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BAPTISM. BAPTISM: DEFINITION.

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baptism definition
BAPTISM: DEFINITION
  • WCF 28:2,3 “The outward element to be used in the Sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.”

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baptism definition3
BAPTISM: DEFINITION
  • Per WCF, there are some Key Elements involved:
    • Water is necessary
    • The Formula is “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”
    • Baptism is performed only by a lawfully ordained minister
    • Immersion is not necessary
    • Pouring (affusion) or Sprinkling (aspersion) are satisfactory modes of baptism

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baptism definition4
BAPTISM: DEFINITION
  • The interpretation of this statement
    • It was the position held by a majority of the commissioners assembled at Westminster and was the accepted position in Presbyterian churches generally
    • Immersion cannot be required from Scripture; it is unnecessary and is not the normal practice in Reformed churches
    • Pouring and Sprinkling can be demonstrated from Scripture and are the most appropriate means of baptism

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significance of baptism
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • Baptism is engrafting into Christ. (See J. Murray, Christian Baptism, 6)
    • It is mentioned often in Scripture, especially in connection with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection
  • Union with Christ
    • Rom. 6:3-6, baptized into union with Christ
    • I Cor. 12:12-3, baptized into Christ’s body
    • Gal. 3:27-8, baptized into Christ
    • Col. 2:11-12, buried with him in baptism
    • All these refer to spiritual baptism, not water baptism; yet the significance of spiritual baptism should be reflected in water baptism

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significance of baptism6
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • Baptism signifies the forgiveness of sins by his blood
    • Scripture links baptism to purification/cleansing: Matt. 3:6, “they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”
    • Mark 1:4 “baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
    • Luke 3:3, “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
    • John 3:25, John’s baptism= “a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. “

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significance of baptism7
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • Baptism is the outward washing symbolizing inward regeneration by the Holy Spirit
    • John 3:5, “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”
    • I Cor. 6:11, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    • Titus 3:5, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”
    • Acts 2:38, “And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
    • Acts 22:16, “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”

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significance of baptism8
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • Col. 2:12-13, “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,”
  • Heb. 10:22, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
  • I Peter 3:21, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
  • The same term is used for water and spirit baptism
    • They are linked in John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16
    • Perhaps referred to in I Cor. 12:13, Gal. 3:27
  • The baptism of the Holy Spirit points to union with Christ in which all the benefits of redemption are received

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significance of baptism9
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • Baptism seals our adoption as children of God
  • Baptism unites us with Christ’s resurrection to everlasting life
  • Baptism is the sacrament of initiation, that gives admission to the visible church
  • Baptism is linked by Christ to discipleship, Matt. 28:19
    • Baptism is a prerequisite for church membership, Acts 2:41
    • Baptism signifies our engagement to be the Lord’s own treasure

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significance of baptism10
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • Baptism shares a parallel significance with Circumcision
    • Baptism becomes the initiatory rite of Church in NT
    • NT links significance of baptism with circumcision, Col. 2:11-13. Cf. heart circumcision, Rom. 2:28-9
  • Gen 17:13, circumcision is perpetual
  • OT circumcision shares the same meaning with NT baptism, namely, union with God and His people, cleansing from sin, regeneration, and the covenant of grace in general.

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significance of baptism11
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • For the OT meaning of circumcision, see the following:
    • Gen 17:10- covenant- circumcised
    • Gen 34:14-17, union with God’s people (intermarriage)
    • Ex. 12:44,48, required to eat Passover
    • Deut. 10:16, (30:6) regeneration, love for God (cf. vss. 12-13)
    • Joshua 5:7-9, cleansing from defilement
    • Jer. 4:4, regeneration, cleansing heart (vs. 14)
    • Jer. 9:25-6, know and love God in heart
  • Since baptism is practiced in the NT, circumcision is no longer necessary: I Cor. 7:18-20; Gal. 2:3-5

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significance of baptism12
SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
  • As sign, Baptism “is a testimony which God has been pleased to give to us so that we may better understand the high privilege of union with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” J. Murray, Christian Baptism, 87
  • As seal, Baptism “authenticates, confirms, guarantees the reality and security of this covenant grace.” Murray, CB, 87.

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baptism its mode
BAPTISM: ITS MODE
  • Baptizo, according to Arndt and Gingrich lexicon, has the following range of meanings: “dip, immerse, dip oneself, wash, plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm.” BAG, 131
    • In LXX, Baptizo is used 4x:
      • II Kings 5:14, “dipped” (But, cf. Lev. 14:7-8, rachatz/bapto, Lev. 14:6, dip living bird in blood of dead bird; Lev. 14:16, dip finger in oil in hand)
      • Isa. 21:4, “horror overwhelms me” (NASB)
      • Judith 12:7 “she would wash herself in the camp at the fountain of water.”
      • Ecclesiasticus, 34:25, “being cleansed from the dead” (Cf. Num. 19:11-19)

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baptism its mode14
BAPTISM: ITS MODE
  • In NT, Baptizo is used 74 times, but there is no example of a specifically stated mode
    • It appears, however, that Mark 7:4 favors sprinkling, and Luke 11:38 pouring
    • In many other instances, circumstances rule out immersion
  • Baptismos (3x), Baptisma (20x) and Baptistes (12 x)
    • Baptismos is used in Mark 7:4 and Heb. 9:10 where it favors sprinkling
    • In Heb. 6:2, no mode is indicated in the context
    • Baptisma and Baptistes are not used with sufficient context to determine mode

