A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series December 19, 2010 - Fourth Sunday in Advent: Rorate Coeli
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, John 1:19-28 for the Fourth Sunday in Advent: Rorate Coeli, December 19, 2010.
It is from Large Catechism, Part IV.64-76.
In Holy Baptism Christ has given His church a precious gift by which the Holy Spirit works to "'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said," and so, too, John the Baptizer. This is not a one-time event, but a life-long exercise of emptying and killing the sin in us to make room for the forgiveness by which Baptism is also always filling us with new life.
64 Lastly, we must also know what Baptism signifies and why God has ordained just this outward sign and ceremony for the Sacrament by which we are first received into the Christian Church. 65 The act or ceremony is this: we are sunk under the water, which passes over us, and afterward are drawn out again. These two parts, (a) to be sunk under the water and (b) drawn out again, signify Baptism's power and work. It is nothing other than putting to death the old Adam and affecting the new man's resurrection after that [Romans 6:4-6]. Both of these things must take place in us all our lives. So a truly Christian life is nothing other than a daily Baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be done without ceasing, that we always keep purging away whatever belongs to the old Adam. Then what belongs to the new man may come forth. 66 But what is the old man? It is what is born in human beings from Adam: anger, hate, envy, unchastity, stinginess, laziness, arrogance—yes, unbelief. The old man is infected with all vices and has by nature nothing good in him [Romans 7:18]. 67 Now, when we have come into Christ's kingdom [John 3:5], these things must daily decrease. . . .
68 This is Baptism's true use among Christians, as signified by baptizing with water. Therefore, where this is not done, the old man is left unbridled. He continually becomes stronger. That is not using Baptism, but working against Baptism. . . .
71 Therefore, the old man goes unrestrained in his nature if he is not stopped and suppressed by Baptism's power. On the other hand, where people have become Christians, the old man daily decreases until he finally perishes. That is truly being buried in Baptism and daily coming forth again. . . .
74 Here you see that Baptism, both in its power and meaning, includes also the third Sacrament, which has been called repentance. It is really nothing other than Baptism. 75 What else is repentance but a serious attack on the old man ‹, that his lusts be restrained,› and an entering into a new life? Therefore, if you live in repentance, you walk in Baptism. For Baptism not only illustrates such a new life, but also produces, begins, and exercises it. 76 For in Baptism are given grace, the Spirit, and power to suppress the old man, so that the new man may come forth and become strong [Romans 6:3-6].
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen