Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A token and proof of our cleansing

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 15 - Baptism
1-6 - Sign of forgiveness and participation in Christ
1. Baptism signals our admission into the church. It is proof of our cleansing. It is more than a sign of our confession. Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16.
2. The washing of baptism doesn't save, in itself, but points to the blood of Christ, where alone our cleansing comes from. Eph 5:26; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21.
3. Baptism doesn't just "cover" past sins, but all sin, by faith. If men sin willfully, "counting on impunity," they "provoke nothing but God's wrath and judgment."
4. Absolution for sin by the church's power of the keys refers back to baptism, not "the fictitious sacrament of penance." To find assurance for our forgiveness, we "may venture to remind [our]selves of [our] baptism."
5. Baptism is a blessing by faith it unites us to with Christ's death so our sins die, and we live by His Spirit - Rom 6:3-5, 8. 11; Col 2:11-12; Tit 3:5.
6. Christ Himself was baptized - Matt 3:13. We put on Christ in baptism - Gal 3:26-27. The apostles baptized in His name - Acts 8:16; 19:5. But we should baptize in all 3 Persons - Matt 28:19. The Father set the Mediator before us; and by the Spirit alone are we regenerated. For our salvation, we have "in the Father the cause, in the Son the matter, and in the Spirit the effect." This fits with John's baptism of repentance - Matt 3:6; 11; Luke 3:16; John 3:23; 4:1; Acts 2:38, 41.

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