Baptism is one of God’s gifts to the people of this world. Baptism is also essential to making disciples of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 28:19) In Martin Luther’s Explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, he reminds us of the benefits of Baptism and how Baptism can accomplish these great things.
What benefits does Baptism give? Baptism works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promise of God declare. Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)
How can water do such great things? Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with the faith which trusts this word of God in the water. For without God’s Word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul, says in Titus, chapter three: “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” (Titus 3:5-8)
From: Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, p. 21-22.