Visible Signs

"I will be their God."
GENESIS 17:8
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Visible Signs
Just as Abraham had circumcision and the glorious words "I shall be God to you and your descendants after you" added to circumcision, so we have several visible signs. In the first place, we have Baptism itself, which is adorned with the most important and pleasing promise that we shall be saved if we believe. But because in this weakness of ours it is very easy for us to fall, there have been added to Baptism the Keys or the ministry of the Word—for these must not be separated—which in itself is also a visible sign of grace bound to the Word of the Gospel in accordance with. Christ's institution (Matthew 18:18): "Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." When you take hold of this Word in faith, you will be restored to grace, and the life which was lost through sin is given back. The same thing takes place in the use of the holy Eucharist, for the words (Matthew 26:26-27) "My body given for you, My blood shed for the remission of your sins" are certainly not without meaning; they admirably strengthen the hope of the remission of sins. Thus you see that we have the promise of eternal grace far more richly than Abraham himself had it. Therefore we should also take pride in this gift over against Satan and the world, and we should buoy ourselves up with this comfort in all misfortunes, just as the saintly patriarch did.
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