Baptism…which ‘prism’ are you using?

We believe that this is pleasing to our Lord

Depending on which prism you use, you will end up with radically different, and totally opposite understandings of baptism and what it actually is.

With the ‘law prism’, you will see baptism as an act that we do. An act of symbolism, a re-creation of the death and resurrection of Jesus, a drama in which we are the main player. In ‘symbolic baptism’, or ‘believer’s baptism’ as it is often called, the faith of the believer is the critical issue. Faith in Christ must be present before the baptism can take place. This is the type of baptism that John the Baptist was doing, in which the people being baptised focused on their belief and their repentance of sins.

With the ‘prism of grace’, our understanding of baptism is one where God is the actor. God is doing the baptism, working repentance in us, actually giving us the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:28).  The grace of God comes first (as it does in everything else in the Christian faith), before our faith has a say in the matter.

“Our faith is the key”, many say, and they are right. But what they fail to understand is that God has to give us that faith (it is a gift of the Holy Spirit). Faith is not something that we do, or muster up on our own. Faith is not mere intellectual ascent, or believing in something, but rather trust in someone. Trusting in the living God, our Lord Jesus is not something that we will to do.   ” who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13) 

God has to get His faith to us somehow. Did you notice I said, “His faith“?  That’s right, the faith that we have belongs to Him.  God has decided to give us this faith in specific ways…in Word and sacrament. Preaching, teaching, Bible reading, and Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, and sharing Christ with one another. This is how the saving faith of Christ comes to us.

‘Extra Nos’…from outside of ourselves. God acts for us. He baptises us. When we place ourselves and our faith back in the center we start off on the wrong foot.  The whole enterprise now revolves around us, and what we do, what we say, what we think, what we feel.  Now the religious project gets rolling, and the phoniness and the pride, and lack of assurance, and all that goes with it.

God does not honor what we do. Abraham decided not to wait on God’s promise but rather to take matters into his own hands and got his slave woman pregnant. God sent that child out into the desert.  God does not honor our decisions when it comes to faith in Himself, but rather His own decisions and His own action for our sakes. 

Luther said (to the Anabaptists), “For a thousand years God has honored the baptisms of infants and created good and faithful Christians in His Church, and now you come along and say that baptism doesn’t work that way?” (paraphrased)

Some say that the baptism refered to in Romans 6 does not mean water baptism, but rather a baptism of the Spirit. They are failing to recognize that almost every single mention of baptism in the new testament is about water baptism. The baptism mentioned in Romans 6 is no different, it is talking about baptism…water baptism. That is what baptism means…being cleansed or purified by water.

  Another point that the modern day Anabaptists insist upon is that baptism must be through immersion only, otherwise it is not a valid baptism. The symbolism of total immersion is great symbolism and the Bible speaks of baptisms in that manner. If water were the only element, or even the key element in baptism, then I could agree that total immersion be a requirement for a valid baptism. But since water is just one component of baptism and not the most important one, but rather God’s Word, tied to that water, then I feel that any method of water baptism with the Word of promise in the name of the Triune God will suffice for God. After all, God is the One doing the baptising and He is more than capable of making Christians with 6 ounces of water, or 6, 000 gallons of water. (refer back to the Luther quote)  It does follow logically, however, that those that look through a ‘prism of law’, would insist on a legalistic interpretation to the question of how much water.

So, which camp do you fall in? The camp of those that believe their belief is the main thing in baptism? Or the camp that believes that God’s promises in baptism are enough, and that He is the One that is doing the actual baptising?

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28 Responses

  1. Hi Steve, I think you’ll enjoy this post from Confessing Evangelical – http://www.confessingevangelical.com/?p=1371. It sounds like you’ve read each other’s posts. We’re all on the same page. Grace and peace.

  2. Ivy,

    Thanks so much. I did read and enjoy his post on baptism.

    I think it may have been a coincidence that another friend had me listen to a sermon by John Piper concerning baptism. My post was a response to Piper’s ‘law prism’ view of baptism.

    Of course Piper is not alone. Many do not believe God is active in Baptism.

    Take care, and God bless, Ivy!

