Paedo-Baptism Answers Genesis 6&7 and 1 Peter 3:20-22

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
Being new to comprehensive Reformed theology, my wife and I have recently been reading Scripture with several questions floating around in our minds. We've been discussing baptism, especially what it is and for whom it is meant.

With this in mind, my wife pointed out to me this last week something that struck her from the Scriptures. She began a study of the book of Genesis with a small group and they reached chapters 5-7 last week. She pointed out Genesis 6:9-10 and 7:1, namely that God counted Noah righteous and then dealt mercifully with his whole household.

This prompted some very thoughtful consideration from the both of us. We've grown up understanding that baptism is done on an individual basis, not as something that's done as a household. It doesn't make sense for a person or people to be baptized based on the faith of another, so went our line of reasoning.

My mind then went to 1 Peter 3:20-22 and how Peter remembers Noah and the flood and claims that "baptism now corresponds to this."

Can someone help me connect the dots here? How do these texts relate to one another, and then to the doctrine of baptism?

Posting this to both paedobaptism and credobaptism answers forums out of curiosity.
 

Alexander Suarez

Puritan Board Freshman
Being new to comprehensive Reformed theology, my wife and I have recently been reading Scripture with several questions floating around in our minds. We've been discussing baptism, especially what it is and for whom it is meant.

With this in mind, my wife pointed out to me this last week something that struck her from the Scriptures. She began a study of the book of Genesis with a small group and they reached chapters 5-7 last week. She pointed out Genesis 6:9-10 and 7:1, namely that God counted Noah righteous and then dealt mercifully with his whole household.

This prompted some very thoughtful consideration from the both of us. We've grown up understanding that baptism is done on an individual basis, not as something that's done as a household. It doesn't make sense for a person or people to be baptized based on the faith of another, so went our line of reasoning.

My mind then went to 1 Peter 3:20-22 and how Peter remembers Noah and the flood and claims that "baptism now corresponds to this."

Can someone help me connect the dots here? How do these texts relate to one another, and then to the doctrine of baptism?

Posting this to both paedobaptism and credobaptism answers forums out of curiosity.
If you are up to listening to a sermon, Rev. Todd Ruddell recently preached on these passages in relation to baptism. They may be of use to you in your study:

Part 1: sermonaudio.com/sermon/41722123219958

Part 2: sermonaudio.com/sermon/417221234201685
 

Polanus1561

Puritan Board Sophomore
"Peter states it is not the water of baptism that saves us by cleansing us; rather, we are saved as we are baptized and appeal to God for a good conscience. This is true both for baptized infants of believers, as well as for those baptized on their conversion. As we take hold of the gospel promises proclaimed and sealed to us in our baptism, we receive forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness that Christ alone can give." - VanDoodewaard, William

The child must as he grows in years, appeal to the gospel promise sealed in infant baptism.
For children, they get the sign of baptism first, then must by faith apprehend the reality of baptism.
Baptism is a personal promise sealed to the covenant child. It is a personalized sermon of the gospel sealed to the child, if I can put it that way.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Peter offers an interesting case in the theology of baptism, in that he chiastically (from the Gk. letter X or chi, implying something crossed) correlates one OT "thing signified" with an analogous NT "sign." If he had been writing or preaching from an OT prophetic standpoint (as opposed to his actual NT apostolic stance) he might have connected the judgment motif of the flood (the thing signified) with the OT covenant sign of circumcision. Instead, he connects the typological judgment of the flood (anticipating the final judgment of the world) with the NT covenant sign. Chiasm undone yields the direct--i.e. II vs. X--NT connection of baptism (sign) and Christ's cross (thing signified, anticipates final judgment).

One of the things that circumcision signifies--and that baptism signifies too--is divine judgment. The person who receives the sign and knows its effect by faith experiences only a token of divine judgment, which falls without mercy upon those who continue outside of the covenant of grace. The circumcised Israelite was obliged, when reflecting on his covenant membership through the spiritual sign so given, to consider how he had only a small cut to endure along with some transitory discomfort, a small bloodletting; whereas the faithless were doomed to see their life (which is "in the blood" Lev.17:11, Gen.9:4) ebb away forever. The shed blood of sacrifices testified to this truth as well (cf. Heb.9:22).

