27 March 2020

Abiding with Christ in the Place of Holy Baptism

You do not deny that Jesus is the Son of God, and you would not dream of picking up stones to throw at Him and kill Him.  By your Baptism into Christ Jesus, by His Word and Holy Spirit, you believe in Him and love Him, and you confess that He is the Lord, your Savior and your God.

But also take to heart, in particular, that He, being God, has been sanctified and sent by the Father to become true Man, your Brother in the flesh.  He has come down from heaven to do the works of God the Father here on earth — with human words and with His bodily means of grace.

Look, then, where He is staying: He is in the place of Baptism, that is, within His Church on earth — in the preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins — and in the Supper of the Lamb, the One who has been slain, and yet, behold, He lives for you.  That is where you go to be with Him.

Do not look for your Savior and your God “up there,” as though you could peer into heaven and scale such heights on your own.  And don’t try to lay hold of Him, whether for good or evil, by any power or wisdom of yours.  You won’t find Him that way, nor will you catch Him in your hands.

Do not suppose that you will ever have outgrown the benefits and significance of Holy Baptism.  And do not imagine that what you need is something more and better than the same ol’ same ol’ means of grace.  Those means of the Gospel are exactly where and how Jesus is with you and for you.  That is where He remains.  That is where you find Him, because that is where and how He finds you. That is where and how you come to believe in Him and live in Him, now and forever.

Repent of your desire and your tendency to wander off and look for other gods — whatever their name or kind, whether it be your family and friends, wealth or power or fame.  Return with all your heart and soul, your body, mind, and strength, to the place of Baptism, to the Church on earth.  It is precisely there that God the Son has come from God the Father to work among you and for you.

It is in His own Body of flesh and blood — in the waters of the Jordan, in His Crucifixion and His Resurrection — that His God and Father has sanctified Christ Jesus with His Holy Spirit to be your Savior.  And it is still with the flesh and blood of Christ, and by the Word of Jesus Christ the Crucified One, that His Father sanctifies you with the same Holy Spirit, unto the Life everlasting.

This is the good work that Christ your Savior does for you.  His Word has come to you, and it is still spoken to you, for the forgiveness of all your sins.  So, too, in the waters of Holy Baptism He has made of you a son of God by His grace.  His Father is your Father.  And the Holy Triune God, who has named you with His own Name, lives in you, and you in Him, forever and forevermore.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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