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baptism its mode15
BAPTISM: ITS MODE
  • Bapto is used 4x: Luke 16:24 “dip”, John 13:26 “dip”(twice), Rev. 19:13 “dye.” Cf. to Daniel 4:30, 5:21 in LXX (ebafh)
  • Regarding the use of prepositions and the mode of baptism: Nothing can be proved from the use of Greek prepositions. In the examples normally cited, the prepositions (en: in with, at, by; eis: to, into, unto, toward; ek: out of, from, apart from, away from) indicate at most that the parties to the baptism went down to where the water was (river, stream, fountain), then the baptism took place, then the parties went up the banks to normal ground level. See esp. Acts 8:38,9

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baptism valid and proper
BAPTISM: VALID AND PROPER
  • A Valid Mode is a mode by which baptism truly has taken place- the person is baptized
    • In the Reformed view: as long as there is a duly authorized minister, water, and the Triune formula, baptism has taken place. All three modes produce a valid baptism.
  • A Proper Mode means that the mode is the method taught byScripture & apostolic practice
    • In the Reformed view: pouring and sprinkling are proper modes (“rightly administered”); immersion is not a proper mode. However, an improper mode does not negate the sacrament. Thus an improper baptism may nonetheless be a valid baptism

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baptism meaning and mode
BAPTISM: MEANING AND MODE
  • “The central import is that of union with Christ” John Murray, Christian Baptism, 9
    • Rom. 6:3-6; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27,28; Col. 2:11,12.
  • The outward washing of baptism symbolizes the inward washing by the Holy Spirit and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ:
    • John 3:5, “born of water and the Spirit”
    • I Cor. 6:11, “but you were washed”
    • Titus 3:5, “Washing of regeneration/renewal of H.S.
    • Acts 2:38, “be baptized . . . receive the gift of H.S.”
    • Acts 22:16, “be baptized and wash away your sins”
    • I Peter 3:21, “saved by baptism” = inward cleansing

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baptism meaning and mode18
BAPTISM: MEANING AND MODE
  • Baptism is the outward washing that symbolizes, signifies, and seals the inward washing, wherein the Holy Spirit applies the blood of Christ for actual cleansing
  • In the Old Testament, Levitical cleansing took place primarily through the sprinkling of blood, water, etc.; sometimes through pouring, and sometimes dipping or “wiping.” It is very hard to find an Old Testament ritual cleansing that requires immersion

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baptism meaning and mode19
BAPTISM: MEANING AND MODE
  • This is most important in view of Hebrews 9:10 which speaks of various ceremonial washings, or baptismois
  • In I Cor. 10:2, Israel is described as “baptized” into Moses; the only immersion that occurred in this context is the immersion of Pharaoh’s army, Ex. 14:28!

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baptism meaning and mode20
BAPTISM: MEANING AND MODE
  • Sprinkling and pouring appear to be the modes most often associated with the new covenant:
    • Jer. 31:31,33 cf. with Ezekiel 36:24-7 “sprinkle,” “cleanse”
    • Isa. 52:15, “sprinkle many nations”
  • Heb. 8, new covenant replaces Mosaic covenant
    • Heb. 9:11-15; 10:19-22, “baptisms” of Mosaic covenant; replaced by sprinkling of blood of Christ
    • I Peter 1:2, “sprinkling of blood of Christ”
    • Joel 2:2-32; Acts 2:17, promise of New Covenant, the pouring out of the Spirit

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baptism its subjects
BAPTISM: ITS SUBJECTS
  • Throughout the OT, the covenant promise was maintained that God would continue to bless children through the faith and obedience of their parents
    • Job 1:5, Job offers sacrifices for his children
    • Gen. 26:2-4 Abraham’s blessings are passed down through Isaac
    • Gen. 28:12-14, Abraham’s blessings are passed down through Jacob
    • I Kings 11:12-13,32; 15:4; II Kings 8:19; 19:34; II Chron. 21:7, the blessings of the Davidic covenant are passed down to David’s natural children
    • Deut. 7:9, Psalm 103:17-8, promise and blessing are extended to thousands of generations of descendants of God’s people
    • Deut. 4:37-8; 7:7-8, the blessings of Mosaic covenant flow to the children of covenant-keepers

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baptism its subjects22
BAPTISM: ITS SUBJECTS
  • This blessing on children required the parents to be responsible and rear their children in the fear of the Lord
    • Parents were to apply the covenant sign, Gen. 17:9-14; Ex. 4:24-6, etc.
    • Parents were to train their children, and teach the covenant to them, Gen. 18:19; Deut. 5:29; 6:6-9; 20-25; Psalm 78:1-8
    • Parents were to discipline their children properly, Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 29:15, 17
    • Parents were to protect their children from unbelief, Nehemiah 13:23-7

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baptism its subjects23
BAPTISM: ITS SUBJECTS
  • The NT applies the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant to believers and their children
    • By faith, NT believers are tied directly into the Abrahamic covenant, Gal.3:16-18; 26-29
    • Jesus blessed the infants, saying of such was the kingdom, Matt. 19:13-5; Mark 10:13-6; Luke 18:15-7
    • Peter affirmed that Jews in Jerusalem were included in Abrahamic covenant (after Pentecost), Acts 3:25-6
    • Peter spoke to the same group and offered continued covenantpromises to their natural children if they would repent, Acts 2:39

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baptism its subjects24
BAPTISM: ITS SUBJECTS
  • The NT applies the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant to believers and their children
    • The promise to the Philippian jailer, based on his (sing.) belief was the salvation of “you and your house.” Acts 16:31
    • By virtue of at least one believing parent, children are covenantally in a special relationship to God, “holy,” I Cor. 7:14
    • Thus, in NT, children of believers are considered to be in covenant relation with God
    • AND, remember I Cor. 10:2“All Israel”

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