In the holy sacrament of Baptism it is not only the Father who speaks to us. The Son also gives us assurance. Assurance which every child of God craves. It need not surprise us that the assurance given by the Son also concerns the forgiveness of sin. This is the central message of the sacrament of Baptism. But this is not a vain repetition. The forgiveness of sin is a gift of the Triune God. It is the fruit of the Mediatorial work of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is given to us by the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
The message of the Son, even as the words of the Father, is as rain upon the parched earth. When we are baptized into the Name of the Son, the Son seals unto us that he washes us in his blood from all our sins, incorporating us into the fellowship of his death and resurrection, so that we are freed from our sins and accounted righteous before God.
The eye of faith beholds the Savior in the administration of the sacrament of baptism. \Ve see him who spoke to the paralytic man lying at his feet: “Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” It is be who testified: “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” It is he whom the redeemed in heaven worship when they sing: “Thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.”
When with the eye of faith we see him and with the ear of faith hear his assuring words we know that he is true to his promise that he will be with us all the days of our life, even unto the end of the world.
It is true this seeing and hearing is not yet what we really desire. Now we see in a mirror, darkly; and the time will come when we shall see face to face. Now we know in part, and we shall some day know fully even as we were fully known. But we comfort ourselves with the words of the Savior: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
We see him and listen to him as he speaks to us in baptism not as the suffering servant of the Lord; but as the one who has received all power in heaven and upon earth. Though the glorified Lord, he has not forgotten his struggling disciples here upon earth. He comes to us ill baptism to assure us that he cleanses us from all our sins. We emphasize the word ALL. In this we follow the testimony of John the apostle who in his first general epistle writes: “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” No sweeter message can ever come to us, who have learned to know the defilement of sin and its guilt. How we love to hear him say it, he who is the truth, I cleanse you with my blood from all your sins.
He incorporates us into the fellowship of his death and resurrection, so that we are freed from our sins and accounted righteous before God. The Savior speaks to us of the mystic union, which makes us one with him. He assures us that we have become one with him, so much so that when he died we died and when he arose we arose. We should also add when he ascended into heaven we ascended with him and sit with him at the right hand of God, the Father. There is an organic connection between us and the Christ. The Bible speaks about this mystery time and again. Let me call a few of these statements to your attention. In Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.” In Colossians 3:3: “For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” In Ephesians 2:6: “And raised us up with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
The baptism by immersion is in this respect symbolically stronger than baptism by sprinkling. The meaning of baptism is that we are buried with Christ and are again raised with him. The Word of God tells us this very plainly: “We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once; but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:4–10)
The Christ assures us that in him we have received justification. The judge of heaven and earth declares that for the sake of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we are not guilty. To those who have ears to hear and hearts to perceive this is heavenly music. Although it is true that I have to struggle all my life with my sinful nature and must complain that in me there is no good thing, I can say with conviction: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk after the flesh but after the spirit.”
This does not mean that we need not concern ourselves too much about the sins and the sinful inclinations which we find in our lives. This is the misuse often made of this wonderful truth. But the apostle who already came in contact with this distortion says very emphatically: “How shall we who died unto sin, live any longer therein?”
We are assured of the glory of our state in Christ Jesus our Lord. Baptism assures us not only of what shall be; but it gives the assurance that believing in the Son we have eternal life. Glorious knowledge and blessed assurance: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in truth, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. In the sanctuary I may listen to the blessed message, washed in the blood of the Savior from ALL my sins.