Baptism as a seal.

Discussion in 'Paedo-Baptism Answers' started by Grillsy, Jul 9, 2009.

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  1. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    In the Westminster Standards. We argue that baptism is a sign and seal. I know what my answer would be and what I have learned reading Puritans and certain Reformers. However I have heard varying answers as to just what is meant by a "seal" by others in the paedobaptist camp. As I am a Presbyterian, this has made conversations with Credo-only baptists very difficult.
    So what do we mean exactly when we say that Baptism is a seal? What is the best way to counter those who would say that Baptism is not a seal?
     
  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Circumcision was a seal to Abraham's faith. That is it strengthened and encouraged it in the carrying out of and contemplating of the circumcision.

    And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: (Romans 4:11)

    Re little children, little boys had to have circumcision explained to them otherwise it would not be of benefit to them automatically, unless God also blessed the faith of parents in getting their sons circumcised.

    The same is true for baptised children today. Parents must explain to their children that they have been baptised, and that the child also needs to seek cleansing of heart by the Spritual application of Christ's blood, as well as having been ceremonially washed with water.
     
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Here is an outline to a class I taught on baptism on the occasion of the baptism of an infant. It addresses other issues but the idea of a seal is contained herein. Put simply, Baptism not only signifies something God has promised but seals (assures) that promise to the individual who has faith because it brings the eternal Promise of God into visible relation to the individual baptized. For those who have Evangelical faith, wrought from above, the grace signified is not only held forth but actually sovereignly conferred by the Holy Spirit. God's Promises are "Yes and Amen" and that Promise is signified in my baptism and sealed that He will fulfill what He Promises to the uttermost.
     
  4. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    I would say that looking at both "signs" and "seals" together helps us gain understanding at the two-pronged meaning of the sacrament.

    sign- outward manifestation of the grace of God
    seal - inward spiritual grace of God is imparted
     
  5. Reformed Rush

    Reformed Rush Puritan Board Freshman

    It is God the Holy Spirit who seals us with His guarantee of our spiritual inheritance unto eternal life. Ephesians 1:13-14; II Corinthians 1:21; 5:5

    It is God the Holy Spirit who baptizes and regenerates sinners. Mark 1:8; Acts 15; 11:15; I Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27
     
  6. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    So are you saying that Baptism is not a seal?
     
  7. Reformed Rush

    Reformed Rush Puritan Board Freshman

    Water baptism can potentially be a sign of the seal of the Holy Spirit who guarantees everlasting life in Christ.

    :gpl:
     
  8. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    Reformed Rush,

    If you don't mind me asking are you paedobaptist or exclusively credobaptist?
     
  9. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Rich's answer is probably the best.

    A "sign" is a "pointer" to something.
    "------->"
    "Spruce Street"
    "Washington slept here"

    So, signs in physical things oriented people to spiritual realities.


    A "seal" was a mark of
    authenticity,
    authority,
    ownership,
    guarantee.

    The sign of the covenant can function as any of these. Signatures often perform a similar function today (because paper and ink are so common), but states still seal things. Abraham was to trust God's promise because it had God's seal of attestation. He put his "mark" on his body.
     
  10. Reformed Rush

    Reformed Rush Puritan Board Freshman

    I have a checkered past . . .

    Agreed with paedobaptists while a member in the OPC,

    And I personally baptized teenagers newly confessing faith in Jesus Christ, in my pool, when hosting a Reformed Baptist Church in my home.

    All the while holding to the WCF and the Three Forms Of Unity.

    This is why I believe distinction between external and eternal covenants is basic to understanding baptismal views.
     
  11. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Can infant baptism be blessed to a baby/child who has been baptised before regeneration? I would say yes, in that

    (a) God recognises the faith of the parents in bringing the child to be baptised.

    (b) If the minister and/or parents teach the child that it has been baptised as it grows to years of understanding, what baptism signifies, and explain the Gospel to the child, that can be blessed to the child's regeneration.
     
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