In the Name of the Father, and (+) of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Devotion from the Blessed Doctor Martin Chemnitz
224 What is Baptism?
Luther answers: It is not simple water only, but that which is included in the divine command and connected with the Word of God.
Philipp Melanchthon: Immersion in water was instituted by the Son of God with the declaration of the words: I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, testifying that since this testimony was divinely instituted, he who is immersed with the declaration of these words is reconciled to God for Christ’s sake and is sanctified by the Holy Spirit to life eternal.
225 What are the Essential Parts of Baptism?
I. The element of water (Jn 3:5; Eph 5:25–26; Acts 10:47).
II. The Word of God (Eph 5:26: Cleansing with the washing of water by the Word—namely the command of Christ regarding the conferring of Baptism, Mt 28:19, and the very promise of grace, Mk 16:16). For that word of the command and promise of God is a true consecration or sanctification by which Baptism becomes a clean water (Eze 36:25), in fact a water of life (Eze 47:9; Zch 14:8) and a washing of regeneration (Tts 3:5).
226 Is It Also Baptism When the Words of Institution are Spoken Over the Element of Water, and Yet There is No One Who is Baptized?
By no means. For when Christ says, Baptize them, He surely wants and commands that Baptism be an act in which someone is baptized with the water that is connected with the Word of God. And therefore Paul also calls Baptism a washing (Eph 5:26; Tts 3:5). But Baptism was not instituted that either bells or other creatures but that nations (Mt 28:19), that is, those who have been born of flesh (Jn 3:6), be baptized for remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
227 In the Administration of Baptism, Why is Not the General Statement (Baptize All Nations) Used, But: I Baptize Thee?
For this reason, namely, that this is distinctive of the Sacraments, that by them everyone is dealt with personally and specifically (Acts 2:38), so that in this way everyone of the believers might have in his heart as a sure testimony, pledge, and seal that the promise of grace is specifically offered and applied to him (Gl 3:27; 1 Ptr 3:21; Acts 2:38).
228 What is the Meaning of These Words: I Baptize Thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?
First, [this] is signified, that Baptism is administered in the name, that is, on command, of God the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Second, [this] is indicated, that we are baptized in the name, that is, in, or with, invocation, of the true God, or as the Greek words say, into the name, that is, into the knowledge and invocation, of the true God, who is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Third, this above all is the thrust of those words, that in the administration of Baptism a minister does not function in his own name, but that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Himself present, deals through the outward ministry with the one to be baptized, so that God the Father, because of the merit of the Son, receives him into grace and sanctifies [him] by the Holy Spirit unto righteousness and life eternal, so that in the name is the same as in the stead and place of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as Paul says in that same passage regarding the preaching of the Gospel and absolution (2 Co 2:10; 5:20).
229 Is God the Father Present in Baptism?
He certainly is present. And that not only in the mode of presence by which He is present everywhere and fills all things, but in such a way that through this washing, He saved us according to His mercy, that, being justified by His grace for Christ’s sake, we might be made heirs of eternal life through the Holy Spirit (Tts 3:5; 7). Likewise, God the Father is present in Baptism in such a way that in it He establishes a covenant of a good conscience between Himself and us through Christ (1 Ptr 3:21).
230 Is the Son of God Present in Baptism?
Paul clearly affirms that, saying in very beautiful words, Eph 5:25–26: Christ gave Himself for the church, that He might sanctify it, cleansing it with the washing of water by the Word. Likewise, he says that we are baptized into the death of Christ (Ro 6:3) and into the resurrection of Christ (1 Ptr 3:21). In fact, in Baptism we put on Christ (Gl 3:27). And this is what is said in Acts: to be baptized in the name of Christ.
231 Is the Holy Spirit Also Present in Baptism?
We are born again of water and the Spirit, that we might enter into the kingdom of God (Jn 3:5; Tts 3:5–7).
And on this basis people are to be instructed and taught, so that they do not consider and regard Baptism as only a human work, but as the work of God, namely that in it the entire holy Trinity is present and deals with the poor sinner through that outward ministry, so that He cleanses him from sins, delivers [him] from death, Satan, and eternal damnation, and instead gives [him] righteousness and eternal salvation.
