2.1 Holy Baptism

2.1 Holy Baptism




A. The Baptism of Infants

¶ Before the administration of the sacrament of baptism, the minister shall give instruction about the institution and nature of this sacrament.

BELOVED CONGREGATION IN THE LORD JESUS: Listen to the words of the institution of the sacrament of Holy Baptism: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

¶ If the minister desires, he may use questions and answers 69 through 74 of the Heidelberg Catechism or Belgic Confession article 34 instead of the following two paragraphs on the nature of baptism and the baptism of infants.

Baptism is a sacrament ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a sign and seal of the inclusion of the person who is baptized in the covenant of grace. Teaching that we and our children are conceived and born in sin, baptism witnesses and seals to us the remission of sins and the bestowing of all the gifts of salvation through union with Christ. Baptism with water signifies and seals cleansing from sin by the blood and the Spirit of Christ, together with our death to sin and our resurrection to newness of life by virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ. Since these gifts of salvation are the gracious provision of the Triune God, Who is pleased to claim us as His very own, we are baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And since baptized persons are called to assume the obligations of the covenant, baptism summons us to renounce the devil, the world and the flesh, and to walk humbly with our God in devotion to his commandments.

Although our young children do not yet understand these things, they are nevertheless to be baptized. For the promise of the covenant is made to believers and to their children, as God declared to Abraham, “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and your descendants after you.” In the New Testament no less than in the Old, the children of the faithful, born within the church, have interest in the covenant by virtue of their birth, and right to the seal of it and to the outward privileges of the church. This is because the covenant of grace is the same in substance under both Testaments, and the grace of God for the consolation of believers is even more fully manifested in the New Testament. Moreover, our Savior admitted little children into His presence, embraced and blessed them, saying, “Of such is the kingdom of God.” So the children of the covenant are by baptism distinguished from the children of unbelievers and solemnly received into the visible church.

¶ Addressing the parents, the minister shall say:

Beloved in Christ the Lord, you have heard that baptism is an ordinance of God by which He seals His covenant to us and our children. Therefore it must be used for this purpose and not out of custom or superstition. So that it may be apparent that this is your conviction, you are to answer sincerely the following questions:

First: Do you acknowledge that, although our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore subject to condemnation, they are holy in Christ and, as members of His Church, ought to be baptized?

Answer: I do.

Second: Do you promise to instruct your child in the principles of our Christian faith as revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and as summarized in the Heidelberg Catechism; and do you promise to pray with and for your child, to set an example of piety and godliness before him (her) and to endeavor by all the means of God’s appointment to bring him (her) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

Answer: I do.

PRAYER:

Almighty and eternal God, You punished the unbelieving and impenitent world by the flood according to Your severe judgment, yet saved believing Noah and his family in your great mercy; and You drowned Pharaoh and all his hosts in the Red Sea but led Your people Israel through the midst of the sea upon dry ground-by which baptism was foreshadowed – we beseech You through Your boundless mercy graciously to look upon this covenant child. Unite him (her) by Your Holy Spirit with Your Son Jesus Christ, so that he (she) may be buried with Him in His death, and rise with Him in new­ness of life by daily following Him. May he (she) faithfully bear his (her) cross, and cling to Christ in true faith, firm hope and fervent love, so that he (she) might cheerfully depart from this life, and at the last day appear without fear before the judgment seat of Christ, Your Son, Who with You and the Holy Spirit, the only true God, lives and reigns for ever. Amen.

¶ Thereupon the minister shall baptize the child, saying:

N__________, I baptize you into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, we thank You that we could present this child for Holy Baptism. For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ accept him (her) as Your own, implanted into Christ’s death and resurrection. Make him (her) to increase in wisdom and grace with God and men, and lead him (her), O Jesus, as a lamb of Your fold. We commit him (her) to Your gracious protection and guidance. Grant him (her) Your Holy Spirit, to know You, to love You, to follow You, and to inherit eternal blessedness with You. Amen.

¶ This prayer may be followed with the Lord’s Prayer.

