God For Us: A Baptismal Exhortation

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8.31)

Prayer: Almighty and everlasting God, who of your great mercy saved Noah and his family in the ark from perishing by water; and also safely led the children of Israel, your people, through the Red Sea, which was a type of holy Baptism; and by the Baptism of your well-beloved Son Jesus Christ, in the river Jordan, sanctified water to the mystical washing away of sin: We beseech you, for your infinite mercies, that you would mercifully look upon this Child; wash her and sanctify her with the Holy Spirit; that she, being delivered from your wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ’s Church; and being steadfast in faith, joyful through hope, and rooted in charity, may so pass the waves of this troublesome world, that finally she may come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with you age after age, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

“God for us” is the promise and comfort of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all those who love God.

“God for us” is the assurance that we have that no matter what happens in this life all of it must be working together for our good.

“God for us” means that God has fully invested himself in those who are in Christ Jesus to see the work started in us completed.

“God for us” is the assurance that before the foundations of the world, God set his love upon us, determining that we would be his. 

“God for us” means that even with the entrance of sin into the world, with all of the pain, heartache, and trouble that it brings, God is still at work on our behalf.

“God for us” is his giving himself to us fully in love, demonstrated preeminently at the cross, where he definitively suffered the penalty for our sins in Christ Jesus.

“God for us” is his victory over the grave, declaring that in Christ Jesus we are fully forgiven and stand righteous before him.

“God for us” is his giving us the gift of the Spirit so that we would be joined to him in the Son, bound in love to the eternal Trinity.

“God for us” means that he makes promises to us in the waters of baptism, and he will not fail to keep those promises. 

“God for us” means that, empowered by his Spirit, he has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness; there is nothing that we lack to live a faithful life.

This morning God declares to Elizabeth Archer that he is for her. He lives and does all that he does for her.

In the weakness of her infancy, he is for her, demonstrating that by joining her to himself through the waters of baptism.

Even when she is powerless, he is powerful for her; embracing her and protecting her. God is for her.

And if God is for her–if God is for us–then who can be against us? Who can withstand the power of his protection over us?

Who can come against us and penetrate that love so as to pry her loose from the love of God? There is nothing that can defeat the love of God that we enjoy in Christ Jesus. 

This love that God is promising to Elizabeth this morning, this love that he has promised to all of us in baptism, is love that demands a response.

This love is only found in Christ Jesus. God is for us in Christ. He is only for us in Christ.

God is for those who love him, and those who love him are those who love his Son and have pledged their allegiance to him. 

The promises of God should never be presumed upon. Never should we think that God is for us if we have set ourselves up as his enemies by living contrary to his will. 

Elizabeth must lay hold of the promises of God for her by faith throughout the rest of her life. 

Caleb and Rachel, by virtue of her birth in your family, God has given you the stewardship of his child. 

As ministers of his church and for the sake of his church, you must be faithful in discipling her. She must grow up in her faith.

God has given you everything you need to do this. He has given you the church, and through the church, the Word, sacraments, prayer, and fellowship to strengthen you in your duty. 

Stay faithful. Demonstrate the beauty of love for God to Elizabeth so that she will desire it with all of her heart.

Teach her that God is for her, and that as she perseveres in the faith, there will be nothing that can come between her and the love of her God. 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.