is one of the greatest benefits of baptism – it gives you  assurance!  This is something that perhaps life-long Lutherans can take for granted or maybe not appreciate as they should.        

As an adult convert to the Lutheran faith, I really have grown to appreciate this tangible means of God’s care which is baptism.  I was raised in a reformed background that did not focus on the work of Christ alone for the assurance of forgiveness and salvation, but rather one where you looked inside of yourself at your feelings (“do I feel saved today?”) or my works (“Have I done enough to know that I am a Christian and that God will accept me into His Kingdom?”). 

How often I would feel my spiritual pulse and wonder whether or not I was saved.  What incredible freedom and joy there was when I was brought into the Lutheran faith and the correct understanding of the gift and care of God that baptism is!  What relief and freedom there was to no longer have to feel my spiritual pulse and wonder whether or not I feel saved or look at my life and wonder whether or not I had done enough to secure His love and heaven.  Rather, I can now simply look upon my baptism and know it was all God’s work.  That He alone is the one that not only created me, but recreated me on that blessed day.  That no matter how I feel, it does not change what He did for me in that sacrament.  No matter what the devil might say, or my flesh might fear, I can look upon God’s work in that Water and Word and know that I am His child!

What a freeing and joyful gift that pure Gospel is!  Our salvation depends on us not a single bit!  It is all Christ’s work alone, finished on the Cross alone, given to us through Faith alone that God the Holy Spirit created within us in that cleansing flood of Water and Word.    Look to your baptism and know that you have been rescued from sinful guilt and eternal death.  Be reminded that you have been clothed with Christ and made a saint of God – your shame covered with His very righteousness and holiness.  You have been reborn into God’s family, and have had His very image partially restored in you. 

In your baptism, God has begun to make you like Him again.  You are CHRISTians – those that are Christ-like and reflect godliness, His love and care to those around you – in tangible acts – to give love and care as it has first been given to you.

As Baptized children of God, you who were dead (and selfish, self-centered, hateful and vengeful) have been made alive.  That is, you have the life and love of God flowing in you and through you.  You have been enabled to again do that which you were created to do.  Love and trust in God, and love those around you, caring for their needs.  

You have been made those who can forgive when hurt, and can begin to be selfless and meeting the needs of those around you, and when there is opportunity, to share the good news of Jesus Christ to those around you. 

Baptized Saints of God – rejoice in thanksgiving for the love and care shown you by your loving and saving God.  Rejoice in the life that has been reborn in you, and by His grace Live that life, reflecting God’s love and life in your daily lives to those around you.  For you are by grace, saints of God, re-formed for thankful living.


Pastor Reiser


Contents © 2019 St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church | Church Website Provided by | Privacy Policy