What a weekend! All the grandsons, the “Cinco de Meyer” as Diane calls them, were home. Now ranging from 12- to 5-years-old, I had the privilege of baptizing every one of them, but watching them this weekend I began to wonder if Baptism really worked. “Come here,” said one father to his son. “No,” came the answer, and he didn’t come. “Don’t throw that ball in the house,” I said to another, and a couple minutes later he threw it. “Don’t touch that” said a mom, but sure enough, he touched it. And from Oma, “Who left the refrigerator door open?” Probably we all did. You’ve got to wonder if Baptism works.
Yesterday we went to church. The 5-year-olds didn’t seem all that interested but I noticed the older boys did pay some attention. In fact, the oldest, Christian, served as acolyte. The service was a good teaching service about James chapter 2, which set me to thinking. Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). Notice that Baptism is connected to teaching. A friend put it this way: In Baptism God plants the seed of faith, and God grows that seed as we learn His Word. As Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Baptism is not a one and done. It implies life-long growth in God’s Word and faith. Hebrews 4:2 teaches the Good News needs to be united with faith, but some people don’t. Martin Luther said pointedly, “It is a divine Baptism and work. The fact that you do not believe is your own fault… Baptism is real and true in itself, and God, who gives it, is also true” (“Martin Luther on Holy Baptism,” 69). Who am I to question if Baptism works? I didn’t baptize the children; God did. “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21). And now, as Jesus commands, Baptism is followed by learning everything He has commanded. Shouldn’t that be true for adults too?