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Page 434

Why is God's promise a wonderful incentive to actively use God's means of grace?

    The two main reasons for this are:

    1. All baptized members must be in the essence of the church in order to be saved. The form emphasizes this for everyone, so that no one falsely rests upon an external relationship to God's covenant and church.

    2. The church and its baptism form express an expectant, anticipating faith in infant baptism. Based upon the three questions that covenant parents must answer, the church, in faith, eagerly anticipates God's fulfillment of His promise given in baptism. The three questions speak of:

      a. The baptized children being separated by God and included as members of His church

      b. The parents' confession of belief in the truths of Scripture and as taught by the church

      c. The parents' promise to instruct their children in the truths of Scripture "to the utmost of their power"

Based upon God's faithfulness to fulfill His promise (His promise to savingly bless the use of His means of grace that His Word shall not return void, but accomplish its saving work under His blessing), the church eagerly prays for and anticipates the salvation of its children -the children whom God has separated to bring up under His covenant and under the guidance of parents who have promised to faithfully instruct them in God's truth.

The infant baptism section of the form is an expression of faith in God's grace and promise, i.e., that He will graciously bless the active use of His means of grace, not because of our perfection in their use, but because of God's gracious faithfulness to bless them. This strong expression of faith can be seen when reading the form's prayers of pleading and thanksgiving. In the form, the church first prays, "We beseech Thee, that Thou wilt be pleased of Thine infinite mercy, graciously to look upon these children, and incorporate them by thy Holy Spirit, into Thy Son Jesus Christ." The form's prayer of thanksgiving confesses the church's faith when it replies, "Almighty God and merciful Father, we thank and praise Thee, that Thou hast forgiven us, and our children, all our sins, through the blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ."


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