Charles Town Presbyterian Church has been blessed to administer the sacrament of baptism four times so far in 2017, with more celebrations of the sacrament on the horizon.
We baptize because the Lord instructed us to do so both with his life and with his words. In Matthew 3, Mark 1, and Luke 3 we read of Jesus receiving the baptism of John the Baptist. John’s baptism was a sign of repentance, whereas Christian baptism is a sign of God’s grace. Jesus was baptized to demonstrate humility for us, to set an example for us. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells his disciples to go and make disciples, baptizing the followers of Jesus and teaching them how to live for him.
Presbyterians are part of the Reformed Tradition, and as such, we historically profess our faith through various statements. One of these, the Westminster Confession of Faith, explains baptism in the following manner:
Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself, of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit; of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.
Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.
In short, Presbyterian baptize those adults and older children who profess a faith in Christ, and the children of those who are believers in Jesus Christ. Baptism serves as a sign that one belongs to Christ and seals the faith of that person, who now belongs to both Christ and His Church.
As we say whenever we baptize…Let us remember with joy our own baptism…