The first two major questions, i.e., what is the proper mode and who are the proper subjects for baptism, have been addressed. The third and final question to examine is:
What is the proper meaning or value of baptism?
Baptism is an ordinance of both the Church Visible and Invisible. It is a sign and seal of both the external and internal administration of God's Covenant of Grace.
As God's church and covenant have both an outward/visible aspect as well as an inward/invisible one, so their signs of entrance and membership are a twofold sign and seal. Both circumcision in the Old Testament and baptism in the New Testament are applied to all members of the Church Visible -those who are brought under the administration of God's covenant.
This twofold relationship to God's church and covenant is referred to in several places of Scripture. Some examples would include:
Paul states that an outward relationship is valuable, but warns that an inward relationship is necessary for salvation: "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 2:28-3:2).
Jesus informs Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, one related to God's covenant and church outwardly, "Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
John the Baptist warns "the children of Abraham," those outwardly related to God's church and covenant, not to trust in their external relationship:" And think not to say within
How does a person enter the Church Visible? the Church Invisible? How is baptism involved?