Strangers And Aliens (17b): As It Was In The Days Of Noah (1 Peter 3:18–22)

They were saved (διεσώθησαν) “through the waters” (δι᾿ ὕδατος). What Peter says is that it was in the midst of the circumstance of the flood or from the flood that Noah and his congregation were saved. Peter is not saying that the water was an instrument of their salvation. He has already said that the ark was the instrument or means of their salvation. If you have ever been whitewater rafting or found yourself in rough waters in a canoe, you understand. The rapid waters do not save anyone. No one was saved by the rising flood waters in Hurricane Katrina. They were saved in the midst of them by clinging to a rooftop or by a brave member of the Coast Guard (known affectionately as “Coasties”) dangling from a helicopter. Continue reading →

Questions And Answers About Baptism

Earlier this week Calvinist Batman and I discussed covenant theology, baptism, and Reformed identity. That led to a follow-up discussion with some listeners. For the sake of brevity and clarity I have re-worded and abbreviated some of the questions and I have . . . Continue reading →

The Sacraments Of The Covenant Of Works

A sacrament, is an outward sign, which God joins to his covenant, which he hath made with men. And that is either of an eternal, or temporal covenant. A sacrament of an eternal covenant, is a sacrament, whereby God confirms the promise . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg Catechism 76: Embracing, Communing With, And United To Christ

One of the great tragedies of the debates about the nature of the sacraments is that they force us to look at the sacraments instead of looking at him whom they signify, Christ, and that which they promise: the gospel. Thus far we’ve spent a good bit of time doing what it is necessary to come to a clear understanding of what sacraments are, how they are that (sacraments) and not the thing signified but true and real signs and seals of the covenant of grace. The Supper is a real, mysterious, Holy Spiritual communion in the true body and blood of Christ Continue reading →

Heidelberg 75: The Supper Is More Than A Memory (3)

75. How is it signified and sealed to you in the Holy Supper, that you do partake of the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross and all His benefits? Thus: that Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 72–73: To Be Clear—Baptism Isn’t Magic But It Is Powerful

What is the frame of reference for baptism and washing? It is the flood. Did the flood save anyone? No. It condemned those who did not believe (an aspect of baptism sometimes neglected; there is a judicial aspect of baptism for the reprobate) but God’s people were saved out of the judgment by the ark. To what does the ark correspond? Christ. He is the ark. The Noahic baptismal flood was an antitype of Christ, who underwent the flood of judgment for us, and it testifies to our outward identity with Christ and to believers it signifies and seals that just as he suffered the judgment flood for us, as he was drowned in divine wrath, as it were, we have died with him and by his grace we have been redeemed. Continue reading →

Heidelberg 67: The Sacraments Are True Signs And Seals Of Christ And His Gospel (1)

67. Are both the Word and the Sacraments designed to direct our faith to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation? Yes truly, for the Holy Spirit teaches in the Gospel and assures us by . . . Continue reading →