April 12: School & Family Catechist, WSC Q. 94


THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST
by Rev. William Smith (1834)

The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 94. What is baptism?

A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.

EXPLICATION.

Baptism. –This word properly signifies washing, sprinkling, or pouring out, for the purpose of cleansing.

Washing with water. –This points out the cleansing efficacy or power of the blood and Spirit of Christ; for, as water cleanses the body, so the blood of Christ purifies the soul from sin, when it is applied to the conscience of the sinner, by the Holy Spirit, in the exercise of true and saving faith, on the part of the former.

In the name of the Father, &c. –This signifies, not only, that we are baptized by the authority of the glorious Three-one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; but that, in this ordinance, we are solemnly dedicated or given up to him as our God and everlasting portion, and that we profess, and are bound, to be his servants for ever.

Signify and seal. –Point out, and make sure, in the same manner as a seal fixed to a writing, confirms the deed contained in it, and makes it binding in point of law.

Our ingrafting into Christ. –Our close and intimate union to Christ, here pointed out by the figure of ingrafting branches into a tree.

Partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace. –Sharing in the blessings and privileges of the gospel of Christ, such as the pardon of our sins, the sanctification of our natures, and such like.

Our engagement to be the Lord’s. –Our making a solemn promise, by which we seriously bind, or give up, ourselves to the service of Christ, and to remain always at his disposal and direction.

ANALYSIS.

In this answer we learn six things concerning the nature of baptism :

1.  That it is a sacrament, or religious ceremony, in which washing with water is used. –Acts x. 47. Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized.

2. That this washing with water is in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. –Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

3. That this washing signifies our ingrafting into Christ. –Rom. vi. 3. Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death. –Gal. iii. 27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.

4. That it is also intended to point out our partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace. –1 Cor. xii. 13. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, –and  have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

5. That it is also significant of our engagement to be the Lord’s. –Rom. vi. 4. We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

6. That this washing with water, not only signifies our partaking of these benefits, and our being thus engaged to be the Lord’s, but it also seals, or ratifies and confirms the whole. –Rom. iv. 11. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had.


Lastly, a little extra something today, sent along by my co-author, Rev. David T. Myers, courtesy of Mary Spraitzer:

How the Virus Stole Easter
By Kristi Bothur
[With a nod to Dr. Seuss 😊]

Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.

As winter gave way to the promise of spring, The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.

April approached and churches were closed.
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.
“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”

Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest.
The world was focused on masks and on tests.
“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed.
“Online and at home, it just won’t be the same.”

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it just would not relent.
The world woke Sunday and nothing had changed.
The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.

“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world was grumbling.
“They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.
“They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, And then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.

“That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.”
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.
And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies.
It started down low, then it started to rise.

But the sound wasn’t depressed.
Why, this sound was triumphant!
It couldn’t be so!
But it grew with abundance!

The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!
Every saint in every nation, the tall and the small, Was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!
It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came!

Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine Stood puzzling and puzzling.
“Just how can it be?”
“It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies, It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”

Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
And what happened then?

Well….the story’s not done.
What will YOU do?
Will you share with that one
Or two or more people needing hope in this night?

Will you share the source of your life in this fight?
The churches are empty – but so is the tomb, And Jesus is victor over death, doom, and gloom.
So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer, As the virus still rages all around, everywhere.
May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people.

May the world see the church is not a building or steeple.
May the world find Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.
May 2020 be known as the year of survival, But not only that – Let it start a revival.

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