The Genesis flood portends final judgment (2Pet.3:3-6). Everyone gets baptized somehow; everyone, in both the judgment of the world that was (v6), and that which is to come for the world that presently is. The difference is that those who were safe in the ark only experienced a "light touch," while the ark itself was subjected to the actual destructive power of watery chaos that terminated all creatures "in whose nostrils was the breath of life," and which destroyed (and renovated) the first world. Baptism is judgment, Lk.12:50, a deadly ordeal which Jesus was preparing for. Only those who are safe in him, as an ark of safety, will emerge unscathed, while the world is baptized/drowned in judgment.

Paul's invocation of the Red Sea event is another such OT event used in the NT to illustrate baptismal theology. He does not employ the chiastic argument, but frankly states that the nation was baptized in the event, baptized into Moses. While judgment is in the background to Paul's point, his main intent in 1Cor.10 is to teach union with a mediator as an important aspect of what covenant signs are meant to teach. One obvious similarity in both events is how everyone present gets baptized. In the second event the parties are Israelites and Egyptians. Why are the Israelites spared? Because they are in union with their mediator, Moses. The Egyptians have no such mediator, and they are drowned in the waters of judgment.

Hope this is useful.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Hello Isaac,

Baptism – like circumcision in the OT – is a family affair, in that NT parents are commanded – like Abraham in the OT – to place God’s covenant sign and seal on their offspring in their infancy. Not that all the children were elect, but for the sake of the elect among them all were baptized / circumcised. Those who were not elect, but reprobate, eventually manifested their ungodly nature.

Concerning your OP, for adults coming to Christ, baptism is indeed done on an individual basis. But Scripture also compels us – commands us – for the sake of the elect child, to have the covenant sign and seal given them. (cf Gen 17:9-14)

Understanding this involves understanding the unity of the covenant of grace in both the Old and in the New Testaments. For instance, Galatians 3:29 says, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Christ is the Seed of Abraham, and if we be in Him we are likewise Abraham’s seed.)

There is a continuity because all the elect in both the OT and NT are saved – ultimately – by the election of God. In faith Abraham obeyed the command of God to circumcise all the (male) children in his house, even though not all would turn out to be God’s elect, but for the sake of the elect all were circumcised. And as Abraham’s seed we do likewise.

Consider what God spoke through Moses: “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” [emphasis added] (Deut 30:6).

We have the reality of this OT covenant sign and seal made clear in the NT here:

And ye are complete in him [Christ]… In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Col 2:10,11,12,13)​

The reality being, dying to sin and being made alive to God in our regenerating union with Christ.

That this is a family affair, consider: what Baptist family (exactly like a paedobaptist family) does not hope and long for their children to be elect and godly, and cleave to Christ and to His body the church? We have the same fervent desire.

The difference is that the paedobaptist family knows that their children (some or all) may be elect, and raise them as elect, in the nurture and encouragement given the elect, even though not all will be such.

The Baptist, on the other hand, considers all his children – before they grow old enough to make a profession of faith – to be unregenerate, and in need of being born again. It does make a difference in how we raise them.

We have examples of children being alive to God in the womb (Jeremiah, David, John the Baptist, Jesus Himself). An infant may know the presence of his or her mother – before they are verbal or rational – even so an infant may know the presence of his or her God in the womb, or in their very first days of life. And, it may also be, that, although a child be elect, they may not know the presence of God until later in life, when the Lord chooses to regenerate them.
 
