On the Catechism . . .
For the first portion of the Pentecost season, our Catechism focus is on Holy Baptism, for it is in Baptism that the Holy Spirit comes to us, we are born again in Christ, made children of God, and receive all the gifts of God.
Holy Baptism: What benefits does Baptism give? It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.
Which is that word of God? 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
Furthermore, the benefit of baptism must also be learned. If baptism is water with the Word of God, what is its purpose, work, fruit, and benefit? It saves those who believe, as the words say. A child is baptized, not in order that it may become a prince; it is baptized in order that it may be saved, as the words say, that is, in order that it may be redeemed from sin, death, and the devil, that it may become a member of Christ, and that it may come into Christ's kingdom and Christ become its Lord. Accordingly, baptism is useful to the end that through it we may be saved. There you have the transcendent excellence of baptism. The first honor is that it is a divine water, and when you see a baptism remember that the heavens are opened. The fruit is that it saves, redeems you from sin, liberates you from the devil, and leads you to Christ.
(from "Ten Sermons on the Catechism, 1528: On Baptism" in
Luther's Works, Volume 51: Sermons I © 1959 Fortress Press, p. 185)