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Constituents of the Covenant Community
Confession: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27, QA 72-74
Scripture: Matthew 13:24-30, 2 Timothy 2:19-21, Romans 11:16-24
Preacher: Rev. David Inks
- Visible Sign & Invisible Grace 72
- Constituents of the Covenant Community 73
- Do Infants Belong to the Covenant Community? 74
The Heidelberg Catechism:
Q.72 Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?
A. No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.
Q.73 Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the water of rebirth and the washing away of sins?
A. God has good reason for these words. To begin with, he wants to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ take away our sins just as water removes dirt from the body. But more importantly, he wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that we are as truly washed of our sins spiritually as our bodies are washed with water physically.
Q.74 Should infants also be baptized?
A. Yes. Infants as well as adults are included in God’s covenant and people, and they, no less than adults, are promised deliverance from sin through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit who works faith. Therefore, by baptism, the sign of the covenant, they too should be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers. This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision, which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.
Matthew 13:24-30 (King James Version)
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
2 Timothy 2:19-21 (King James Version)
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Romans 11:16-24 (King James Version)
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
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