Baptism – A reminder from John Calvin

September 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

Sunday was our annual Labor Day weekend celebration of baptism. Twenty unique and varied testimonies with the common theme of Jesus, the one who redeems and restores! Recently I taught on Remember Your Baptism (download or listen here.) Here is a short description from John Calvin that is worth the time it takes to ponder his words well.

For inasmuch as [baptism] is given for the arousing, nourishing, and confirming of our faith, it is to be received as from the hand of the Author himself. We ought to deem it certain and proved that it is he who speaks to us through the sign; that it is he who purifies and washes away sins, and wipes out the remembrance of them; that it is he who make us sharers in his death, who deprives Satan of his rule, who weakens the power of our lust; indeed, that it is he who comes into a unity with us so that, having put on Christ, we may be acknowledged God’s children. These things, I say, he performs for our soul within as truly and surely as we see our body outwardly cleansed, submerged, and surrounded with water. For this analogy or similitude is the surest rule of the sacraments: that we should see spiritual things in physical, as if set before our very eyes. For the Lord was pleased to represent them by such figures—not because such graces are bound and enclosed in the sacrament so as to be conferred upon us by its power, but only because the Lord by this token attests his will toward us, namely, that he is pleased to lavish all these things upon us. And he does not feed our eyes with a mere appearance only, but leads us to the present reality and effectively performs what he symbolizes.
(Calvin, Institutes, IV.15.14)


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