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Branson

Puritan Board Freshman
When I changed from credo to paedo, the familial solidarity argument was a big reason why. This quote from Ligon Duncan on the topic was helpful for me:


“Are the children of believing parents in the covenant, speaking of the Covenant of Grace here, under the New Covenant, like we know that they were under the old? And again, we can point to several lines of evidence. The apostolic preaching of Peter in Acts 2:39, “The promise is to you and to your children.” The same language as in Genesis 17. We can point to the pattern of water baptism in the book of Acts and in Corinthians. There are at least four or five examples of household baptism given us in the book of Acts, and in I Corinthians; out of seven baptisms described, perhaps five of them are household baptisms. Now what am I arguing is this: it doesn’t matter whether there were infants in those households, although it would be exceedingly unlikely that there would not be young children. What matters is, is that the Old Covenant pattern of family solidarity in this great time of evangelistic revival is still obtained. Cornelius believes, and his whole household is baptized. The Philippian jailer believes, and his whole household is baptized. And Luke goes out of his way in Acts 16 to make it clear that it is the Philippian jailer who believes and the household is baptized. And then again, Lydia believes and her household is baptized. So we see this pattern of household baptisms.
What does this pattern of household baptisms mean? It simply means that God is using the same pattern of dealing in families in the New Covenant as He did under the Old.”
 

Sovereign Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
I want to thank you Brethern for your posts. You are making my transition from credo to paedo a lot smoother than even I anticipated. Your wealth of knowledge is a blessing to me.

Soli Deo Gloria!!
 

Sovereign Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
Being new to comprehensive Reformed theology, my wife and I have recently been reading Scripture with several questions floating around in our minds. We've been discussing baptism, especially what it is and for whom it is meant.

With this in mind, my wife pointed out to me this last week something that struck her from the Scriptures. She began a study of the book of Genesis with a small group and they reached chapters 5-7 last week. She pointed out Genesis 6:9-10 and 7:1, namely that God counted Noah righteous and then dealt mercifully with his whole household.

This prompted some very thoughtful consideration from the both of us. We've grown up understanding that baptism is done on an individual basis, not as something that's done as a household. It doesn't make sense for a person or people to be baptized based on the faith of another, so went our line of reasoning.

My mind then went to 1 Peter 3:20-22 and how Peter remembers Noah and the flood and claims that "baptism now corresponds to this."

Can someone help me connect the dots here? How do these texts relate to one another, and then to the doctrine of baptism?

Posting this to both paedobaptism and credobaptism answers forums out of curiosity.
@De Jager posted this is another thread that I think is pertinent to this thread...

2. Romans 11:11-36

A main take away here is that the church is represented by one olive tree, a single tree in which gentiles are grafted into a pre-existing tree. They are not a new pet project of God. They are grafted into Israel itself. The geopolitical nation of Israel is no longer identified as the church, but that does not mean that a new tree is planted. Rather, the unbelieving branches are cut off, and others are grafted in. One tree.

Notice that he says that there is one tree, and we gentiles are grafted into it. Now, this one tree under the OT economy, included children, seeing they received the sign and seal of that covenant. Gentiles are grafted into that, not the tree grafted into the Gentiles. To exclude children from the covenant community would be like moving into someone's house and taking it over and running it the way you want to. Baptism is now the sign and seal of the covenant.

Here is his post en toto.

 

Sovereign Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
If I post something that is not exactly right, I receive correction with thanksgiving. I am a sponge seeking to soak up some more knowledge.
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
If I post something that is not exactly right, I receive correction with thanksgiving. I am a sponge seeking to soak up some more knowledge.
The comments I've seen you make show that you are tracking quite well! So no worries there. The beautiful thing about covenant theology is that it is simple enough in its core tenets for a child to grasp and yet is inexhaustible when diving deep. Such is the beauty of God's grace towards man.
 

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
@De Jager posted this is another thread that I think is pertinent to this thread...



Notice that he says that there is one tree, and we gentiles are grafted into it. Now, this one tree under the OT economy, included children, seeing they received the sign and seal of that covenant. Gentiles are grafted into that, not the tree grafted into the Gentiles. To exclude children from the covenant community would be like moving into someone's house and taking it over and running it the way you want to. Baptism is now the sign and seal of the covenant.

Here is his post en toto.

This does relate to the thread quite well, thank you for posting it!
 

