New Birth in Baptism

 

I’m having a hand in a new birth on Sunday.  An infant will be brought to the font and after some liturgical back and forthing, we’ll get down to the business at hand.  I’ll dip my hand into the water of the font and pour water over the head of the baby three times while saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.”  The congregation will add their assent, “Amen.” Then, just in case the infant, and anyone else, doesn’t realize what has just happened, I’ll say, “Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given you the new birth of water and of the Spirit and has forgiven you all your sins, strengthen you with His grace to life everlasting.”

I’ll complete the instruction with the same words that Jesus spoke to his disciples three times in the locked up room after Easter, “Peace be with you.”

It’s a great privilege to be God’s spokesman, for that is what the pastor is.  It’s also a privilege to have a hand in the new birth of a person.  Because in reality the recipient of the cascading water is already in their first birth, one of the “works of his hands,” that is God’s hands forming the person in its mother’s womb.

Might we also add on the occasion of a baptism that there is rejoicing heaven over one more sinner repenting and being turned to Christ?  May the one baptized in turn commend the Lord’s works to another generation.

 

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