232 What is the Benefit, Power, or Efficacy of Baptism?
The words of institution of Baptism and many other passages of Scripture show us this, e.g., Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Eph 5:25–26; Tts 3:5, 7; Jn 3:5; 1 Ptr 3:21. Hence Luther rightly says in his Catechism: Baptism works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words of divine promise declare.
233 But These Benefits Certainly Depend on the Merit of the Obedience and Passion of Christ. Are Men, Then, to Be Diverted from Christ and Brought to Baptism Instead of to Him?
If Christ is separated from Baptism, or Baptism from Christ (as the Sacramentarians do), then indeed the washing of water can of itself work or confer none of these things, but it is and remains only a simple sign. But since Christ is in and with the act of Baptism, so that we are baptized into His death and resurrection (Ro 6:3; 1 Ptr 3:21), in fact, in Baptism we put on Christ (Gl 3:27), and He Himself cleanses us by this washing (Eph 5:25–26), likewise, since God the Father imparts, presents, and seals to believers the merit of Christ through His Holy Spirit in Baptism and through Baptism (Tts 3:5–6), therefore neither water nor the act of the minister performs and works the things that are predicated of Baptism, but God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Himself, through Baptism, as through the ordinary means ordained and instituted by God Himself for this purpose. Therefore, far from being diverted from Christ by Baptism, we by it, as by the ordinary means, are led to Christ and grafted in [Him] (Ro 6:4–5; Mk 10:14). For salvation has indeed been procured and accomplished by Christ on the cross, but in Baptism and through Baptism it is distributed, applied, and sealed to believers (Mk 16:16).
234 How Long Does that Salutary Effect of Baptism and Fruit of Comfort Last?
Through a man’s whole life on this earth, in fact unto life eternal (Mk 16:16). Likewise, we are born again in Baptism, that we might be made heirs of eternal life according to hope (Tts 3:7); cf. Eph 5:26–27; this is indeed begun in this life, but finally completed in the life to come. And it is indeed a very sweet comfort that through all of this life Baptism becomes for us the figure of a very firm pact and public testimony that we have been made partakers of the merit of Christ in such a way that we can at all times seek and draw continual comfort from it, as Paul comforts the Galatians on the basis of Baptism once received, when they repented after falling (Gl 3:27).
235 But What If One Who is Baptized Rejects Repentance and Loses Faith?
The salutary fruits of Baptism, of which we have spoken, are apprehended, retained, and preserved by faith. Mk 16:16. Therefore, where there is no repentance, and no good but only evil fruits follow, there certainly is no true and saving faith, as was pointed out above. Likewise, he that either does not seek or does not retain the grace of God in Christ, but spurns and rejects it, he does not have true faith. And though such have been baptized, yet they are under this sentence of divine judgment: He that does not believe shall be condemned.
236 If, Then, Someone Fails Away from the Covenant of Baptism and Later is Converted Anew, is There No Longer Any Comfort Left for Him on the Basis of Baptism?
The papist teach that the ark of Baptism is so dashed to pieces and completely destroyed by sin against conscience that it cannot be repaired, and therefore those who repent are not to return to the covenant of Baptism, but are to seize a second plank, namely of repentance and our works, by which we might escape the depth of perdition. But God forbid that our unbelief make the faith of God of no effect (Ro 3:3–4; 2 Ti 2:13). And God does not want the basis of grace, entered with us by Baptism, to consist in this, that if we break faith He also will not keep faith, even if we repent and return to it. But, as the ancients have well said, Baptism is rather the door by which we are admitted and received to fellowship and participation in the merits of Christ, so that we might continue therein, or if we fall therefrom, that we might have access and a way back to that covenant of grace, in true repentance, through faith, continually, while it is still today. And Jeremiah describes in very comforting words in all of Jer 3 how much God commends His grace to us in this very thing.