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
When I changed from credo to paedo, the familial solidarity argument was a big reason why. This quote from Ligon Duncan on the topic was helpful for me:


“Are the children of believing parents in the covenant, speaking of the Covenant of Grace here, under the New Covenant, like we know that they were under the old? And again, we can point to several lines of evidence. The apostolic preaching of Peter in Acts 2:39, “The promise is to you and to your children.” The same language as in Genesis 17. We can point to the pattern of water baptism in the book of Acts and in Corinthians. There are at least four or five examples of household baptism given us in the book of Acts, and in I Corinthians; out of seven baptisms described, perhaps five of them are household baptisms. Now what am I arguing is this: it doesn’t matter whether there were infants in those households, although it would be exceedingly unlikely that there would not be young children. What matters is, is that the Old Covenant pattern of family solidarity in this great time of evangelistic revival is still obtained. Cornelius believes, and his whole household is baptized. The Philippian jailer believes, and his whole household is baptized. And Luke goes out of his way in Acts 16 to make it clear that it is the Philippian jailer who believes and the household is baptized. And then again, Lydia believes and her household is baptized. So we see this pattern of household baptisms.
What does this pattern of household baptisms mean? It simply means that God is using the same pattern of dealing in families in the New Covenant as He did under the Old.”
Yes, this idea of family solidarity is really beginning to grab my attention.

I've struggled to make sense of why an infant would be baptized when that child has no sense of the old self and dying to sin, in light of the opening part of Romans 6. To be honest, this is still a hard concept for me to reconcile. How would I explain to my baptized son or daughter that he or she has died to the old self?

As you can see, I'm not completely beyond all of my preconceived notions that certain normative practices are to be primary assumptions in the doctrine of baptism (specifically that the sacrament be administered after a credible profession of faith).

Most of the reasoning I have applied towards baptism has been along these lines. Jesus says in the Great Commission to (1 go therefore (2 and make disciples of all nations, (3 baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, baptism takes place after we can reliably assume a person is a disciple. That is to say, our understanding of baptism must primarily be drawn from the chronological order that Jesus commands the apostles to administer it.

But, the questions my wife and I have been exploring lately have helped us to consider some things before others. For example, we are now attempting to ask how God deals with his people and how God's people relate to one another. How has God worked in redemptive history? Looking at many Old Testament texts, it's clear God works in and through the household.

Once again, if I'm being honest, I think I've neglected serious considerations in this matter because most of my knowledge of the Old Testament for so long was on individuals' stories in the Old Testament: Noah & the ark, Samson & the Philistines, David & Goliath, Daniel & the lions, etc. In God's providence, the attention of my wife and I have been fixed especially more on what may be seen as the more mundane parts of the stories lately: What are the terms of the covenant God made with Noah, and who benefited from it? How did God command his people to order and organize themselves for the redemptive event of the Passover in Egypt? How are the Israelites commanded to raise their children as they receive the law at Sinai?

All that to say, thanks for your comment. This is great fuel for the fire of renewing my mind.
 

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello Isaac,

Baptism – like circumcision in the OT – is a family affair, in that NT parents are commanded – like Abraham in the OT – to place God’s covenant sign and seal on their offspring in their infancy. Not that all the children were elect, but for the sake of the elect among them all were baptized / circumcised. Those who were not elect, but reprobate, eventually manifested their ungodly nature.

Concerning your OP, for adults coming to Christ, baptism is indeed done on an individual basis. But Scripture also compels us – commands us – for the sake of the elect child, to have the covenant sign and seal given them. (cf Gen 17:9-14)

Understanding this involves understanding the unity of the covenant of grace in both the Old and in the New Testaments. For instance, Galatians 3:29 says, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Christ is the Seed of Abraham, and if we be in Him we are likewise Abraham’s seed.)

There is a continuity because all the elect in both the OT and NT are saved – ultimately – by the election of God. In faith Abraham obeyed the command of God to circumcise all the (male) children in his house, even though not all would turn out to be God’s elect, but for the sake of the elect all were circumcised. And as Abraham’s seed we do likewise.

Consider what God spoke through Moses: “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” [emphasis added] (Deut 30:6).

