X-Sender: benschop@nic.cc.ruu.nl
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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
     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

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

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-030.txt