Matthew 3:16-17 And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
The wages of sin is death – but its more than just physical death, its also eternal death, and eternal separation from God. You see that’s one of the other things that sin does, it separates us from God – God doesn’t leave, we do. So how can we be reconciled to God, what can we do? That’s the problem, there is nothing we can do to make peace with God.
There is nothing we can do to pay for our sins, because everything we could do, anything we’d propose to do is already something we’ve been commanded to do anyway. God gave all men the 10 commandments, he wrote them in our hearts – so that we can’t even say, I went to church, because we have all been commanded to worship God, doing what you are supposed to do will not make up for our sins – its simply not enough, because we have done nothing extra, nothing to earn God’s favor or merit forgiveness.
Is it important to repent of your sins? Of course it is! It is important that we turn from sin, and turn to God – but that’s not why we are forgiven, because we repented. We couldn’t even turn from our sins by ourselves – the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts to believe God’s promise. Forgiveness is not earned, it is grace that is freely given without any merit or worthiness in us. But its more, because if all there is, is forgiveness, then we remain poor miserable sinners, but something else has happened, and it happened when we were baptized. When we were baptized, not only were all our sins washed away, but we were made a new creation – a child of God.
Baptism is not something that was done once, and then forgotten – Baptism is something that is done once, but that we remember daily. You see when we are baptized, we are baptized into the death of Christ – it is Our Savior’s death and resurrection that brings us new life and forgiveness of sins. You see, when he died, he died carrying the guilt and punishment for all our sins.
Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.
Today we see what put the power into Baptism – when Jesus went into the water, he took upon himself the sin of the whole world – or as the scripture say:
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
And that is why we hear the voice from heaven – This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, because the work of salvation is now underway. This is good news for us, and for all men.