Monday, March 31, 2008

Green On Infant Baptism Pt.6

"6. Infant Baptism Stresses the Objectivity of the Gospel

It points to the solid achievement of Christ crucified and risen, whether or not we respond to it. Baptism is the sacrament of our adoption, our acquittal, our justification. Not that we gain anything from it unless we do what it presupposes, namely repent and believe. But it is the standing demonstration that our salvation does not depend on our own very fallible faith; it depends on what God has done for us. Infant baptism reminds us that we are not saved because of our faith but through the gracious action of God on our behalf which stands, come wind come weather. And that is a most important emphasis. Martin Luther, that great advocate, one might almost say rediscoverer, of the blessings of justification by faith, used to be beset by the most frightening doubts. At such times he did not say, ‘I have believed’. He was too unsure of his faith to do that. He said, ‘I have been baptised’ (as an infant, what’s more!). Baptism stood for what God had done for him to make him accepted in the Beloved. It was healthily objective. In our own day, when feelings are so often mistaken as the barometer of spiritual wellbeing, we could do worse than learn from Luther."

Michael Green, Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice and Power, 54 (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 1987).

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