God’s Sign of Baptism

Date: AM
Text: Romans 6; Lord's Day 26
Psalters: 177, 89, 234, 396
  1. Its institution.
    1. Before baptism, God first gave circumcision as a sign of our being forgiven by demonstrating separation from our sins.
      1. First, the cutting away of a piece of flesh represented the cutting of the sins of the flesh (Col. 2:11).
      2. Second, this sign indicated His people were separated from the world.
      3. God always taught that real circumcision was of the heart (Deut. 10:15; Jer. 4:4; Rom. 2:29).
    2. Baptism came in the place of circumcision, having the same meaning (Col. 2:11,12).
  2. Baptism’s meaning.
    1. Real baptism (like real circumcision) is spiritual and speaks of spiritual washing and cleansing (Titus 3:5).
    2. In addition to washing is the idea of our incorporation into Christ: “buried with Him” into His death and we “are risen with Him.”
      1. We are so cleansed in Jesus’ sacrifice that we are pure enough to have fellowship with the Holy One.
      2. This is the meaning of the formula Jesus has us use: “in the name of …” means into fellowship with the Triune God.
    3. This is our real experience when our faith takes hold of God’s powerful work of raising Jesus from the dead.
  3. The sacrament assures believers.
    1. Our conscience can be free (good) toward God because baptism assures us that all our sins have been forgiven us.
    2. My baptism gives me powerful incentive to live an antithetical life, i.e., he is an enemy to worldliness.
    3. And the knowledge of my baptism gives me strength to fulfill my calling and to bear life’s burdens.
    4. Finally, when I fall into sin, I must not despair of God’s unchanging mercy and forgiveness.
    5. Let us remind ourselves that we were baptized and let us remember what it signifies: washed by and with Christ.