04 July 2009

Lord's Day 27 Heidelberg Catechism

Lord's Day 27

Scripture Reading: Genesis 17; Acts 2:39; Galatians 3:23-29; Colossians 2:11-12

Question 72. Does the outward washing with water itself wash away sins?
Answer. No, only the blood of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.

Question 73. Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins?
Answer. God has good reason for these words, intending to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ wash away our sins just as water washes away dirt from our bodies. But more important, God intends to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that the washing away of our sins spiritually is as real as physical washing with water.

Question 74. Should infants, too, be baptized?
Answer. Yes. Infants as well as adults are in God's covenant and belong to God's people. They, no less than adults, are promised the forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit who gives faith. Therefore, by baptism, the sign of the covenant, infants should be received into the Christian church and should be distinguished from the children of unbelievers. This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision, which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.

For reflection and discussion:

What potential harm exists from an incorrect view of baptism?
What are the implications of this view verses "believer's baptism"?

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