23 August, 2007

In Anticipation of our Third Child

Baptism is a great doctrine and an even greater blessing to those to whom it is administered. As we anticipate the arrival of our third child we think of all that baptism means and represents to us and to our children. The Lord Jesus Christ has a claim on our children, which means that they are:

1. In covenant with Him.
2. Have a responsibility to believe the Gospel.

We have great responsibility as parents to reflect what it means to be members of the covenant community. It also means that all who have made a profession to believe the Gospel have a duty to live lives that adorn the Gospel. When a child is baptized in the church there is a series of questions that are posed to the parents and to the covenant community. The ARP Book of Worship states to the congregation, "in the name of the whole Church of Christ, do you undertake responsibility for the growth of this child in Christian nurture?" What a great responsibility we all have as the Church of Christ grows through the birth of another covenant child. We remember the words of the Apostle Peter, "the promise if for you and your children!"

We should all improve on our baptism as we anticipate seeing this sacrament administered in the name of the Triune God.

Larger Catechism Question 167: How is our Baptism to be improved by us? A167: The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.


Mark said...

It's a weighty responsibility indeed, that always makes an impression at baptisms. It's remarkable how many of our actions kids pick up. While it's obviously your job in the end, setting a good example for the young is something all churchgoers should strive for.

Nathan or Lydia...usually Nathan said...

Pretty scary really... when you get married it is scary because you are not accountable before God for someone's spiritual life besides your own.... now there will be 4 other spiritual lives that I am responsible for.

* * * So that no one can argue... I understand personal responsibility as well.

mkuivenhoven said...

Amen, Nate. I feel the same way; God equips us though as men to fulfill our duties as husbands and fathers. That's the amazing part! By the way this is the first time commenting on your blog, so I hope you don't mind. Your children have become famous over on Steve Burlew's blog! They are now officially Banner of Truth children!

Bill Reichart said...

Baptism is a wonderful means of God's grace, I wish more people understood it as such.

Bill from ProvocativeChurch

karl said...

What do you believe about the baptism by the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:13?

An Eshelman said...

I believe it. When a person is converted he is baptized by the Spirit with His sealing. The sacrament of baptism represents this in the way that the Lord's Supper has earthly elements that represent the actual communion with the Lord Jesus Christ that takes place.

puritanismtoday said...

Up until about seven years ago I was totally opposed to infant baptism. I now hold to it with absolutely no doubts. The difference was caused by the sermons and addresses of Mr. David Silversides - who is now my minister, though he was not at the time. Until I heard his explanation and defense of the doctrine I was totally confused about what Presbyterians believed on the subject of Children and the Covenant. The books I had read prior to hearing Mr. Silversides were like they were in another language as far as my understanding was concerned.

You may find some of these sermons, etc at this link http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?sourceonly=true&currSection=sermonssource&keyword=ldrpc&keywordDesc=&subsetcat=series&subsetitem=Baptism+service Of particular interest is this address on what it means to be a Child of the Covenant: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=122605124549

Hope these are useful to some.