Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

About a month ago, WTS Bookstore ran a special deal on Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children by Daniel Hyde. I had seen some people speak favorably of his presentation, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to pick up a number of copies for give-aways to help people understand why we in the Reformed tradition baptize the children of believers.

“Misunderstanding and false assumptions about infant baptism abound.”

A few things to keep in mind. Not all who baptize children do so for the same reasons. The reason why Reformed Churches follow this long-standing practice is different than why other parts of the church do. We don’t baptize any children, but only those who have one parent who professes faith in Christ and is a member of the local church.

One of my elders read the book at the same time I did. We had very different experiences reading the book. He found some parts confusing. But, having read numerous books on the subject of baptism, I was not confused by any of it. Perhaps there was unfamiliar terminology used. So, it is possible that this succinct treatment is not as accessible as I think it is.

In his introduction, he talks briefly about why this is such a hot button issue. He uses a quote from Spurgeon that I’ve often seen on the internet that implies that the practice is “Popery” and led to the damnation of countless millions. Spurgeon is failing to distinguish between the practice and the rationale. Outwardly, Reformed churches may look like Roman Churches in this regard, but our rationale is well-thought out and quite different from theirs. Popery it isn’t. But, is it biblical?


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I’ve been reading A Heart for God by Sinclair Ferguson.  I’ve read bits and pieces in the past when working on sermons.  But I decided to read the whole thing as solid, devotional material.  It works through the various names and attributes of God that we might know God better.

Yesterday I read his chapter on The Covenant Lord.  It is there that he talks about the hidden God- who seems to play hide-and-seek with us.  In talking about the cutting of the covenant in Genesis 15 he introduces this concept.

“The darkness may also symbolize God’s hiddenness.  As we will see, the promise was not immediately fulfilled.  Abraham, and all of God’s people, needed to learn to trust God in the darkness.  As Isaiah was later to say, ‘Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God’ (Isaiah 50:10).”

This is probably one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life- trusting God when he seems nowhere to be found and life is dark.  This is where I currently am.  I know his promise, and his character.  But I am in the inbetween times: between promise and fulfillment.  I am waiting for him to fulfill his calling in my life, and I am lost in darkness.  It is there that we must learn to walk by faith and not by sight, to rely on God while we wait in the dark.

“It is interesting that when Isaiah describes the return of the people from exile in Babylon in terms of the Exodus, he describes God as ‘a God who hides himself’ (Isaiah 45:15).  That is exactly what the Israelites must have felt: ‘God has hidden himself; He is not going to keep His promise.'”

Fear quickly sets in when things don’t go our way and we think God has failed us.  But he does not exist to fulfill our purposes but his.  We feel forsaken, but he is still working.  We are trapped in the short-run and our perspective needs to take in the long-run.  And, we need to know who has promised.

“This was the secret of Moses’ life: He held on to the promise of God, not because he immediately recognized how easily it would be fulfilled, but because it was God who had promised.”

Ferguson continues to trace the development of God’s covenant as it unfolds in the life of David.  He adds new promises to the covenant.  At times in David’s life it seemed as though all was lost.

“No human eye could detect whether God was keeping His word, or how He would fulfill it.  But faith does not depend on what can be seen!  … so David subordinated the current circumstances of his life to the plan he knew God would fulfill.  There is no other way to live in fellowship with the covenant Lord.”

  Ferguson ties the reality of 2 Corinthians 1:20, all God’s promises being ‘Amen’ or ‘Yes’ in Christ, in with the reading of the blessings and curses of the Law in Deuteronomy 27.  God’s people receive all the blessings by faith in Christ- they are ‘amen’.  Jesus bore all the curses- they too are ‘amen’.  God has kept his word, the word of his covenant.  Though he was often working out of our sight, though all often seemed lost, God is not just a covenant making God but a covenant keeping God.  And so we can rely on him in the midst of the darkness.

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