What happens to young children who die?

Genevan Book of Church Order (1556): “[Covenant children are] contained under the name of God’s people … Remission of sins in the blood of Christ Jesus doth appertain unto them by God’s promise … Paul … pronounceth the children begotten and born (either of the parents being faithful) to be clean and holy [I Cor. 7:14] … The Holy Ghost assures us that infants be of the number of God’s people and that remission of sins doth also appertain to them in Christ … Almighty God [is] their Father. [They are] His children bought with the blood of His dear Son.”

Belgic Confession (1561): “Therefore we detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers, who we believe ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant,

as the children in Israel formerly were circumcised upon the same promises which are made unto our children. And indeed Christ shed His blood no less for the washing of the children of believers than for adult persons; and therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of that which Christ has done for them; as the Lord commanded in the law that they should be made partakers of the sacrament of Christ’s suffering and death shortly after they were born, by offering for them a lamb, which was a sacrament of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what circumcision was to the Jews, baptism is to our children. And for this reason St. Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ” (article 34).

Heidelberg Catechism (1563): “Are infants also to be baptized? Yes, for since they, as well as their parents, belong to the covenant and people of God, and through the blood of Christ both redemption from sin and the Holy Ghost, who works faith, are promised to them no less than to their parents, they are also by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, to be ingrafted into the Christian church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers, as was done in the Old Testament by circumcision, in place of which in the New Testament baptism is appointed” (Q. & A. 74).

Second Helvetic Confession (1566): “We condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that newborn infants of the faithful are to be baptized. For according to evangelical teaching, of such is the Kingdom of God (Luke 18:16), and they are in the covenant of God (Acts 3:25). Why, then, should the sign of God’s covenant not be given to them? Why should those who belong to God and are in his Church not be initiated by holy baptism?” (chapter 20).

Canons of Dordt (1618-1619): “… the children of believers are holy not by nature but by virtue of the covenant of grace in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended. Godly parents have no reason to doubt the election and salvation of those their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (I Cor. 7:14; Gen. 17:7; Isa. 59:21; Acts 2:39)” (I:17).

God’s sovereign election governs the salvation of all whether they die in the womb or shortly after birth or of a good old age. The elect are saved and the reprobate lost as with Esau and Jacob chosen before birth. We have every right to expect the children of believers to be elect if they die at a young age-JK

 

Covenant Baptism

 

So you call yourself a Reformed Baptist! Well you are a Baptist but not Reformed: hear Heidelberg Catechism Q. 74.  Are infants also to be baptized?
A.  Yes; for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant and church of God; and since redemption from sin by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the Christian church, and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision, instead of which baptism is instituted in the new covenant.

 

The proof for the baptism of NT believer’s children is overwhelming from Genesis to Revelation. Take the Psalms. Look at the promises of Psalms 18:50, 25:13, 37:26, 89:4,29,36, 102:28, 112:2. In all instances the seed of believers are blessed, endure forever or inherit so they must be believing!

When we come to the New Testament just a few verses from Acts and the epistles underline and bolster our doctrine, they can be classed like this: the elect children of believers (seed of the covenant) have:

1. The Promise of salvation (Acts 2:38) as in Gen.17:7.

2. Are addressed as church members (Eph. 6:4, Col.3:20) AND need to be fed (John 21:15).

3. Ought to have the covenant sign as they did in O.T. (because circumcision and baptism mean exactly the same namely are signs of true circumcision of the heart/spiritual baptism).

4. Family baptism was the norm ( Household of Stephanus, Lydia, Philippian jailer).

5. The signs of circumcision and water baptism are seals of the reality sealed by circumcision of the heart and Spirit baptism namely washing away of sin, imputed righteousness, regeneration (Rom.4:11, Eph.1:13, 4:30). Eph.4:4-6 speaks of one body (OT plus NT saints), ONE BAPTISM (not to be repeated). The real circumcision (Phil.3:3) are spiritual worshippers of all ages who are spiritually circumcised and hence should be physically baptised. Both circumcision and baptism are:

  • Initiation into God’s covenant people.
  • Washing away of sin.
  • Death to sin and justification.

