Who Not What

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Daily Reformation, Genesis 9:8-17

From the Reformer

I was right, then, in saying that the whole power of the mass consists in the words of Christ, in which He testifies that the remission of sins is bestowed on all those who believe that His body is given and His blood shed for them. For this reason nothing is more important for those who go to hear mass than diligently and in full faith to ponder these words. Unless they do this, all else that they do is in vain. But while the mass is the word of Christ, it is also true that God usually adds to nearly every one of His promises a certain sign as a mark or memorial of His promise, so that we may thereby the more faithfully hold to His promise and be the more forcibly admonished by it. Thus, to his promise to Noah that He would not again destroy the world by a flood, He added His rainbow in the clouds, to show that He would be mindful of His covenant. And after promising Abraham the inheritance in his seed, He gave him the sign of circumcision as the seal of his righteousness by faith. Thus, to Gideon He granted the sign of the dry and the wet fleece, to confirm His promise of victory over the Midianites. And to Ahaz He offered a sign through Isaiah concerning his victory over the kings of Syria and Samaria, to strengthen his faith in the promise. And many such signs of the promises of God do we find in the Scriptures.

—Martin Luther, Preface to The Babylonian Captivity of the Church

Pulling It Together

This was the fourth time the brother had asked to be baptized. To be sure, this was at the third church in as many towns. Still this was the second time he had requested at the third church and it gave the pastor pause. “Why?” he asked the man. “Why do you need baptized again?” The question brought hardly any reflection and he quickly explained his reasons. The first baptism was not in the right church; the second not the correct mode; the third not done in the right spirit. In this fourth try, he intended to get it right.

The pastor tried to tell him that the promise is not in the act; the promise is in the one One who promised. Christians are baptized into Christ—not into a denomination, a font, or a feeling. Many are slow to receive the promise because they have yet to receive the One who made it.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers



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