We believe that the Bible teaches that a person is saved by God's grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The Bible tells us that this saving faith "comes by hearing" (Romans 10:17). Jesus himself commands Baptism and tells us that Baptism is water used together with God's Word (Matthew 28:19-20).
Because we believe this, we believe that Baptism is a miraculous means of grace. Baptism is a way that God has promised to deliver His saving Word into this world. The Word of God creates and/or strengthens the gift of faith in a person's heart. Baptism delivers the Word of God into a person's life through the water and the Word. We can see this delivery of hope and life into a person in Baptism in the Bible (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
We believe when an infant is baptized God creates faith in the heart of that infant. It is this Spirit given faith that receives the benefits of Baptism. This infant's faith cannot yet, of course, be verbally expressed or articulated, yet it is real and present all the same. When an infant is baptized, we are wonderfully reminded that faith is not an act of reason or developed by our own good works. Faith is a gift from God delivered in the good news of Jesus Christ.
The faith of an infant, child, teen, or adult need to be fed and nurtured by God's Word (Matthew 28:18-20), or it will whither and die.
Am I condemned if I have not been baptized yet?
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). The Lutheran church does not believe that Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. True believers in Christ are saved. Mark 16:16 implies that it is not the absence of Baptism that condemns a person but the absence of faith. There are other ways to come to faith besides Baptism (reading or hearing the Word of God). Still, Baptism should not be discouraged or willfully neglected. It is not just a mere ritual or symbol of some inner working in the heart. Baptism is a powerful means of grace by which God grants faith and the forgiveness of sins.
WHAT DOES BAPTISM HAVE TO DO WITH OUR DAILY LIFE?
Everything! Our entire life is a life lived trusting in the promises of God, given to us in and through Holy Baptism.
We are constantly returning to Baptism. In moments of temptation and suffering in our lives, when all seems to be crashing down on us, and in particular in those moments when our sin and guilt of those sins haunt us, we are able, as Luther says, to “Pull out our Baptism and wave it under the devil’s nose and say, ‘I am baptized. …I have God’s bath. It is Christ’s own blood.’ It is a bath blessed and mixed with the blood of Christ.”
When in the midst of turmoil we can turn to the “here and now” reality of God’s work in our lives. We return to our Baptism. For it was there and then that God buried us with Christ and raised us with Him to a new life.
In his Large Catechism, Luther says, “Every Christian has enough to study and to practice all his life. He always has enough to do to believe firmly what Baptism promises and brings—victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sins, God’s grace, the entire Christ, and the Holy Spirit with his gifts.” And: “If you live in repentance, therefore, you are walking in Baptism, which not only announces this new life, but also produces, begins and promotes it.
In Baptism we are given the grace, Spirit and power to suppress the old man, so that the new man may come forth and grow strong. Therefore, Baptism remains forever. …Repentance, therefore, is nothing else than a return and approach to Baptism.”
Interested in Scheduling a Baptism
If you are interested in having your child or yourself baptized at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church please call the church office (248) 646-6100 or you can complete our Baptism Information Form.