In this section of the Baptist Larger Catechism, we begin our discussion on the baptism. These questions discusses the definition of baptism, the administration of baptism, and how baptism is a means of grace for believers. These questions are an extension of questions 100, 101, and 103 in the Keach Catechism. The question on baptism as a means of grace is based on question 167 in the Westminster Larger Catechism.
A discussion on the proper subjects on baptism will be given next week. As before, feel free to comment on the questions below.
Q. 152: What is baptism?
A: Baptism is a sacrament of positive and sovereign institution of the New Testament, ordained and appointed by Jesus Christ to be continued in His church to the end of the world.1 For believers, baptism is a sign of our union and fellowship with Christ,2 of the remission of our sins through His blood,3 of regeneration by His Spirit,4 of adoption,5 resurrection unto everlasting life,6 and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.7
7. Romans 6:4
Q. 153: How should baptism be administered?
A: Those who are appointed to preach the gospel are the ones who are appointed to baptize.1 The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.2 Immersion, or dipping of the parson in water, is necessary to the due administration of this sacrament.3
Q. 154: How do we continue to use our baptism?
A: We have a necessary but frequently neglected obligation to use our baptism our whole lives, particularly in times of temptation and when we are present at the baptism of others.1 We should seriously and thankfully reflect on what is involved in baptism, why Christ established it, the privileges and benefits conferred and signified by it, and the significance of our own solemn vows when we were baptized.2 This reflection humbles us when we recognize how defiled we are by sin and how far short we fall of living up to, and indeed walk so contrary to the standards set by the grace of baptism and by our other spiritual commitments.3 We are also assured of pardon from sin and of all the other blessings signified in that sacrament.4 We draw strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we were baptized, in order to keep killing our sins and becoming alive by His grace.5 We are also spurred on to live by faith,6 to have our human relationships defined by holiness and righteousness,7 as is proper for those who have given up their names to Christ,8 and to walk with each other in brotherly love, as is proper for those baptized by the same Spirit into one body.9
2. Romans 6:3-5
5. Romans 6:2-5
7. Romans 6:22
8. Acts 2:38