    – Steve

  3. I think that many believers in mainstream protestant and evangelical groupings view baptism and the supper as ‘things we have to do’ (things we’ve been commanded to do) rather than a means by which the life and promises of God is given to us.
    In reality, of course, it all has to come from Him – our life, our faith, the fulfillment of the great and precious promises – as John so rightly put it, He must increase, we must decrease, for whoever believes through the Son has eternal life. The sacraments allow us to ‘eat and drink’ of the very life that comes from Him. There is simply no health, no peace but from this safe and sure place – here is the living, eternal word – the life of God, given to the world.

  4. so much to unravel here…Dude 😉
    first off, if Luther is right about baptism in previous history then he ought be silent about justification…no?

    second.
    does not Divine promise create faith? as in the case of Abraham (unfolded by Paul in Rom 4)
    without circumcision, without law, without anything but by the promise of God alone…through faith? (you know me, i think, that faith means certainty, persuasion, confidence…see the use of these terms in Romans 4 and throughout Hebrews. You know I oppose defining faith as “decision”, please remember that. the nature of faith is passive on our part and by its very essence it is assurring.
    when God communicates an unconditional, free-grace promise…suddenly one “sees” – “hears”. Sees what? hears what? God communicates in the finished work of Christ that wrath is placed on Him, our sin is taken away…period. not “if you…” , not “when you…”. But the moment God proclaims, without any strings that He loves you.

    last, if you have plenty of water around…then why not take the plunge…otherwise, personally, i have no problem with sprinkling say if one is in the desert…look forward to the hang on the phone.
    grace and peace of Jesus
    danny

  5. for any so inclined, here is the Piper sermon you refer to: Read, listen or watch

    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2008/3037_What_Is_Baptism_and_How_Important_Is_It/

  6. Howard,

    I agree with you, Howard. So much of the Church is in ‘doing mode’. Roman Catholicism and Protestant Evangelicals have a very similar theology, a little bit of God and a little bit of me. Only it almost always turns out to be a lot more of ‘me’.

    To trust that God is actually doing something in His commanded ordinance is to have God increase.

  7. Danny,

    Just back from riding (not really, just shooting) some gnarley swells, Dude. Whoaaaa!

    I think Luther was trying to keep the baptised in Christ, and off of the religious project.

    Although the Roman Catholic understanding of baptism is similar to the Lutheran understanding, the Catholics believe that after you have had the Holy Spirit given to you at baptism, then you start to sin again and hence the need for all the religious hoops. Luther of course, saw justification as complete in Christ. But since there is spiritual warfare, and since we do stray, we do need to hear the law and gospel, and partake of Jesus in Holy Communion on a regular basis. These are also commandments of God. We do it and He shows up. The same principle as baptism…God acts, for us.

    The Divine Promise does create faith, and God gives that promise in baptism. He also gives it in the hearing of His Word. God creates faith (trust in Himself) in those whom He chooses. He just so happens to choose to impart His faith in baptism, not just to certain age groups, but to ‘ponta ethnea’ (all peoples).

    We baptise all peoples and all ages. We especially like to baptise babies. It is a statement to all that we put God’s grace ahead of our faith. The baby now has the Holy Spirit given to him in that baptism. The parents now have the assurance that baptism provides for those that trust in God’s promise in that baptism. We could dunk a baby completely under the water, but why would we when it’s not the water that is the main thing in baptism, but God’s Word with the water. I believe that it actually shows more trust on our part, that we do not have to adhere to a particular amount of water.

    A non-sacramental view of the baptism and communion relegates them to something that ‘we do’. We muster up our emotions, we earnestly remember, we play out this drama in out hearts, we, we, we, we, we. And if God is not actually present then that understanding would make perfect sense. But God is actually present. He commanded it, therefore He will be in it, acting for us.

    A non-sacramental understanding of the Christian faith just naturally puts the onus on us.

    When Jesus said that His yoke is easy, I think He meant that we could lean on Him and trust Him in all that He does for us without our having to be religious.

    It cracks me up that people in non-denominational churches tell me that Lutheranism is too religious. There is religion going on with people in all churches, but I have never seen so many people on the religious treadmill as I have at the ‘what’s happenin’ today’, ‘cool’, ‘how to’, ‘never seem to arrive’, non-denominational church on the corner. There is religion going on there in spades. Candles, and vestments, and altars, and infant baptisms don’t necessarily mean ‘religion’. It’s what the understanding of those things is. We have all those things where I worship and we can’t stand religion (most of us).

    I think I might have gotten too much sun today…rambling, rambling, feeling faint,…zzzzzzzzzzz.

  8. Steve, the principle difference between the Roman Catholic and Lutheran understanding of baptism is that in Roman Catholicism, baptism only addresses original sin, sin past, (according to the Baltimore Catechism) whereas in the Lutheran view, sin past, present, and future are washed away. Timothy Wengert, professor on the Lutheran confessions at the Philadelphia seminary, brings this out in his teachings on the Augsburg Confession. He was one of the translators of the latest edition of the Book of Concord. Blessings.

  9. good morning all.
    let me say it is refreshing to discuss differences with a sense of humility, thoughtfulness and respect. if only in our learning, we would strive to really try to understand what others are getting at. we can still disagree, and do so in a godly manner.
    this is present in my talks/emails with you, steve, and in this forum. well done! this is how God teaches us…

    having said that, would you address the subject of baptism in relation to an adult who is converted out of a pagan background? things like the order of events, mode of baptism, etc…
    thanks gang.
    danny

  10. Danny,

    I read that writing Piper did on baptism. He proved St Steve’s point about treating baptism as obedience to a law.(ordinance) If this is what baptism, and it is not, it would indeed not be salutary. In fact if it is only the work of man it should not be done at all for our works are filthy garments in God’s sight.

    St Steve, great thoughtful post. It is a slam dunk!

    I was raised baptist. While training to be a pastor I discovered I could not in good conscience teach that view to people. Thank the Lord for pointing out to me the proper view of baptism and the wonderful and mighty work of God for us! He graciously kept me from perpetuating the false view of believers only baptism. That of course can never happen for we can never know for sure the person is truthful or a hypocrite.

    I do think baptists have a Christian church but the false view of the Sacraments steal much valuable assurance from members. They must look elsewhere for assurance they are a child of God. Perhaps good deeds or a decision they made.

    God’s peace. †

  11. careful not to lump all “baptists” together! Especially those of us who define faith as both “passive and assurring”…in the likeness of Luther and Calvin.
    For if I look at many a Lutheran church, it is easy to suggest that Lutherans aren’t even converted. Know what I mean?

    …collecting my prayers and thoughts…and get back to ya

    much grace abd peace of Jesus

  12. Hello Danny, David,

    Thanks for the kudos as far as our discussions are carried on here.

    Folks like you, and the others that stop by here now and then,make that possible. Now and then we get the occasional kook, (but I try not to dominate the discussion 😀 )

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think an adult that has ben converted from paganism would be taught about baptism and the faith ahead of his baptism. But not as a condition of baptism, but rather that he might know what God is doing in the baptism.

    I have witnessed a few adult baptisms in our congregation and they are baptised in the same way as the infants. We have just one baptismal font ( a giant clamshell, by the way) so we really couldn’t do it differently (full dunk) even if we wanted to. I guess we could drive down to the beach, but I’m not sure as that would send the wrong message to the rest of the congregation that some modes of baptism are better than others, and that would place the emphasis back onto ‘what we do’, once again.

    I do think that David realizes that there are many different types of Baptists, and as he himself mentioned, they are all Christians. The point I believe he was making is that their understanding of baptism is a non-sacramental understanding (at least all Baptists that I know of) and in that mistaken view, they naturally gravitate towards another mode of assurance. Hence, the propensity towards “holiness churches”, or churches that emphasize something that we do, say, feel, or think.

    I agree wholeheartedly with David, and I do think the proof is in the pudding.

    Not that I’m saying the Lutheran view of baptism is itself not without problems. There are problems with a sacramental view of baptism, but they come from a wrong understanding, or the neglect of proper teaching of it. I’m specifically thinking of those Lutherans who view their baptism as a ticket into Heaven.

    Believing that the act itself is your ‘way in’, instead of trusting God’s promise in that act, is the difference (I believe).

    Thanks Danny, David!