237 Is Baptism, Then, to Be Repeated as Often as We Fall?
By no means. For the covenant that God made with us in Baptism is an everlasting covenant (Is 55:3). And Baptism is a seal that testifies that God will continually keep the covenant of grace once made with us whenever and as often as we return to it. It is therefore not necessary to repeat Baptism as often as we are converted after a fall, as also in the Old Testament those who fell did not repeat circumcision at conversion but returned in earnest repentance through true faith to the covenant of grace that God had made with them in circumcision. Thus Paul did not rebaptize the Corinthians and Galatians who were again converted to God after a fall, but directed them to the covenant and comfort of Baptism once received. 1 Co 6:11; 12:13; Gl 3:27. It is indeed written regarding the Lord’s Supper: As often as ye do this, etc. But no commandment like this is connected with Baptism: As often as ye are baptized, etc.
238 Does Baptism, Because of the Comfort Regarding Forgiveness of Sins and Salvation, Also Have More Effects and Benefits?
The chief benefit and comfort of Baptism is that of which we have spoken so far. But Paul mentions in addition also another effect of Baptism. For he says, Tts 3:5: Baptism is a washing, first, of regeneration, namely that we, who by nature were children of wrath, are reborn of water and the Spirit, so that, for Christ’s sake, we might be children of God. Second, he says that it is a washing of renewing of the Holy Spirit.
239 In What, Then, Does This Renewal Consist?
Paul indeed briefly but thoroughly covers and describes this whole process of renewal Ro 6:4 ff., where he says, first, that we, being planted by Baptism in the death of Christ, are also buried with Him into death, namely that the power and efficacy of the death of Christ not only forgives us sins, but also begins to crucify, mortify, and bury sin in the flesh, in the baptized, by the Holy Spirit, that it should not reign in our body, and we should not obey its lusts, but that the body of sin might be destroyed. Second, he says that through Baptism we are also made partakers of the resurrection of Christ, namely that through it the Holy Spirit renews the mind, that we put on the new man, who is created according to God in righteousness and holiness of truth (Eph 4:24).
240 How are Exhortations to Newness of Life to Be Drawn from Baptism?
By the example of Paul, Ro 6:3–4, 6, 11–12. For just as God made with us a covenant of grace and a good conscience in Baptism, so we also, on the other hand, promised Him that we would die to sin and live to righteousness, for this reason the renunciation in the act of Baptism was given this form of question and answer: Do you renounce the devil? Answer: I renounce, etc. It is therefore a horrible sin impudently to violate that covenant. For thus we hinder and destroy the work of the Holy Spirit, who works renewal in us. But all believers can, in fact should, confidently implore and entreat the Holy Spirit by a certain right of Baptism, as it were, to mortify the works of the flesh in them and cleanse and renew their hearts more and more.
241 Are the Effects and Benefits of Baptism Immediately Complete and Finished in the Baptized?
Regeneration indeed, that is, adoption and the forgiveness of sins is complete and finished in believers immediately after Baptism, and yet it nevertheless extends through the whole life of a man. But renewal is indeed begun in Baptism and grows daily, but is finally completed in the life to come. For in this [present] life renewal is still imperfect and should grow and increase from day to day. 2 Co 4:16; Eph 4:22–23; Cl 3:10; 1 Ptr 2:1–2.
242 Are Infants to Be Baptized?
Yes. For baptism of infants was always observed in the Christian church from the time of the apostles and was defended and approved against heretics on the basis of the Word of God, as the very ancient writers Irenaeus, Cyprian, Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, and Chrysostom testify.
Chemnitz, M., & Poellot, L. (1999). Ministry, word, and sacraments: an enchiridion (electronic ed., pp. 112–120). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
Lord God, heavenly Father, it is meet and right that we should give thanks unto You, that You have given us a more glorious baptism than that of John the Baptist, and have therein promised us the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, and everlasting life through Your Son, Jesus Christ: Preserve us, we beseech You, in such faith in Your grace and mercy, that we may never doubt Your promise, but be comforted by the same in all temptations: and grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may renounce sin, and ever continue in the righteousness bestowed upon us in baptism, until by Your grace we obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, world without end. Amen.
In the Name of the Father, and (+) of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Devotion from the Blessed Dr. Martin Chemnitz
The second point to consider is what is meant by the killing prohibited in the Fifth Commandment. The word “kill” of itself means to destroy, to snuff out, or to cut off the life of a man. But Christ in His interpretation shows that to kill under the Fifth Commandment refers not only to the act itself but also to the inner attitudes of the heart, to our deeds and to our words. He shows that the Pharisees, in their ignorance of the grammar of the Holy Spirit, were insane in their understanding of the Fifth Commandment.
