I found this article while I was preparing to preach for Baptism of Our Lord Sunday this weekend.
Peter J. Leithart makes the arguement that Protestants (Lutherans are Protestants) must have a high view of the efficacy of the sacraments. In his blog post he says:
Still, baptism is different from most ministry of the word. In worship, in most preaching and teaching, even in the absolution, the Word isn’t addressed to me by name. In baptism it is: “I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Baptism individualizes and personalizes God’s promise. At the font, there’s no doubt that the promise of forgiveness and justification is directed to me in particular. The difference is somewhat analogous to the difference between an Oscar winner telling the adoring crowd with all sincerity, “I love you all,” and that same Oscar winner saying, in the intimacy of private conversation, “Linda, I love you.”
In Baptism, we are named, claimed, and gifted for live in Christ. The promise is directly addressed to you. You are loved by God.!
Read the whole thing.