  13. Ivy,

    Thanks for the clarification on the Roman view of baptism. It is helpful in underatsnding just how they have a whole nuther set of hoops to jump through in their attempt to clean up their acts.

    – Steve

  14. Danny,

    I am familiar with that brand of baptist. I was born into a family that was calvinistic. The difficulty with the non sacramental view of baptism is it leaves one with nothing to have faith in but his or her faith. That is a peer inward to which St Steve addressed.

    As far as Lutherans not being converted yes sadly some are not. They recieved the sacrament of baptism and the Lord’s body and blood but do not trust in the promises. Quite tragic and unavoidable as the account of the tares and wheat of which Jesus spoke. That is in all denoms no matter how careful about whom they let in.

    Yes an adult convert would be taught about baptism. If the minister does it right he or she usually requests baptism before adult instruction class is over.

    God’s peace. †

  15. can’t speak for anyone else coming from a baptist viewpoint, so here goes.

    Abram believed God…days Gen 15
    foundation? not abe believing.
    foundation is God promising! God actually, really and truly communicates to the person grace and not justice. this is why Paul exegets Abraham in Rom 4 as the example of justification by grace, because the PROMISE came to Abe by faith and not by “doing anything”. Abe does not lift a single, solitary iota of a finger. Nor can he “do” anything. In other words, he is apprehended, gripped, convinced of God’s promise of grace. The promise creates certainty.
    Likewise, for the New Covenant person, we are promised Christ, all His benefits, in being justified, forgiven, re-connected back to God! God does not promise us offspring more than the stars…at least not me!
    For me, this is what happened to me as I sat in my seat at a Boston University Christian event. As the speaker was speaking, God was REALLY speaking. One word crushed me (Law) – crushed me to tears at the degree of my burden! Really!
    The other word lifted me (Gospel) as I sat there I was persuaded in the depth of my soul that Christ loved me, even though sinful as I am, and gave Himself for me. In a moment of time, pronounced justified!

    perhaps my question is:
    is the infant justified before God, by grace through faith, before, during, or after the actual sprinkling of water?

  16. Danny,

    Maybe someone else involved in our discussion has a better answer to your question, but this is what I think:

    The infant is justified by God’s Word the same way you were at Boston U., in the receiving of it.

    The water is a component to baptism, but it is the Word (along with that water) that creates faith.

    When those words were spoken into the life of that infant, the Holy Spirit is given.

    That the infant does not have a clue as to what’s going on is the best part! It shows us that it is God’s grace that comes first. Grace before faith. Always!

    There were many in attendence with you at Boston U., that heard the same Word you did, and did not come to faith.

    That you did,is not
    a testament to your analytical skills or the persuaciveness of the preacher. It is a testament to the Word of the Lord to create faith when and where He wills.

    The Lord has chosen to make His Word effective in baptism, apart from anything that we say, do, think, or feel.

    So, if it is the Word, then why do we even need the water? Because Jesus commanded that we do it. For whatever reason, Jesus (God) has decided to make believers in baptism, also.

  17. Danny,

    I am glad you mention promises of God. For God, thru St Peter Acts 2:38-39, promises two items in baptism:

    1. The forgiveness of sin.

    2. The gift of the Holy Spirit.

    And the promise is to you and your children (no age mentioned) and to those who are far off as many as the Lord our God will call.

    God’s peace. †
    If we are to trust any of God’s promises we need trust them all.

  18. no grace of God in Christ is given apart from faith. its not as if God’s grace comes one day and sometime later in that day faith comes too.
    no, the grace of God comes through faith.

    now in order to proceed, i think we need to nail down “pistis” – Greek for faith in the matter of justification.

    how would you define faith (pistis)?

    I consider this to be the heart of Luther. Do check out his intro to Galations, perhaps the finest thing I have read outside the Bible, at least for me.
    I have posted Luther’s Galatian intro here:

    http://p66.blogspot.com/2005/11/active-vs-passive-which-is-it.html

  19. Danny,

    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. KJV

    In there we see what faith is and what faith accomplishes. In the same way we receive and trust in the promises associated with the finished work of Jesus. Hence Justification by faith.

    It is true that grace is given apart from faith. For God has graciously reconciled himself to the world. Even to those who will not believe in Jesus.

