Lent Devotion for March 8

Reading: 1 Peter 3:18–22

I used to have a washcloth that had a quote ascribed to Martin Luther embroidered on it: “When you wash your face, remember your baptism.” It is unlikely that he said this. By his own admission, Luther’s own hygiene was not the best until he married Katharina. But this apocryphal Luther quote points us to remember what Peter tells us in today’s reading. Baptism is not a mere washing, like when you wash your face to get rid of grime or oils. It is a washing of our souls, which saves us by drowning our old sinful nature just as God drowned the world’s wickedness in Noah’s flood, and which gives us a new, sinless nature.

We have received the benefit of Christ’s resurrection through water paired with His trustworthy Word. But, because we still are sinner-saints in this life, we need to remember our Baptism daily and trust the work of Christ in it, lest our sins and conscience terrify us. When we remember our Baptism, we can say with Luther (echoing Peter): “I am baptized…it is promised me that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body” (LC IV 44, Triglotta).

Our Father in Heaven, we thank You for the gift of Baptism which You have given us through the death and resurrection of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to daily die to sin and drown the Old Adam, that we might live and conduct ourselves as Your baptized children, secure in our faith that You have made us Your own; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Baptized into Your name most holy,
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
I claim a place, though weak and lowly,
Among Your saints, Your chosen host.
Buried with Christ and dead to sin,
Your Spirit now shall live within. (LSB 590:1)

Nils Niemeier (Sem IV, CSL)