With part 1 we looked at the fact that infant baptism is not supported by the Word of God. Today, we will learn about the perversions of God’s Word that those who espouse infant baptism use to defend and/or justify their unbiblical practice. Some folks have a very simplistic way of viewing baptism regardless of the mode, practice, and message behind it. However, infant baptism is not a mere ceremony, which after it is performed, is an event that is no longer significant, nor is it an isolated ordinance.
Consider the following Scripture: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). Dear reader, do you see it? The order of the Great Commission is imperative and is to be observed, followed, and practiced. First of all, one MUST believe and secondly, baptism comes after, and this is known as “believer’s baptism.”
Biblical baptism is a result of an inward change upon the lost sinner becoming born again. Because the Lord now dwells within a new convert there is a new character as well. To baptize an infant is to do so regardless of the inward change and therefore though still an infant remains in the spiritual status of a lost sinner. The infant cannot make a public profession of faith in Christ Jesus nor does the infant have any ability whatsoever to repent and trust Christ as Savior.
One of the explanations given by those who practice infant baptism is: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). A supportive verse given by those who practice infant baptism is: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy” (1st Cor. 7:14). They believe that there is a sense in which the children of even one believing parent are made holy; and that they are set apart from the world by God.
Let’s take an expository look at these two verses. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children…” The Greek translation of “children” in this verse is: τέκνον, ου, τό (teknon) and is defined as: a child, descendent, inhabitant. The use of this term by Peter, is in the sense of posterity. Another perversion of this passage is that the promise related to the blessings pledged in the “covenant with Abraham.” The “promise” as stated by Peter, was the gift of the Holy Ghost to believers. With this perversion they maintain that the “gospel” covenant is a continuance of the covenant of circumcision.
They will quote Genesis 17:7 which says, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” One other perversion of this passage, is the claim that Peter means by “the promise,” that infants are to be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and be taken into the church. Some parents who become members of the church will ask, “what about my children? Shouldn’t they be allowed to become members as well?” These ministers will quickly say, “why yes, indeed they should be included and by all means that great promise of God’s being to you a God, is as much to you and your children now, as it ever was.”
The Presbyterians are widely known for their practice of infant baptism and in accordance with the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) Chapter 28 titled: ‘Of Baptism,’ para. #4 states: “Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, (but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized”). The Presbyterians also believe that the New Testament texts commanding baptism are always more, and not less, inclusive than circumcision.
Regarding baptism Presbyterians believe that there is 1) continuity of the covenant of grace, 2) that there is a parallelism between baptism and circumcision, 3) the setting apart of believers and their children, 4) the expansion, rather than the contraction of that covenant, and 5) Jesus’ willingness to richly bless children brought to him by parents who trusted in him. Furthermore, they believe that those who are children of Abraham by faith, just like those who were once children of Abraham by birth, should give their children the sign and seal of the gospel, and pray that they will come to understand and believe the gospel their parents hold to.
Presbyterians also believe that to withhold or neglect the baptism of an infant to be a “great sin,” although they don’t consider it to be so critical in its importance that grace and salvation are inseparably annexed or joined to it. Remember, the term “children” does not biblically refer to infants. Presbyterians strongly hold to the circumcision being a sacramental sign that sealed a righteousness which the patriarch already had, by faith, as an uncircumcised man.
More to come…
Many people err in their understanding of this doctrine. Not every action or “common grace” by God is irresistible, but His saving grace IS.
Once again Brian Borgman does an excellent job making this doctrine clear.
Our family sat together this evening and found this gracious message from Dr. Steve Lawson. What an incredible testimony of the grace of God that points clearly and unequivocally to the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ in the entire Scriptures.
c. It is the frame of spirit that shows the habitual character of this grace of contentment. Contentment is not merely one act—just a flash in a good mood. You find many men and women who, if they are in a good mood, will be very quiet. But this will not hold. It is not the constant tenor of their spirits to be holy and gracious under affliction.
