The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
A Sacrament in the Lutheran Church is a sacred act instituted by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for us Christians to do, through which the Word of God, connected with earthly elements, (water in baptism) offer and grant the forgiveness of all our sins and through which we receive from our God the assurance of our eternal salvation. (There are two "sacraments" that fit this definition: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.)
In Holy Baptism, we are born again by water and the Word of God. In this spiritual rebirth, our Heavenly Father adopts us into His family. He writes His Name on us--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This family is His Kingdom, in which Christ rules in our hearts through faith in Him.
When we are baptized we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is faith to trust in Christ our Savior from sin, eternal death, and hell. Everything that our Savior Jesus did for us in His perfect life, and innocent suffering and death on the cross, together with His physical resurrection from the dead--all the blessings of what He did for us--He gives to us in Baptism. We do nothing to deserve or merit this forgiveness, but He gives it to us freely, by His grace and mercy.
According to the command of our Savior Jesus Christ, given just before He ascended into heaven, we baptize all who desire this new life--babies, children, or adults. God's Word does not limit the age of baptism, so we do not either.
We baptize in the name of the Holy Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because Jesus said to do it that way. We baptize by pouring a little water over the forehead three times, because water is the earthly element the Lord said to use. We do not specify how much water is to be used (for example: immersion, submersion, pouring, sprinkling, etc.) to make a baptism valid because God's Word does not specify how much to use.
The point of baptism is not what we do, but what God does for us through it. Baptism is not an act of man's obedience, but a holy act of God through which He calls us to faith in His Son, our Savior, and extends to us the blessings of His Kingdom, all by His grace, through faith alone in Christ our Savior.
This teaching comes from the Bible alone and excludes human reason, logic, or man's wisdom. The Holy Scriptures alone have the power and authority to do what they promise--to save our souls for eternity in heaven with our Savior.
God uses His Word, the Holy Bible, to teach us all that he wants us to know. Therefore, when a child is baptized, parents must take seriously the responsibility to teach the Word of God to their children, because children are a gift from God, and members of His family, too. All Christians will want to join a church that teaches God's Word in its fullness and truth. The blessings of Baptism should be nurtured by regularly hearing the Word of God at church so they can grow, as we learn more about God's grace, love, and mercy through His Son, our Savior Jesus.