Christ lists four kinds of homicide, and a more proper catalog of sins which are in conflict with this precept cannot be drawn up. Indeed, from this list we must draw the rule that in the case of each of the individual commandments four kinds of sin are to be noted: (1) the inner emotions of the heart or mind; (2) sins of gesture; (3) sins of words; (4) sins of deeds…
The second kind of murder consists in the inner thoughts of the heart against one’s neighbor. Christ speaks of anger and is saying that all desires of the heart against our neighbor are involved here. In 1 Cor. 13:5 thoughts of the mind are mentioned: “Love thinks no evil.” Likewise in Matt. 9:4, Jesus says, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” In Gen. 27:41 the intention or the advance decision to do harm is described. It is in the will: “Then I will kill my brother.” Thus the root of murder clings in all our inner powers. We must consider how the apostles, on the basis of the foundation laid down by Christ in Matt. 5:22, developed fuller explanations: Gal. 5:20, “Hatreds, contention, jealousy, strifes, dissensions”; Col. 3:8, “anger, wrath”; bitterness, desire for revenge. See fuller explanations in the long lists in Rom. 12:19; 1 Thess. 5:15; and 2 Cor. 12:20. Likewise James 3:14; Rom. 1:29, 31, “filled with contention and maliciousness, faithless, unforgiving”; 1 John 3:15, “hatred”; 2 Tim. 3:3, “pitiless.” These depraved desires can be categorized thus: Some arise out of sorrow and impatience over an injury; some are born out of jealousy toward a neighbor’s happiness; some out of our natural wickedness and desire to be disagreeable.
These points are very well taken and have a great deal of value in demonstrating how the Holy Spirit, by examples of the Fifth Commandment, is teaching what is necessary for an explanation of the whole Decalog. For Christ in Matthew 5 makes a distinction between venial and mortal sins and very properly shows this in regard to the Fifth Commandment.
Regarding the Pharisees who considered the inner corrupt desires as either nothing at all or only minor sins, Christ says in v. 20, “You shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Concerning those who “while there still is time will not lay aside their anger and become reconciled,” He says in v. 26, “You will not get out until …” But because these lusts which are contrary to the Fifth Commandment cling in this corrupt nature of ours, so that no one is free of them, He teaches this doctrine in v. 24: First let us be reconciled and then let us go to the altar, that is, let us seek forgiveness.
Paul in Eph. 4:26 gives us useful advice concerning the different degrees of anger. He speaks of the first feelings, when out of the misery provoked by some injury, a hot anger boils up in the heart and the blood. In Col. 3:8 he uses the word thymos, “wrath” or “outburst of passion.” This term refers to something caused by a violent impulse. The Greeks use it to describe a kind of pounding around the heart involving many blood vessels wherein the emotion of anger is strongly felt, as when blood bursts out of the lips.
Thus Paul says in Eph. 4:26, “Be angry but do not sin,” that is, the first emotion or feeling cannot be stopped or avoided (as the Hebrew word in Ps. 4:4 meaningfully describes this agitation), but see to it that this does not continue on to become sin by which “the Holy Spirit is grieved” and “place is given to the devil,” as Paul says in vv. 30 and 27. Therefore he commands that we fight against this so that “the sun does not go down on our wrath,” v. 26, but rather that the heat of anger be cooled and we seek forgiveness from God. But of those who do not calm their angry heart and allow the sun to set and keep nursing the flames, Paul says that they are giving place to the devil and have fallen into such a great sin that the Holy Spirit is grieved.
The second degree or level of anger he calls orgē, when the mind devises and plans evil and burns with desire for revenge. The third level is hatred, long-standing anger. The fourth which follows is jealousy, dissension, quarreling, contentions, and other outward actions, as James 1:20 says, “Man’s anger does not work the righteousness of God.” The Holy Spirit has made these distinctions so that we may learn what great efforts we must make in order to control the inner desires of our mind and what great evil follows when we give free rein to these lusts. We must also note that this doctrine applies to the other commandments.