    How is that for a former Calvinist? LOL

    God’s peace. †

  20. David
    yes to your citing of Hebrew 11
    interesting to me to note the Greek usage of the word “substance” and its previous use in Hebrews 1.

    see the connection about “faith”??

    not so sure about the smell of universalism of your last comment, but thats a discussion for another post…
    God’s peace, right back at ‘cha
    danny

  21. Danny, David,

    Great comments from the both of you.
    David, I loved the St. Peter quote about which gifts God gives in baptism and to whom He gives them (the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, and to you and your children).
    Danny, I liked what you said about no grace of God is given apart from faith.

    Here’s what Steve Martin (the Jerk) thinks:

    Grace is the electricity, and faith is delivery system, or conduit for that electricity. God does not promise us the ‘juice’ and then leave it up to us to figure out how to get the ‘juice’ (grace) from Him to us. He provides the conduit (faith) as well. He does this for us in more than just one way, and since the lights need to be kept on (not static, but relational), He uses all His means of grace to do that over the life of the relationship. Baptism, preaching and teaching, the Lord’s supper, and the consolation of the brethren. (Word and Sacrament)

    The point I was trying to make in the post was that depending on your theological perspective, either from a law perspective, of from a grace perspective, you will view baptism (and the Christian faith as a whole) differently.

    That is why so many Baptists (and I include non-denominational) sermons are informational in nature, and why so many Lutheran (the good ones anyway) sermons are proclamational in nature.

    I have given copies of sermons that were (in my mind) great law/gospel sermons that proclaimed Christ and handed Him over completely and fully, to non-denominational Christians…and they didn’t know what to do with them. They had no good words to say about them. I believe it is because they view the Christian faith through the ‘law prism’. It is all about what ‘they do’. Christ is not in the center. That is why baptism is not about what Christ is doing, but about the work that we do, in having faith.

    This is the reason that I believe that the yoke over many Baptist’s backs is not an easy one, but one of continual striving (on their part). They just never quite seem to arrive. The law, which is like the wind in their faces will not let them rest. Lutheran theology rests upon Christ and His work for us and we have assurance therein.

    The Word in Law and Gospel is not something that we do, but rather it is done ‘to us’ (the same with baptism).

    As one who has experienced both, I’ll take the latter over ‘the ladder’, any day.

    Thanks!

    – Steve

  22. steve & others,
    i could not agree with you more about the overwhelming vast majority of “baptists” that are under the yoke of law. sad.
    from what i haer from those i speak with is that I am a vast minority, for 99+% of those i speak with have no clue when i speak of salvation as 100% passive on man’s part. if only they would see Jesus is the Savior who…does the saving (active One) …and we are the savee’s, the ones being saved (the passive ones).
    not rocket science, but clear contrary to the natural man.
    where does a Baptistic Lutheran like me turn? who would have me…I know Jesus does!

    after reading Romans again this morning, and Acts 15, the silence on baptism that is a means of faith/grace is deafining. in such a controversial juncture in Acts 15, wouldn’t this be THE place baptism is added? Just doesn’t seem to fit. Also it is not until Romans 6 that the term is introduced, after really unfolding the nitty-gritty of justification by grace through faith alone. i know you have answers for that, but just consider that in prayer and some careful reading of scripture. again, Abe is give only a Diivine Promise. Period. no circumcision, no law, nothing for him, or anyone else…direct from God and now he is convinced, persuaded, assurred…because God communicated to Him by faith alone.
    again, is the adult in your camp actually justified before he is baptised?
    from my perspective, it seems to me – please hold off with any shotguns – but it seems to me you are adding another “means” to the only “means”, wich is faith alone. For me, faith is the sufficient means because God is opening the eyes of the heart, and granting hearing with faith (Galatians 3).

    been swamped with life and Soulfest prep. will be unfolding Gen 1-3 to a mostly man-centered, right wing, evangelical crowd Please pray for me/us.
    details are here:
    http://www.thesoulfest.com/2008/soulfest/university.php
    much love of Jesus and may the Lord unite us in Him and learn together.
    danny

  23. DannyO.,

    Shotguns are packed away, but are easily accessed (just kidding).

