Joined to His Promises

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The ninth footprint of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts has to do with the Holy Spirit’s action in the waters of Baptism. But before I continue, let us briefly review the former footprints.

The first footprint is about God’s promise to send the Spirit. The second is waiting upon (asking in prayer for) the gift. The third is recognizing that the gift is poured out on the community before filling each individual. The fourth is the aid of the Spirit in overcoming communication barriers. The fifth is the boldness the Holy Spirit enables in our witness. The sixth is clarity in pointing to Christ’s crucifixion. The seventh is the constant and repeated witness to the Cross. And the eighth is in working the message deep into the hearts of sinners.

When a person becomes convicted of his sin and is ready to call out for help, the Holy Spirit directs him to call out to our Lord Jesus and to put his trust in him. At the same time there is a shape to the way a person comes to Christ and becomes joined to him and his promises. In a word, that shape is Baptism.

When on the Day of Pentecost the people cried out in response to Peter’s preaching, “What must we do?” Peter’s response is “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is, according to Romans 6, the way we are joined to Christ’s death and resurrection along with their benefits.

Paul makes clear the connection of the Holy Spirit’s work in the rite of Baptism. In Titus 3, verses 5 and 6, he puts it this way: “He saved us … according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

Since You Asked…

Why do we celebrate Holy Communion nearly every Sunday?

The celebration of the meal we call Holy Communion has consistently been the chief act of Christian worship since the age of the Apostles. The Lutheran Reformation did not break with this tradition of 1,500 years. In fact the Augsburg Confession (our principal statement of faith) declares Holy Communion to be the chief act of worship for Lutherans on Sundays and festivals (Art. 26). (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)

You might think of Holy Communion as spiritual bread and drink for our journey (pilgrimage), for our Lord’s Body and Blood is true nutrition indeed!