Do these references reflect the language of the Church Visible or Invisible? Why?
without their knowledge, partakers of the condemnation in Adam, so are they again received unto grace in Christ."
"Almighty God and merciful Father, we thank and praise Thee, that Thou has forgiven us, and our children, all our sins, through the blood of Thy eternal Son Jesus Christ, and received us through Thy Holy Spirit as members of thine only begotten Son and adopted us to be Thy children, and sealed and confirmed the same unto us by Holy Baptism."
This confusion of interpretation arises from not properly understanding the following:
1. The perspective from which our Reformed forefathers wrote this form and all our liturgical forms and doctrinal standards. Our forefathers chose to write all our forms and standards from the perspective of the saved church, the Church Invisible. They chose to do this because:
The Church Invisible is the essence of the church. The Church Visible is only an outward manifestation of it. It is not its core reality.
All must be members of the Church Invisible to be saved; therefore no person should be content with Church Visible membership or its external benefits. Our forefathers wanted no one to rest short of true salvation and the essence of God's covenant.
Rev. De Gier writes concerning this point, "Our Reformed forefathers have written all of our liturgical forms from out of the essence of the Covenant of GraceThey
have consistently done this in order to focus upon the demand God places upon man to come to true repentance."
Therefore, the baptism form was written from the perspective of the Church Invisible. It is only the saved members who receive the deepest meaning of baptism -the washing away of their sins and saving adoption as children of God. This is what all must receive to be saved; no one must rest short of this.
Once this is understood, then it is realized that the "us," "our," "we," and "them" used in the form refer to the Church Invisible. The form reflects the language of the saved believers and their saved