“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ”(Galatians 3:26-27).
“An act of God”
is what it is called in our legal system when an event occurs that is entirely outside of human control. Floods, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and the like are natural disasters for which no human being can be held responsible because they’re considered “acts of God.”
Though the Triune God provides richly and daily for every living thing, when the worst imaginable disasters occur that may result in thousands of fatalities—these are labeled “acts of God”?! Isn’t it sad?!
Let me remind you that some of the greatest things ever done—in a positive sense!—are also acts of God because only God could and did accomplish them!
For example: The creation of this world was an act of God—NOT the result of some accidental, cosmic ka-boom!
Theredemption of humankind was an act of God—for God accomplished it without input or aid of mankind. We are redeemed because the Son of God took up human flesh and blood and lived a sinless life according to God’s Law and then willingly laid down that life to atone for every human sin. This is an act of God which causes our hearts to leap for joy!
In our Scripture text (Galatians 3:26-27) the Spirit of God reveals two great acts of God.
The first one
mentioned is — faith!
The Galatians had become sons of God (God’s beloved children) through faith in Christ Jesus (and so have we). God says plainly in His Word that this faith is created by the Spirit of God. Thus the imparting of faith is properly an
act of God (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10).
It is not something man brings about, but something the Holy Spirit works.
The second one
mentioned is — Baptism!
God can do whatever He wants to do. But He has revealed in His Word that He works through means—that is, through the gospel in Word and Sacrament.
Baptism is a sacrament and, as such, it is a true act of God, for He Himself works in it.
Baptism is an act of God, for in it He does what no one else can do—He cleanses of sin. We know that He does this because He says so in His Word (Acts 22:16; Acts 2:38-39).
Baptism is an act of God, which is why the Apostle Paul calls it a washing that regenerates: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:4-5).
Baptism is an act of God, for only God could make spiritually dead people come alive through simple water and His Word.
Baptism is an act of God—and because God is the only active agent through His Word, Scripture also says that Baptism saves, for “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). And Peter writes by divine inspiration, “which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 3:21).
May we treasure this act of God and look back upon the day of our Baptism with great joy. On that day we were first granted saving faith and received into God’s Family