Furthermore we see the generational principle promised in I Tim.1:5 and Timothy himself as a little child (Gr: BREPHOS, same as Matthew 18:6) knew the OT scriptures!

Another Reformed creed (The Belgic Confession) states: “therefore we detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers, whom we believe ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as the children in Israel formerly were circumcised, upon the same promises which are made unto our children. And indeed Christ shed his blood no less for the washing of the children of the faithful, than for adult persons; and therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of that, which Christ hath done for them; as the Lord commanded in the law, that they should be made partakers of the sacrament of Christ’s suffering and death, shortly after they were born, by offering for them a lamb, which was a sacrament of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what circumcision was to the Jews, that baptism is for our children. And for this reason Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ. ”

If this does not convince you, you are an Anabaptist who has not studied the Scriptures properly!

Seeking things above

Could be subtitled, ” Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

Colossians 3:1-4

Sermon by Rev. Martyn McGeown of Limerick Reformed Fellowship Sept 2nd 2018 on occasion of baptisms of Chester and Dale Mansona.

Christians are to seek things above because they are united to Christ in his death and resurrection. We use earthly things to further the kingdom. David Livingstone said, “I place no value on anything I have except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” We died to the rule of sin and to the world. Spirit baptism just described, is signified by water baptism.

Sermon

Practical applications-JK

  • Find and join a true church.
  • Live close enough to attend all services and BS/catechism
  • Serve in that church using all your gifts
  • Make daily personal and family devotions a priority
  • Raise your children in the fear of God
  • Witness as opportunity presents
  • Pray without ceasing
  • Be a faithful steward of all you have-body, possessions. money and give generously.

Circumcision equals baptism.

 

That there is one covenant of God in all ages, with Christ as the head and mediator, and his people, the blessed recipients, is sound Reformed teaching. The Biblical proof is everywhere but I will just refer to one powerful proof: ” circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:29). True circumcision, signified by the outward rite is spiritual, and equates to regeneration and justification (Abraham the prime example!). This is what the sign of baptism also signifies, namely new life in Christ as the N.T. believer is united to Christ in his death and resurrection (Romans 6:4-6) by regeneration and subsequent justification. So the reality of circumcision of the heart equals baptism into Christ and the sign of circumcision of the body equates with baptism of the body. Both were, and should be, given to the covenant seed of believers! One covenant, one people, one promise, one elect seed, in ALL AGES! Hence Paul juxtaposes them, “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.” (Colossians 2:11,12).

By the way, the burial is spiritual, Christ did not go down into the earth and recipients of baptism ought not go down into water, they should be sprinkled upon or water poured upon them, signifying the sprinkling of the blood of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them!

Baptism of infants of believers.

Powerful New Testament teaching that elect infants of believers are regenerate!

Therefore are to receive the NT sign of church membership!

  • Children of believers are models to adults of salvation in their humility and passivity (Christ)
  • Children of believers are said by Jesus to believe in him (Matthew 18:6)
  • Children of believers are protected by angels hence saved (Hebrews 1:3)
  • Christ came to save children (Matt.18:11)
  • Irresistible will of God to save them (Matt.18:14)
  • Jesus believed in the regeneration of elect children (quotes Psalm 8:2)
  • John leaped for joy in the womb.
  • Mary believed in the multi-generational covenant with Abraham (Luke 1:50,55)
  • Children of believers, even infants are in the kingdom of God hence born again (Luke 18:15)
  • Children of believers are Christ’s lambs with spiritual life needing fed (John 20:15).

From Belgic Confession class by Rev. Angus Stewart at Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena.

Listen here: http://www.cprc.co.uk/belgic34t.mp3

Why we baptize infant children of believers.

