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covenant promise made externally in baptism. As God delights to work salvation through blessing His means of grace, and as He has promised in baptism that He will continue to do so, therefore parents may be encouraged to actively employ God's means of grace in raising their children, pleading and anticipating, in faith, God's fulfillment of His promise in their lives. Children and young people are also encouraged to also actively plead for the fulfillment of their baptismal promise in this way.

This active pleading for, and anticipation of, the fulfillment of God's promise must be clearly distinguished from falsely believing or presuming that children have already received the fulfillment of the promise in baptism. Water baptism applied outwardly must be clearly distinguished from spiritual baptism applied inwardly.

The benefits of water baptism and external covenant/church relationship also carry their accompanying responsibilities. "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48b). The despising of God's outward baptismal and covenant/ church relationship blessings, is very serious. Jesus warns us that it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who were under His gospel administration and promise but despised these rich benefits (Matthew 10:14-15). Esau was circumcised, but he despised his special birthright and blessings, and never found true repentance or conversion (Hebrews 12:16-17). The following story provides an example of one "profaning and despising his outward baptism/ covenant/church birthright" today.

    Marvin was born into a Christian family. As an infant, he was baptized into a Christian church. When reaching school age, he was enrolled in a Christian school. Each of these reflected gracious birthright blessings given to Marvin by God's grace. He did not earn any of them; he was no more deserving than others who did not receive them.
    Marvin is now sixteen years old. A few years ago, he began to resent, rather than value, God's gifts to him of the means of grace and separation from the world. This grew worse, and he now openly despises his special, Godgiven birthright privileges. When church songs are played, he doesn't sing, but when the world's rock music is played, he joins in eagerly. He sees church services as boring, but


Then began He to upbraid. the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

-Matthew 11:20-24

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though, he sought it carefully with tears.

-Hebrews 12:16-17


What does the following statement mean? "Infant baptism .calls us to look back in faith upon God's objective promise to His covenant family, but also to look forward in faith to the subjective promise fulfillment."

At this time, Marvin's values are distorted and reversed. Why?

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