We have the reality of this OT covenant sign and seal made clear in the NT here:

And ye are complete in him [Christ]… In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Col 2:10,11,12,13)​

The reality being, dying to sin and being made alive to God in our regenerating union with Christ.

That this is a family affair, consider: what Baptist family (exactly like a paedobaptist family) does not hope and long for their children to be elect and godly, and cleave to Christ and to His body the church? We have the same fervent desire.

The difference is that the paedobaptist family knows that their children (some or all) may be elect, and raise them as elect, in the nurture and encouragement given the elect, even though not all will be such.

The Baptist, on the other hand, considers all his children – before they grow old enough to make a profession of faith – to be unregenerate, and in need of being born again. It does make a difference in how we raise them.

We have examples of children being alive to God in the womb (Jeremiah, David, John the Baptist, Jesus Himself). An infant may know the presence of his or her mother – before they are verbal or rational – even so an infant may know the presence of his or her God in the womb, or in their very first days of life. And, it may also be, that, although a child be elect, they may not know the presence of God until later in life, when the Lord chooses to regenerate them.
Hi Steve,

Thank you for your warm and heartfelt, rational response.

I'm curious to better understand what you mean by, "for the sake of the elect all were circumcised." When it comes to the New Testament sign and seal of baptism, is it a great benefit for the potentially elect child, even before he or she is called and regenerated by the Lord?

One of the things that my wife and I are attempting to understand better is the, for lack of a better word, risk that baptizing our children as infants could pose. One day, they will have to give a "double account" for rejecting the Lord if they were baptized and don't humble themselves before him, yes? God forbid this ever happen, but that does stir up some fear in us. Maybe this is a bad way to frame it, but we wonder about the benefit of baptizing our children and raising them in the admonition of the Lord as opposed to raising them in the admonition of the Lord and then allowing them to be baptized after a profession of faith.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I am still attempting to understand this doctrine from the whole counsel of God. But since you brought up some of the practical aspects of infant baptism, I figured this would be a good place to ask these questions as it relates to raising covenant children.

Thanks again!
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
How would I explain to my baptized son or daughter that he or she has died to the old self?
Unless you believe in ex opere operato, then it's no more a problem for your children than any adult. It's what God communicates via baptism for those in the household of faith.
Most of the reasoning I have applied towards baptism has been along these lines. Jesus says in the Great Commission to (1 go therefore (2 and make disciples of all nations, (3 baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, baptism takes place after we can reliably assume a person is a disciple. That is to say, our understanding of baptism must primarily be drawn from the chronological order that Jesus commands the apostles to administer it.
Your children are disciples, if you've been raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nevertheless, the import of the text is "make disciples by baptizing and teaching".
 

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
Unless you believe in ex opere operato, then it's no more a problem for your children than any adult. It's what God communicates via baptism for those in the household of faith.
I'm less concerned about the sign, but the thing signified and how I would explain this to my children. It's the idea that I cannot credibly claim in good conscience they have been crucified with Christ as an adult convert could claim that worries me. I suppose this goes right along with attempting to rightly understand what baptism does actually convey, and that is admittedly what I am wrestling through at the moment.
 

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
"Peter states it is not the water of baptism that saves us by cleansing us; rather, we are saved as we are baptized and appeal to God for a good conscience. This is true both for baptized infants of believers, as well as for those baptized on their conversion. As we take hold of the gospel promises proclaimed and sealed to us in our baptism, we receive forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness that Christ alone can give." - VanDoodewaard, William

The child must as he grows in years, appeal to the gospel promise sealed in infant baptism.
For children, they get the sign of baptism first, then must by faith apprehend the reality of baptism.
Baptism is a personal promise sealed to the covenant child. It is a personalized sermon of the gospel sealed to the child, if I can put it that way.
This helps to clarify some of the questions I posed above - thank you, John.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
I was a credo only Baptist for 30 years. Mostly I based it upon the arguments concerning Covenant Theology and baptism. About a decade ago I started to see things in a larger picture. My argument comes from a different perspective. It comes from a scriptural and Covenant Theology perspective. I first started with the New Covenant and worked my way back into understanding Abraham and Moses as a Reformed Baptist. A decade ago I arrived at this conclusion. Why I was drawn into the Nuanced Republication and Mosaic Covenant Study
 

