There are many things I have learned as a “Newtheran” (a term a friend coined for us who are new Lutherans, but none is more poignant than this:
God means what He says and says what He means.
In the discussion on the Lord’s Supper the line is drawn on the very words of Jesus, “This is my Body…This is my Blood.” He did not use the greek word for “symbol” or “picture” but simply stated what the Bread and Wine are, His True Body and True Blood.
So it is in the text “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus, whom John is pointing to the day after he baptized Him states emphatically that Jesus takes away the sins of the world. John is saying “Here is Jesus the one “bearing off”, “getting rid of” and or “carrying away” you sins. This is John pointing to the scapegoat in Leviticus 167:21-22). In my Lutheran Study Bible it quotes Martin Luther in the notes,
“The Son of God says to me: You are no longer a sinner, but I am. I am your substitute…All your sins are to rest on Me and not on you.” (AE 22:167)
Jesus, the Sin-Bearer, who became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. In His baptism, Jesus picked up our sins in the water. In our baptisms our sins are washed away by Water and the Word.
As a former Dutch Reformed Gal I can remember not believing that in Baptism our sins are forgiven. However, there was something else that kept sticking in my brain; Did Jesus really die for the sins of the world? For the Reformed, if Jesus died for everyone, well then, everyone gets saved. However, the Bible tells us the following: