#17 Second, the Church Is Recognized by the Holy Sacrament of Baptism

Second, God’s people or the Christian holy people are recognized by the holy sacrament of baptism, wherever it is taught, believed, and administered correctly according to Christ’s ordinance. That too is a public sign and a precious, holy possession by which God’s people are sanctified. It is the holy bath of regeneration through the Holy Spirit [Titus 3:5], in which we bathe and with which we are washed of sin and death by the Holy Spirit, as in the innocent holy blood of the Lamb of God. Wherever you see this sign you may know that the church, or the holy Christian people, must surely be present, even if the pope does not baptize you or even if you know nothing of his holiness and power—just as the little children know nothing of it, although when they are grown, they are, sad to say, estranged from their baptism, as St. Peter laments in II Peter 2 [:18], “They entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error,” etc. Indeed, you should not even pay attention to who baptizes, for baptism does not belong to the baptizer, nor is it given to him, but it belongs to the baptized. It was ordained for him by God, and given to him by God, just as the word of God is not the preacher’s (except in so far as he too hears and believes it) but belongs to the disciple who hears and believes it; to him is it given.  (Luther’s Works, v.41, p.151)

Picture:  The right pane of the Good Shepherd window includes a picture of the Holy Bible (German: Heilige Schrift.)

Posted in 2020 Church.

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