The Importance of Christ’s Sacrifice 3 – Holy Baptism

Part 3 of 5

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ—that is to say, the death of Jesus—is the essential foundation of Christian faith, life, and proclamation. This series explores various aspects that highlight the importance of Christ’s sacrifice for believers.

Free from Sin

The relationship between the crucifixion of Jesus and baptism is addressed in Romans 6: 3–7. Apostle Paul states that the baptized is integrated into the death of Jesus. The Christian is directly united with the death of Jesus through the sacrament of Holy Baptism with water. Here Paul writes, “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? … knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (verses 3, 6, and 7).

Life in Christ Begins

The Catechism likewise elaborates on the relationship between Holy Baptism with water and the sacrificial death of Jesus in the context of Romans 6: 3–8: “The baptized shares in the death of Jesus Christ and in His new life. Seen in a spiritual sense, he partakes in the experience of Jesus Christ. Just as Christ died on the cross for the sins of mankind, so the baptized is to be ‘dead indeed to sin’ by renouncing it. Baptism incorporates the believer into Christ’s activity of redemption such that Christ’s death on Golgotha also becomes the ‘death’ of the baptized: this signifies the end of life in the condition of remoteness from God and the beginning of life in Christ.

Turning to the Lord

Baptism imparts powers to wage the battle against sin (Romans 6: 3–8; Colossians 2: 12–13). Baptism is ‘putting on Christ’. With it, the first step on the path to renewal of the inner man has been taken: ‘For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ’ (Galatians 3: 27). This image constitutes the basis for abandoning one’s old way of life and putting on the virtues of Christ. It describes that which comes to expression in the term ‘repentance’, namely the act of turning away from one’s old nature and turning to the Lord. This means that one must earnestly endeavour to lead one’s life in accordance with God’s will. The baptized person vows to conduct and organize his life under the regency of Christ” (Catechism 8.1.6).

Ambassadors of Christ

The Apostles—and this is one of their most important tasks—preach the crucified Christ, in other words, the “message of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1: 18). They spread awareness about the relevance of the cross for salvation and call out to all human beings: “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Corinthians 5: 20).

Faith Read part 2 of this series

The next part of our series explores the aspect of Holy Communion in Christ’s sacrifice – Don’t miss it!

Text source: Divine Service Guide 2017 (India), pages 280-283