Remember Your Baptism

 

No. 1323, The Gift of Baptism

Remember, remember, the Gift of your Baptism,

clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

            There is no reason

            in any season

to doubt our Lord’s sacrifice.

 

Excursus: I wrote this limerick on November 5, 2017. This is my own little twist on John Milton’s poem, Remember, remember the Fifth of November, which he wrote after Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up London’s House of Parliament. This later inspired Alan Moore to write his novel, V for Vendetta, which later inspired James McTeigue’s film with the same title. November 5th is also known as Guy Fawkes’ Day.

 

Getting into the theology of the poem, I’m borrowing the imagery of Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ.” More specifically, this poem is describing the doctrine of justification by faith, the material principle of our Lutheran confession (the central doctrine of all theology). That is, all theology—all doctrines—must be viewed through the lens of the cross. Justification by faith states that on the cross, Jesus’ righteousness becomes ours and our sins become Christ’s. This righteousness is delivered to us by faith (Romans 5:1-2, 6-9). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit guarantees this promise to us by virtue of our Baptism where we died with the death of Christ and will experience a resurrection like His (Romans 6:1-11).

 

This is why in preaching and teaching you always hear Pastor Mat and I exhorting you all to remember your Baptism because of the promise God has given you in Christ through the seal of the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 1:11-14). We encourage you to remember not the act of your Baptism (especially because many of you were baptised as infants), but to remember the promise God delivered to you in your Baptism, particularly the promise of eternal life in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (“our Lord’s sacrifice”). And this is what the Holy Spirit, in Baptism, has granted you to believe by faith, hence the words of the Nicene Creed we confess.

 

So, remember your Baptism every day, where you were made God’s own dear child and where He has promised you the inheritance of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Because of this promise given to us in Baptism, we have no reason to doubt the efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice. Just as God spoke and created the whole universe, so by the power of His Word God declares you as His child and an heir with Christ (Romans 8:17), and so it is.

 

Vicar Ricky

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