X-Sender: email@example.com X-Organization: IPB Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Thu, 17 Aug 1995 10:07:38 +0200 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: Catechism, 30 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Q. What are the sacraments? A. They are holy signs and seals instituted by God, thereby to assure us, that he of grace grants us remission of sins, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ finished on the cross. The sacraments are signs, instituted by God, which assure us of the truth of God's promises. God said, that He is willing to grant us remission of sins, and eternal life. With the sacraments, He confirms that promise. There is no need of doubt anymore. God promised it in His Word, and confirms it by the sacraments. They seal the truth of God, and all His sayings. Christ died on the cross, and finished there the sacrifice of Himself. He did so for all that believe in Him as their only Mediator. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my (Christ's) word, and believeth on him (God the Father) that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24) The sacraments are instituted for the help of those, who are weak in their belief. Some dare not to believe it. "Died Christ also for me, such a wretched sinner as I am?" They think the remission of sins a sake, too great for them. They hope on God's salvation, but they think themselves too black for that. They believe of course God's Word; they also believe that the salvation is for other people; but "is it also for me?" They doubt, and cannot come to a firm belief. For such people, the sacraments, being visible seals and signs of God's promises - for such people, the sacraments are very useful. When they cannot, or dare not believe, when they hear it, maybe, they will believe when they see it. Q. How many sacraments has Christ instituted in the New Testament? A. Two: holy baptism, and the holy supper. Note these things: - Christ instituted the sacraments; - We speak about the times of the New Testament; - Two sacraments; no more or less; Christ instituted the sacraments. That means, that we must do His will, and not invent some extra sacraments, nor neglect to use them. Q. Which is the outward sign in baptism? A. The water, with which we are baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. We use common water in baptism, as the outward sign. Not sacred water, but common, as appears from the examples written down in the New Testament. They baptised in Jordan, a river of common water. When Philip baptised the eunuch, it was after "they came unto a certain water. And the eunuch said, See, water; what doth hinder me to be baptised?" (Acts 8:36) With water, we are baptised in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This Jesus commanded His disciples, before He was received up into heaven, saying: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". (Matthew 28:19) Q. What does that signify and seal? A. The washing away of sins by the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ. The baptising with water is not the washing away of sins itself, for only a true belief cleanses of all sins. But baptism signifies the washing away of sins. Like water washes one's external body, so also Christ's blood washes away the sins of the believers. Baptism signifies that. It shows the forgiveness and the cleansing in a picture. It not only signifies the remission of sins, but also seals it. It says not that every baptised child has its sins forgiven, but it seals the truth of God's promise, that, whoever believes in Him, his sins will be washed away. Some days after Saul was called by the Lord Christ, Ananias said to him: "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16) Here, baptism is called the "washing away of sins". It is a sign and seal of Christ's blood, whereof is written: "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) Q. Where has Christ promised and assured us of this? A. In the institution of baptism; which is as follows: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be damned." In the institution of baptism, Christ commanded His servants, that they must go into the world, preach the gospel, and baptise. Note, that the salvation does not depend on baptism, but on faith. He that believes and is baptised shall be saved. But one, maybe that he is baptised, but when he not believes, he shall not be saved. He that does not believe, shall be damned. Let we then not make a superstitious use of baptism, but let we stress the decisive importance of believing. Q. Are infants also to be baptised? A. Yes; for they, as well as the adult, are comprehended in the covenant of God, and in his church. Like the little boys in the Old Testament were circumcised, so also we baptise our young children. The little boys are circumcised, though they were still unable to believe. So also we baptise our children, though they are young and unable to believe. If one of the parents believes, then also the children are holy, as Paul says: "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." (1 Corinthians 7:14) And in another place, "Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14) If Christ allowed the little children to come to Him, yea, even forbade them who hindered the children - if the children came to Jesus, so they are also to be baptised. They belong, as well as the adult, to God's covenant, and to His church. And therefore, they have the sign and seal of baptism on them. ------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-030.txt .