 

Belgic confession 34..”Therefore we believe, that every man, who is earnestly studious of obtaining life eternal, ought to be but once baptized with this only baptism, without ever repeating the same: since we cannot be born twice. Neither doth this baptism only avail us, at the time when the water is poured upon us, and received by us, but also through the whole course of our life; therefore we detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers, whom we believe ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as the children in Israel formerly were circumcised, upon the same promises which are made unto our children. And indeed Christ shed his blood no less for the washing of the children of the faithful, than for adult persons; and therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of that, which Christ hath done for them; as the Lord commanded in the law, that they should be made partakers of the sacrament of Christ’s suffering and death, shortly after they were born, by offering for them a lamb, which was a sacrament of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what circumcision was to the Jews, that baptism is for our children. And for this reason Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ.”

Listen to Scripture,” But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6 and “And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” Matthew 21:16– So because of all the Old Testament promises e.g. Gen.17:7, Isaiah 44:3 and those in New Testament Acts 2:39 that God’s covenant and election continues in the line of generations and because both faith and sincere praise are the fruit of regeneration they rightly get the sign of this!

Mode of Baptism

Notes from CPRC Bible study.

Baptism is not by immersion if:

  • the object is too big (tables Mark 7:4)
  • the object is in an unsuitable position (standing Paul Acts 9:18)
  • the object did not get wet (Noah, Israelites at Red Sea)
  • when baptism means something else (Christ’s sufferings, Hebrews sprinkling, Acts pouring)
  • when there are too many people (Acts 2 and John’s baptism of thousands)
  • when there is not enough water (Acts 8)
  • when it is necessarily ubiquitous w.g Arctic, desrts.
  • if baptism is by pouring  or sprinkling (Acts 2, Hebrews 9, Numbers 4:3,8:7-Christ’s initiation into priesthood)

The sign is WASHING, NOT A WATERY GRAVE. The problem is SIN NEEDING CLEANSED, new life follows.

The essential meaning of baptism is a RADICAL CHANGE nothing else.

Christ’s burial was a sideways entombment not a down into the ground. Spirit baptism which is what is meant to be signified by water baptism is an outpouring of the third person of the trinity onto the elect recipient. We are not immersed in the Spirit and then taken out of him! Baptism in essence means a radical change, there are many Scriptural baptisms where no-one saved got wet (Israelites at Red Sea, Noah, Christ’s in his sufferings etc). Baptism does not necessitate immersion, in fact it is the wrong mode. Christ’s blood sprinkles our evil consciences and Jeremiah prophesied clean water sprinkled upon God’s elect. http://www.cprf.co.uk/articles/meaningofbaptism.htm…

Romans 6 is about……Spirit baptism NOT water baptism. Spirit baptism is from above (John 3:3,5), washing of regeneration is what it pictures, death and resurrection are secondary as we are united to Christ BY the Spirit.

Grace and the Holy Spirit

All of God’s grace comes to us by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Person of the Spirit is the purchase of Christ’s blood and the one who effects all his ministry in us.

  1. Christ prays that the Father sends the Spirit and both Father and Son dispense him to us (Acts 2:33). He is poured out upon us in Spirit baptism.
  2. He continually supplies the Spirit, who is the chief means of our mortifying the flesh (Rom.8:13).
  3. Owen speaks of the habit of grace, the new heart, the permanent residence of the Spirit,  the source of the seven-fold fruit.
  4. He speaks separately of actual grace which is transient and consists God’s enabling of all the good works he has decreed for us (Eph. 2:10, Phil.2:13). This may wax and wane.
  5. The Spirit continually purifies (sanctifies) as the blood of sprinkling.

All this grace is irresistible effecting our salvation from beginning to end.

It should be obvious that in both the initial reception of the Spirit and his on-going work the sign with water of pouring and sprinkling is the only one which adequately and correctly portrays the reality of his work (not immersion!).

Adapted from “Communion with God” by John Owen.