— Contentment is a gracious frame, opposed to natural quietness. Indeed, in contentment there is a compound of all graces. But now the gracious frame of spirit is in opposition to three things:
a. In opposition to the natural quietness of many men and women. Some are so constituted by nature that they are more still and quiet. Others are of a violent and hot constitution, and they are more impatient.
b. In opposition to a sturdy resolution. Some men through the strength of a sturdy resolution do not seem to be troubled, come what may. So they are not disquieted as much as others.
c. By way of distinction from the strength of natural (though unsanctified) reason that may quiet the heart in some degree. But now I say that a gracious frame of spirit is not merely a stillness of the body that comes from its natural constitution and temper, nor a sturdy resolution, nor the strength of reason.
You will ask, “In what way is the grace of contentment distinguished from all these?” Where contentment of heart springs from grace, the heart is very quick and lively in the service of God! The difference is very clear: The one whose disposition is quiet is not disquieted as others are, but neither does he show any activeness of spirit to sanctify the name of God in his affliction. But, on the other hand, he whose contentment is of grace keeps his heart quiet with regard to vexation and trouble and at the same time is not dull or heavy, but very active to sanctify God’s name in the affliction that he is experiencing.
I will give you just one mark of the difference between a man or woman who is content in a natural way and one who is content in a spiritual way: Those who are content in a natural way when outward afflictions befall them are just as content when they commit sin against God. When they have outward crosses or when God is dishonored, it is all one to them whether they themselves are crossed or whether God is crossed. But a gracious heart that is contented with its own affliction will rise up strongly when God is dishonored.
Contentment is an inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit. It is an inward frame of spirit and a gracious frame. Contentment is a soul business.
a. It is a grace that spreads itself through the whole soul. In some, there is a partial contentment. It is not the [whole] frame of the soul, but [only] some part of the soul has some contentment. Many a man may be satisfied in his judgment about a thing, who cannot for his life rule his affections, his thoughts, or his will. I do not doubt that many of you know this in your own experience, if you observe the workings of your own hearts.
But there is a great deal of hope of attaining contentment, if you can sit down and say, “I see good reason to be contented.” Yet even when you have [gotten this] far, you may still have much to do with your hearts afterwards. There is such unruliness in our thoughts and affections that our judgments are not always able to rule them. That is what makes me say that contentment is an inward frame of spirit. The whole soul—judgment, thoughts, will, affections—all are satisfied and quiet.
b. Spiritual contentment comes from the frame of the soul. The contentment of a man or woman who is rightly content does not come so much from outward arguments or help, as from the disposition of their own hearts. Let me explain myself. Someone is disturbed. If you come and bring some great thing to please him, perhaps it will quiet him, and he will be “contented.” It is the thing you bring that quiets him, not the disposition of his own spirit, but the external thing you bring him. But when a Christian is content in the right way, the quiet comes more from the disposition of his own heart than from any external argument or from the possession of anything in the world. To be content because of some external thing is like warming a man’s clothes by the fire. But to be content through an inward disposition of the soul is like the warmth that a man’s clothes have from the natural heat of the body.
Years ago, I heard a testimony by a man who said that he was determined to not get offended. At the time, I thought that was an interesting goal but not one I’d ever considered. The older I get, the more I realize what a worthy goal that is. How many relationships have ceased, or at least been greatly strained, because one person became offended over something another person did or didn’t do.
I can’t say that I have mastered this but it is something that I am asking God’s help in. I find that, often, the person who caused the offense does not realize they have done so and, in this age of not wanting to offend others, the offended does not follow the Biblical principle of going to their friend to let them know they’re hurt or offended. This is so sad!
One thing that helps me is realizing that I am not always easy to get along with either. There really is something to showing the grace to others that you would like to receive in return.If someone has offended you to the point that it is affecting your relationship, I would recommend that you go to that person and talk to them. Explain that you were offended by their actions and how you would like things to play out in the future.
If they listen and are willing to work through things, you have saved your relationship. If they aren’t, then you may need to distance but at least you did what you could. Then ask God to give you a pure heart toward that person. If you continue to let it fester, it could turn into bitterness, which may affect other relationships and will hinder your relationship with God. Pray too that God will give you an open heart if you are struggling with bitterness over a damaged relationship. Humility is the best path to pursue when striving to walk the path toward the future.