We’re glad you asked about baptism, because baptism is very special. It is special
because it is a work of God Himself, because God has connected great and wonderful
blessings with it, and because it is a source of comfort and strength for God’s children
throughout their lives.

Baptism holds a central place in the “great commission” which Jesus gave to the
Church. Soon before His ascension into heaven He said to His disciples, “All authority
has been given to Me In heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:18-20)
Christ Himself authorized baptism, and He is present and active in it. As St. Paul
reminds us, Jesus “loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and
cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…” (Eph. 5:25-26) Of course, the
outward act of applying water in itself certainly has no power to save us from sin. But
Christian baptism does have this power, because our Lord has connected His own word
and promise to the water of this sacrament.

God designated baptism as one of the ways through which He will bring His grace
(His undeserved love) to men. St. Paul tells us that “God saved us, through the washing
of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit … that we should become heirs according
to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5,7). All human beings are “by nature children of
wrath” (Eph. 2:3), and have been sinful from their very conception. (Ps. 51:5) Everyone,
regardless of age, is therefore in need of the blessings which are offered in baptism. And
since God’s Word does not authorize us to withhold baptism from anyone, we administer
it to children as well as to adults. On Pentecost St. Peter told his hearers to repent of their
sins and to receive the baptism which Jesus had commanded “for the remission of sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your
children…” (Acts 2.38-39; emphasis added).

The gracious Gospel of Christ, the “good news” of Jesus’ victory over sin and
death, “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes,” and it creates in us
the faith in Christ for which it calls. (Rom. 1: 16) This is no less true of baptism, which
is the Gospel in sacramental form. But as with the Gospel in general, the blessings of
baptism are forfeited when a baptized person, in unbelief, turns away from Christ and His
Word. For such a person baptism remains as God’s enduring invitation to return to Him.
For Christians, baptism is an enduring source of hope and encouragement. This
sacrament unites us personally to the death and resurrection of Jesus, and to the salvation
which He thereby won for us. As we repent daily of our sins and continue to trust in
Christ, the baptismal pledge which God made to us is continually renewed, comforting
and sustaining us. “Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into
death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4)

We’re glad you asked about baptism. Baptism is God’s own work of grace for your
salvation, and as a Christian you can take personal comfort from its promises every day of
your life.

(All Scripture references are from the New King James Version)