    Baptism is spoken of in the New Testament quite a bit. We already referenced many of the verses, and yet others remain. ( Acts 22:16 Gal 3:27 Eph 5:25-27 1st Peter 3:21 Ezek 36:25-27 Mark 16:16 Acts 2:38 Eph 5:26 Titus 3:5)

    I wouldn’t take it to mean anything less of Baptism that he doesn’t talk about it (specifically) in Romans 15.
    Romans 6 is quite the mini-treatise on the subject, especially when understood that it is water baptism to which he refers.

    I still agree with you that grace through faith (alone) is everything. But I still believe, because scripture tells me so, that God has decided to plant ‘the mustard seed of faith’ in some distinctive ways (encompassed in Word and Sacrament).

    We have no way of knowing if the adult actually has the faith he professes because “all men are liars” and only God knows the heart. So Jesus commands that we baptise (with water), for He would never tell us to go and implant the Holy Spirit in people (for that is what He will do in the water baptism along with the invoking of His promises in the name of the Triune God).

    We will keep you in prayer as you deliver God’s message in Gen.1-3. Not to worry, Danny, Christ will do the hard part for you. Just toss that seed!

    You can always tell them about the ‘soulfest ‘ that awaits them at the baptismal font and communion rail. That would go over like a lead baloon! Then again…maybe not. Maybe some of those man-centerd, R winger, ladder climbers are just itching to get down off of that thing. (Just one parting S.Gun blast…for ol’ times sake!) 😀

  24. The words of our Lord ought to be heeded when speaking about baptism..”whoever believes and is baptised shall be saved, whoever does not believe will be condemend”…. Sounds like the Lord is serious when it comes to salvation and baptism.
    Let’s remember, we are not saved by faith. We are saved by grace through faith. God creates this faith through His Word alone. Thus, we can declare ‘Word alone”. This Word comes to us in scripture, preaching,consolation of the Church, the Holy supper and baptism. It’s important to bear in mind that ‘we do not posses some generic ‘faith’ ticket that we keep to ourselves and then decide to lay it on the ‘Jesus’ counter.. That’s not what happens when God enlightens a sinner. The power of the Word actually breathes life into a corpse (albeit still walking).
    The power of God acting for us in baptism is everything. It’s an act in real time, not just some imagined work, that we can actually TRUST in! Not in some midevial ‘christian magic’ way, but rather a promise made to us individually. This promise MUST trump our ability to grasp it. Grace BEFORE faith , not the other way around. That’s my 2 bits.
    Thanks,
    Brent

  25. “In the third place, since we have learned the great benefit and power of Baptism, let us see further who is the person that receives what Baptism gives and profits. 33] This is again most beautifully and clearly expressed in the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. 34] Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. Therefore this single word (He that believeth) effects this much that it excludes and repels all works which we can do, in the opinion that we obtain and merit salvation by them. For it is determined that whatever is not faith avails nothing nor receives anything.”

    “God’s works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. 36] For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God’s command and ordinance, and besides in God’s name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.”

    -Martin Luther, Large Chatacism, “Holy Baptism”

  26. Good stuff, Nemo!

    Thanks for sharing those great words about a great Promise, given to us in baptism by our Lord Jesus.

    Jesus makes the heart believe it…in baptism!

    Luther says in his explanation of the 3rd article of the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe that I cannot by my own power or understanding, believe in my Lord Jesus , or come to Him, but He has called me through the gospel…”

    It’s all from outside of ourselves!

    Thanks Nemo!

    – Steve

  27. David,

    If I may, I would like to correct your statement “For God has graciously reconciled himself to the world.”

    Actually scripture tells us God has reconciled us to Himself. We’re the only ones who need reconciliation. God certainly doesn’t!

    Steve,

    Luther seems to make faith the prerequisite for receiving the grace through baptism.

  28. ProdigalKnot,

    That was a good correction! God does reconcile to Himself!

    Maybe you are right about Luther. But I am certain that Luther says that the faith we need IS given in baptism.

    Back to Acts 2:38 “…receive the Holy Spirit…”

    I’ll have to read some more of Luther (I don’t do it enough) and see if I can find some quotes. I may be wrong (again).

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