Baptism is the sacramental sign of the New . It is a sign by which seals His pledge to the elect that they are included in the of .

Baptism signifies several things. In the first instance, it is a sign of and the remission of our sins. It also signifies being regenerated by the , being buried and raised together with , being indwelt by the , being adopted into the family of God, and being sanctified by the .

Baptism was instituted by Christ and is to be administered in the name of , Son, and Holy Spirit. The outward sign does not automatically or magically convey the realities that are signified. For example, though baptism signifies regeneration, or , it does not automatically convey . The power of baptism is not in the water but in the power of God.

The reality to which points may be present before or after the sign of baptism is given. In the , the sign of the covenant was . was, among other things, a sign of faith. In the case of adults, such as , faith came prior to the sign of . With the children of believers, however, the sign of was given prior to their possession of faith, as was the case with . Likewise, in the New Covenant, Reformed requires adult converts to be after making a profession of faith, while their children receive baptism before they profess faith.

Baptism signifies a washing with water. The command to may be fulfilled by immersion, dipping, or sprinkling. The word to baptize includes all three possibilities.

The validity of baptism does not rest upon the character of the minister who performs it or the character of the person who receives it. Baptism is a sign of the promise of God of to all who believe in Christ. Since it is God’s promise, the validity of the promise rests on the trustworthiness of the character of God.

Because baptism is the sign of God’s promise, it is not to be administered to a person more than once. To be baptized more than once is to cast a shadow of doubt on the and sincerity of God’s promise. Surely those who have been baptized two or more times do not intend to cast doubt on God’s , but the action, if properly understood, would communicate such doubt. It is every ’s duty, however, to be baptized. It is not an empty , but a sacrament commanded by our .

Summary

  1. Baptism is the sacramental sign of the New Covenant.
  2. Baptism has multiple significance.
  3. Baptism was instituted by Christ and is to be administered with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  4. Baptism does not automatically convey rebirth.
  5. Baptism may be administered by immersion, sprinkling, or dipping in water.
  6. The validity of baptism rests upon the integrity of God’s promise and should only be administered to a person once.

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