"God's own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ! He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price. Do I need earth's treasures many? I have one worth more than any, That brought me salvation free lasting to eternity!
"There is nothing worth comparing to this lifelong comfort sure! Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I'll sleep secure. Though my flesh awaits its raising, still my soul continues praising: I am baptized into Christ; I'm a child of paradise!"
To all outward appearances, Baptism is a simple ceremony. An infant, child, or adult is brought to the baptismal font. In the presence of family and other witnesses, prayers are offered and the Scriptures concerning the Lord's baptismal commands and promises are read. In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, water is poured on the head of the one to be baptized. Outward appearances do not tell the whole story. The words spoken so simply at the font are as powerful as the Word first heard at creation, when God called light out of the darkness. Through the water and the Word of Baptism, by the power of the Gospel, a new child of God is called out of darkness into light and receives "salvation free lasting to eternity."
In His Word, God reveals to us just what He is doing at the baptismal font. In Baptism, we are cleansed of sin by the "washing of water with the Word" (Ephesians 5:26b). We are born again "of water and the Spirit" (John 3:5b) and adopted into the family of God, who sends "the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" (Galatians 4:6b). Baptized, we have "put on Christ" as we are clothed in His righteousness (Galatians 3:27b). We are created anew (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). All of these wonders take place—and there is more.
At the baptismal font, we die. As the apostle Paul explains, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3) We were baptized into Jesus' death, buried with Him and raised with Him "to walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4b). In the wondrous mystery of Baptism, "You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). Death does not have the last word. When that open-eyed, staring grave turns its chilling gaze on us, we can stare back in defiance and proclaim, "I am baptized into Christ!"
One day we will fall asleep in Jesus and our souls will continue praising as our bodies of flesh are buried to await the resurrection on the Last Day. But then, as now, our baptismal identity remains. God has chosen us in Christ to be His beloved sons and daughters. That open-eyed, staring grave will never win. We are children of paradise!
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in life and death I am Your baptized child. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It," which is number 594 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What intrigues you most about Baptism?
2. How does God work in our lives through Baptism?
3. Baptized into Christ's death—what does that mean to you?
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