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
Peter offers an interesting case in the theology of baptism, in that he chiastically (from the Gk. letter X or chi, implying something crossed) correlates one OT "thing signified" with an analogous NT "sign." If he had been writing or preaching from an OT prophetic standpoint (as opposed to his actual NT apostolic stance) he might have connected the judgment motif of the flood (the thing signified) with the OT covenant sign of circumcision. Instead, he connects the typological judgment of the flood (anticipating the final judgment of the world) with the NT covenant sign.

One of the things that circumcision signifies--and that baptism signifies too--is divine judgment. The person who receives the sign and knows its effect by faith experiences only a token of divine judgment, which falls without mercy upon those who continue outside of the covenant of grace. The circumcised Israelite was obliged, when reflecting on his covenant membership through the spiritual sign so given, to consider how he had only a small cut to endure along with some transitory discomfort, a small bloodletting; whereas the faithless were doomed to see their life (which is "in the blood" Lev.17:11, Gen.9:4) ebb away forever. The shed blood of sacrifices testified to this truth as well (cf. Heb.9:22).

The Genesis flood portends final judgment (2Pet.3:3-6). Everyone gets baptized somehow; everyone, in both the judgment of the world that was (v6), and that which is to come for the world that presently is. The difference is that those who were safe in the ark only experienced a "light touch," while the ark itself was subjected to the actual destructive power of watery chaos that terminated all creatures "in whose nostrils was the breath of life," and which destroyed (and renovated) the first world. Baptism is judgment, Lk.12:50, a deadly ordeal which Jesus was preparing for. Only those who are safe in him, as an ark of safety, will emerge unscathed, while the world is baptized/drowned in judgment.

Paul's invocation of the Red Sea event is another such OT event used in the NT to illustrate baptismal theology. He does not employ the chiastic argument, but frankly states that the nation was baptized in the event, baptized into Moses. While judgment is in the background to Paul's point, his main intent in 1Cor.10 is to teach union with a mediator as an important aspect of what covenant signs are meant to teach. One obvious similarity in both events is how everyone present gets baptized. In the second event the parties are Israelites and Egyptians. Why are the Israelites spared? Because they are in union with their mediator, Moses. The Egyptians have no such mediator, and they are drowned in the waters of judgment.

Hope this is useful.
I've probably read this thirty or forty times through now, and it's.. how to say it... wrinkling my brain? Joking aside, this is rich food for thought. Thank you, Rev. Bruce!

I'm currently looking through this article you posted to continue delving into a deeper understanding of the theology of baptism. I'm indebted to you for your contributions as I begin studies into these matters.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
Isaac, on the reformed view of baptism, JV Fesko's Word, Water, Spirit is excellent. But as you study the issue, I'm going to echo what Martin said earlier; don't untether it from a thorough study of reformed covenant theology.
 

iddevalois

Puritan Board Freshman
An adult convert that makes a credible profession of faith could logically be considered united to Christ by faith, with his baptism testifying to this. How could I make such an assertion about a young child that has been baptized, but makes no credible profession of faith? It's very likely this is a knowledge gap that has yet to be filled, but I understood a person to be united to Christ by faith, not by the sacrament. So how could a child be truly considered united to Christ and dead to the old self?

"Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification..." Chapter 11, paragraph 2, 1689 LBCF

I've gone and purchased Fesko's work, Denver, per your recommendation and several others before you. Thank you for your advice!
 

