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Page 419

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?




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