I once again had the great privilege of baptizing a little baby this morning. This is always one of my favorite parts of being a pastor; not that I have the power to do something to the baby, but that God gives his forgiveness, life, and salvation through it!
The baby at the baptism today had a little white robe that her older sister had also worn. So as I was paging through the newest book of Luther’s Works today, I found a quote on baptism that even alludes to it as a pure and white robe, since by it we were clothed with Christ. Check it out!
In Christ — indeed, in our Baptism, since we are baptized into Christ — we have the forgiveness of sins without ceasing. So even if you fall and sin out of weakness — as happens, alas, too much and too often, without ceasing — then run and crawl to your Baptism, in which all your sins are forgiven and washed away; draw comfort; lift yourself up again; and believe that in Baptism you were washed not only from one sin but from all your sins. For just as the baptized Jesus Christ does not die, but lives and remains in eternity, so the forgiveness of sins is also eternal, [the forgiveness] that He won for you and gave you as a gift. Therefore, Baptism is a glorious washing, one that washes away and purifies. Whatever is not washed away and remains left in us is forgiven. Accordingly, whatever Baptism does not purge away altogether is nevertheless completely purified through the forgiveness of sins that we receive in Baptism. The pope knows nothing of this but supposes that Baptism is a transitory thing. That is why he makes up many works through which the rest of the sins must be washed away and removed. No, that is not so! If I stumble and fall into sin, then I should repent and crawl to the cross, go there and fetch my pure and white robe with which I was clothed in Baptism, where all my sins, if they are not all completely washed away, are nonetheless forgiven, because the forgiveness is altogether pure. That is what I cling to!
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, American Edition, Vol. 58, CPH, 2010, p.367-368.