Chemnitz, M., & Preus, J. A. O. (1999). Loci theologici (electronic ed., pp. 406–407). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
Merciful Father, help us to see that our anger does not produce the righteousness You require. Forgive us for letting anger take root in our hearts and for speaking and acting out of anger. Grant to us humility, patience, and kindness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.
In the Name of the Father, and (+) of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
1 Corinthians 11:23-32
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
One of the reasons I picked our hymn, All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night, for this week (see Monday’s devotion) is because of the third stanza.
Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die, that so I may
Rise glorious at the awe-ful day.
I love that stanza. It reminds me of the quote, “You go to the Lord’s Supper as if going to your death, so that you can go to your death as if you are going to the Lord’s Supper.”
Four years ago, I wrote the following piece in remembrance of Pastor Steve Sanderson. I thought it was fitting with the themes of our hymn and would be beneficial given all that is going on in the world right now. I have edited it some from the original.
Martin Chemnitz wrote: Very beautiful is the statement of Augustine in which he says of his mother Monica that she bound her soul with the chain of faith to that sacrifice which is dispensed in the Lord's Supper so that neither lion nor dragon could tear it away. (Examination 2.321)
I loved this “very beautiful statement” the moment I first read it. The imagery it evokes of a vicious lion or a ferocious dragon trying to tear away a faithful saint from the body and blood of Christ as given in the Lord’s Supper, is stunning. I loved it, but I do not think I truly understood it until a few years later.
I can remember exactly where I was when I got the call. I had been mowing the lawn and pulled out my phone to check the time. The news still rings in my ears, “Steve has cancer.” At the time, none of us had any way of knowing how savage and brutal this particular cancer would be.
The cancer attacked the fit physical specimen who had run marathons and eventually made even walking short distances an exercise in pain and endurance. Even as the pain increased, on Sunday mornings you could still find Steve in church. The cancer forced him to move from his regular spot near the front to the back so that he could sit in my desk chair – a somewhat successful attempt to make sitting through church bearable.
When it came time for the Lord’s Supper, he refused to let me bring Christ’s gifts to him where he was seated. His reason, “I want to be at the rail with everyone else.” I am sure there was an element of pride in this, but I also know that he desired to be with his brothers and sisters and receive Christ’s gifts with them.
For weeks, Steve would drag himself up to the rail. Usually, he was too weak to make it back to his chair without assistance. It was painful to watch him do this to himself.
And yet, he encouraged us all. Steve embodied Augustine’s quote about Monica. Neither lion nor dragon, neither cancer nor excruciating pain, could keep him away from Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. When I consider all the excuses (not legitimate reasons – and to be clear I do believe being at high-risk for the coronavirus/serious concerns over getting it is a legitimate reason) I hear for people missing the Divine Service - everything from pathetic to “I can’t believe you just said that out loud” – it is an astonishing thing to watch a man racked with pain do all that is within his power to be present to receive Christ’s gifts.
It is a beautiful example of what happens when God gives someone the faith to simply trust the Word: “This is my body. This is my blood…for the forgiveness of sins.” When someone believes that the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ truly preserve them in body and soul unto life everlasting there is no telling what they will endure to get it. He knew his desperate need and he knew where to find the only remedy.
Steve did get to the point where he was physically unable to attend the Divine Service. The last time I gave him the Holy Supper was a few days before he went into a coma. He knew death was near and he was not afraid. As I quoted earlier, “You go to the Lord’s Supper as if going to your death, so that you can go to your death as if you are going to the Lord’s Supper.” I have seen this to be most certainly true.
On May 22nd, 2016, Trinity Sunday, Pastor Steve Sanderson’s battle with cancer ended as our gracious Lord ushered him into glory and four years later he still has much to teach us all. I am still encouraged as I think of Steve dragging himself to the communion rail. May we too see our desperate need and drag ourselves to where the remedy is found in Word and Sacrament.
O Lord God, heavenly Father, we praise and thank you for your grace that through your Son Jesus Christ you established this supper in which we eat his body and drink his blood. By your Holy Spirit, help us to use this gift worthily, to confess and forsake our sins, to confidently believe that we are forgiven through Christ, and to grow in faith and love day by day until we come at last to the joy of eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
A place for Pastor Packer to post articles, links, and his own thoughts.