8 May 2005
Romans 6:4, Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 5:25 & Matthew 28:19
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 94. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our engrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.94. What is baptism?
A. The sacrament of baptism is a washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which is a sign and seal that we are joined to Christ, that we receive the benefits of the covenant of grace, and that we are engaged to be the Lord’s.
1. What are the essential points of the definition of baptism as found in our Standards?
The essential points of the definitions are: (1) It is a washing with water, (2) It is a washing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, (3) It is done with the design to signify and seal us and make us a partaker.
2. What is essential to baptism?
Baptism is essentially a washing with water. No particular mode of washing is essential for there is no one mode specified in the command. Water is commanded because it is a natural symbol of moral purification and it was established as such in the ritual of Moses. It is a symbol of Christ’s blood being poured out for us and our hearts being sprinkled from an evil conscience.
3. Who is the author of baptism?
The Lord Jesus Christ is the author of baptism and he instituted it just before His ascension into heaven (Matthew 28:19).
4. In whose name are we baptised and what does this signify?
We are baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and this signifies our baptism in the authority, and into the faith, profession and obedience of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
5. What is meant by our engrafting into Christ?
When we are engrafted into Christ we are cut off from our old nature and become joined to Christ and therefore we can grow up in Him and bring forth fruit to Him. His righteousness is imputed to us (Galatians 3:27).
6. What are the benefits of the covenant of grace we receive?
We are admitted into the visible church, our sins are remitted, we are regenerated, and adopted and are raised to everlasting life.