Polanus1561

Puritan Board Sophomore
One thing to note, the 1689 Federalism (Denault) views the OT covenants before the New Covenant as just promises, not formal administrations of the covenant. That lessens the justification to import the Abraham seed principle to the New C.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm less concerned about the sign, but the thing signified and how I would explain this to my children. It's the idea that I cannot credibly claim in good conscience they have been crucified with Christ as an adult convert could claim that worries me. I suppose this goes right along with attempting to rightly understand what baptism does actually convey, and that is admittedly what I am wrestling through at the moment.
Your worry is understandable, but the exact same thing could be said of an Israelite and his child who has been circumcised. Could he say for certain whether his child really was "circumcised in heart" as the sign pointed to? No. But God told them to apply the sign anyway. What the parent could do is say "son, this sign has been applied to your flesh. This is the sign of God's covenant. Cleave to this God. Believe his promises. He is faithful". The actual status of the child's heart (i.e. whether they are regenerate or not) does not change the objective sign.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
An adult convert that makes a credible profession of faith could logically be considered united to Christ by faith, with his baptism testifying to this. How could I make such an assertion about a young child that has been baptized, but makes no credible profession of faith? It's very likely this is a knowledge gap that has yet to be filled, but I understood a person to be united to Christ by faith, not by the sacrament. So how could a child be truly considered united to Christ and dead to the old self?
How can a profession of faith from someone who doesn't understand the Trinity or many other solid important teachings classify as solid profession?

It is important to keep the two testaments as one that testify to the same thing. Union with Christ can be from the womb. Look at John the Baptist. There was none greater than him according to Jesus. Salvation is the same in both the old and new covenant. Go forth and baptize making disciples is the command in Matthew 28. Our Children are disciples.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Hello again, Isaac,

You asked, “When it comes to the New Testament sign and seal of baptism, is it a great benefit for the potentially elect child, even before he or she is called and regenerated by the Lord?”

You also said, “One day, they will have to give a ‘double account’ for rejecting the Lord if they were baptized and don't humble themselves before him, yes? God forbid this ever happen, but that does stir up some fear in us.”

For the actually elect child – I wouldn’t say ‘potentially’ – it is a great benefit to be raised in the care of the Lord, i.e., by His Spirit through the child’s godly parents. Further, to place the covenant sign and seal on a child according to the command of the LORD can only be good for both parents and child. In Genesis 17:14 there is a severe warning against neglecting this command. I do think that the LORD, in the case of NT parents who, in ignorance – not rebellion – do not put the covenant token on their child, He is merciful and gracious toward them. There are many children of Baptist parents who grow up godly despite the error of mom and dad. Still, to treat the child who knows the presence of God, being regenerate from infancy, as though he or she were a child who does not know Him, can be confusing and jarring to that child – who inwardly does know Him, but is not yet mature enough state it well.

For the non-elect – the reprobate – child, yes, the sin of wicked unbelief is greater given the greater light and love they sin against, as opposed to no light or love of God given the child raised by ungodly parents. It is not the baptism per se the reprobate child in a godly family will have to give account for, but the light and love of Christ they outright rejected in their raising.

You also said, “I'm curious to better understand what you mean by, ‘for the sake of the elect all were circumcised.’ ” I answered this partly above, but to more clearly state it: As parents – in both the OT and the New – we are not given to know which, if any, of our children are elect, but in obedience to the command we do as God instructed us. All of them are given the outward sign and seal, signifying they have the right to be in the covenant community, and are identified as such. If they didn’t receive the sign and seal, they would have not been allowed (in the OT) to be in God’s presence in the corporate worship of His people, and in the NT – in a Presbyterian or Reformed community – they (the children) would know themselves not to be a part of that community, being unbaptized, the seal of the covenant not on them. If they were to ask, “Mom, and Dad, why am I not baptised?” What would you say?

It is a subtle but significant thing.

You said, concerning a child not yet giving a credible profession of faith (in post #21) : “how could [such] a child be truly considered united to Christ and dead to the old self?” Good question! Often we cannot discern between true or false profession, given the tender age of our children. But the reality would be this: a regenerate child is alive to God in love, and thankfulness. When one is alive to God, by virtue of being united with His Son, he or she is dead to sin as the operating principle of their heart. As Jesus died to sin (paying for ours), and risen from the dead, even so it is with us, as Christ is our life (Col 3:3, see also Col 2:11,12,13).
 
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