Posted on August 16th, 2012
We’ve had a steady stream of baptisms at Immanuel lately, causing me to look again at an excellent book in my library, Baptism in the Theology of Martin Luther by Jonathan Trigg. The following excerpt (pp93f) is important for our own lives as Christians:
A life-long, daily, putting away or killing of the old man, and all the hatefulnes, wrath and unbelief associated with him, in order that all that belongs to the new may come—this is the [right use of Baptism]. Conversely, to leave the old man unchecked is to fail to use baptism rightly, and represents a resisting of baptism; and those who are thus outside Christ can only grow worse as the old nature rages unchecked by the power of baptism. It is only when we become Christians that the process of submerging the old man begins…. The power, meaning, and the use of baptism all converge in the significatio of this daily dying and resurrection. But without faith the bare unfruitful sign remains alone. Where faith is present, the significatio of baptism stamps its character upon the whole life of the Christian, who has to learn, experience, and practice what the slaying of the old Adam means.