From Christ's words we learn why and for what purpose Baptism was instituted, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved [Mark 16:16]. No one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words say, that he "be saved." We know that to be saved is nothing other than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil. It means to enter into Christ's kingdom and to live with Him forever.
Here you see again how highly and preciously we should value Baptism, because in it we receive such an unspeakable treasure. This also proves that it cannot be ordinary, mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing. But the Word does it and so does the fact that God's name is included in Baptism. Where God's name is, there must also be life and salvation. So Baptism may certainly be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water. Such power is given to Baptism by the Word that it is a washing of new birth, as St. Paul also calls it in Titus 3:5.
Faith clings to the water and believes that in Baptism, there is pure salvation and life. This is not through the water, but through the fact that it is embodied in God's Word and institution, and that God's name abides in it. Now, if I believe this, what else is it than believing in God as the One who has given and planted His Word into this ordinance and offers to us this outward thing by which we may gain such a treasure? (paragraphs 23-27, 29)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.