BENEDICTION:

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus. Amen.

B. The Baptism of Adults

¶ Before the administration of the sacrament of baptism, the minister shall give instruction about the institution and nature of the sacrament.

BELOVED CONGREGATION IN THE LORD JESUS: Listen to the words of the institution of the sacrament of Holy Baptism: “Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” Amen.

¶ If the minister desires, he may use questions and answers 69 through 73 of the Heidelberg Catechism or Beglic Confession article 34 instead of the following paragraph on the nature of baptism.

Baptism is a sacrament ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a sign and seal of the inclusion of the person who is baptized in the covenant of grace. Teaching that we and our children are conceived and born in sin, it witnesses and seals to us the remission of sins and the bestowal of all the gifts of salvation through union with Christ. Baptism with water signifies and seals cleansing from sin by the blood and the Spirit of Christ, together with our death to sin and our resurrection to newness of life by virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ. Since these gifts of salvation are the gracious provision of the Triune God, Who is pleased to claim us as His very own, we are baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And since baptized persons are called upon to assume the obligations of the covenant, baptism summons us to renounce the devil, the world and the flesh, and to walk humbly with our God in devotion to His commandments. Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Church to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of adults must await their own profession of faith in Christ. Having come to years of discretion, they become heirs of salvation and members of the visible church only by way of personal belief in and submission to Christ as Lord and Savior.

¶ Then the minister shall address the person to be baptized:

N________, BELOVED IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: We thank God for the grace which was given you, and by which you have become a partaker of the covenant of grace. You are now requested to answer sincerely the following questions:

First: Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inerrant and infallible Word of God, and its doctrine, summa-

rized in the confessions of this Church, to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?

Answer: I do.

Second: Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?

Answer: I do.

Third: Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord; and do you promise, in reliance on the grace of God, to serve Him with all that is in you, to forsake the world, to mortify your old nature, and to lead a godly life?

Answer: I do.

Fourth: Do you agree to submit in the Lord to the government of this church and, in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life, to obey its discipline?

Answer: I do.

PRAYER:

Almighty and eternal God, You punished the unbelieving and impenitent world by the flood according to your severe judgment, yet saved believing Noah and his family in your great mercy; and You drowned Pharaoh and all his hosts in the Red Sea but led Your people Israel through the midst of the sea upon dry ground-by which baptism was foreshadowed-we beseech You through Your boundless mercy, graciously to look upon Your servant, united by Your Holy Spirit with Your Son Jesus Christ, buried with Him in His death and risen with Him in His resurrection to newness of life. Grant that he (she), daily following Him, may joyfully bear his (her) cross, and cling to Him in true faith, firm hope and fervent love. Grant, further, that he (she) may cheerfully depart this life, and at the last day appear without fear before the judgment seat of Christ Your Son, Who with You and the Holy Spirit, one only God, lives and reigns for ever. Amen.

¶ Then the minister shall administer baptism, saying:

N_______, I baptize you into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

PRAYER:

We thank you from our hearts, dear heavenly Father, that you have given this brother (sister) the grace to know his (her) sinfulness, to give himself (herself) in true repentance and faith to Jesus Christ as his (her) only Savior, to confess Him before men, and to receive in Holy Baptism the seal of the forgiveness of his (her) sins and his (her) acceptance as your child. Help him (her) now, O Lord, that being buried and risen with Christ, he (she) may walk in newness of life from this day forward, and may finally inherit your eternal kingdom with all the elect through our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom with You and the Holy Spirit, be praise and dominion for ever. Amen.

¶ The minister shall conclude this part of the service by saying:

Beloved, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I welcome you to full communion with God’s people, and in partic ular to participation in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. I charge you that by the faithful use of the means of grace, the Word of God, the sacraments and prayer, and in humble reliance upon the grace of God, you continue steadfastly in the confession which you have made. Rest assured that if you confess Christ before men, He will confess you before His Father in heaven. May the God of all grace, Who called you into His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish and strengthen you. To Him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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