Home Sacraments
Sacraments
Does Baptism save? a study of 1 Peter 3:21 ESV PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 18:25

20  ... God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.  21  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,  22  who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

21  Baptism, which corresponds to this [what the ark did for Noah], now saves you,

In the NIV the Flood water symbolizes the water of Baptism, but the comparison of Baptism and Ark is better. The  water [the Flood] brought judgement and death for the world.  The ark saved Noah from that judgment and death. This is the context which determiens the meaning of what follows.  As with the flood waters, the water of Baptism is judgment and death. By Baptism we are saved from judgement and death that Christ went through.  Alternatively, our Baptism was a judgment on our sin and by it we did die in union with Christ (Rom 6:1-14)  This harmonizes with the concept that Baptism replaces and functions as Circumcision- Col 2:11-12

Share
Read more...
 
Baptism and Salvation "by faith only [or alone]" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 18:07

 

This phrase "by faith only [or alone]" appears only once in the NT, where it says people are not saved by faith only (James 2:24) !  But the concept of "salvation by faith only" is foundational to the Gospel.  It is essential and non-negotiable, but what exactly does this concept mean? 

In his translation of Rom 3:28 from Greek (the "textus receptus") into German, M. Luther added the modifier "only" to make the phrase," faith only".  The word is not in the original Greek. Luther knew that, but He inserted it, he said, bcause, it fit the context and conveyed the meaning of Paul.  (Actually, Theologians before Luther had also used the phrase.)  Luther was doing what is done in many translations.  What he correctly took to be the meaning of Paul has been lost by most Evangelicals.  Paul (and Luther) rightly insisted that there is nothing a sinner can do to merit, earn or deserve salvation. Those last words are critical.   No "works" of his own can save a sinner.  A sinner must be saved by the work of God alone.  This is absolutely true.

Share
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 August 2010 18:08
Read more...
 
Luther and Calvin on Baptism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 18:04

In his Large Catechism, Luther wrote:

[I] affirm that Baptism is no human trifle, but that it was established by God Himself. Moreover, He earnestly and solemnly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. No one is to think that it is an optional matter like putting on a red coat. It is of greatest importance that we hold Baptism in high esteem as something splendid and glorious. The reason why we are striving and battling so strenuously for this view of Baptism is that the world nowadays is full of sects that loudly proclaim that Baptism is merely an external form and that external forms are useless.... Although Baptism is indeed performed by human hands, yet it is truly God’s own action (1978, pp. 98-99).

And Calvin wrote

"...God truly performs and effects by baptism what he figures.” [and] “There is a union complementary with the thing figured, lest the sign be empty, because that which the Lord represents in sign he effects at the same time, and executes in us by the power of the Spirit. God works . . . through the sacraments as instruments… The Spirit is the author, the sacrament is truly the instrument used.”

Source- http://www.hornes.org/theologia/rich-lusk/baptismal-efficacy-the-reformed-tradition-past-present-future

The Lord's Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship by Jeffrey J. Meyers is a good source of material about Calvin's teaching about this


Share
 
The Meaning of the Lord's Supper -NEW PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Friday, 30 July 2010 13:13

I have been rethinking what the Bible teaches about the Lord's Supper and what I believe about it personally.  The major change in my understanding comes from a major change in my approach.  Through the years I have interpreted the passages involved according to my Theology, especially the Doctrine of Salvation by faith alone.  Hence, as a good Baptist, I have held a Zwinglian or Memorialist view of the Supper, seeing it primarily as an Ordinance to be obeyed as a memorial to the atoning death of Jesus (the usual Evangelical view).  Nothing happens in the Supper (it is not a real Meal).  We do not receive anything objective from Communion, it is simply something we do.  Of course the Lord is present, but He always is, especially wherever two or three gather in His Name.  This is what I believed for years.

But when I apply another Doctrine I believe, i.e.-Scripture alone as primary authority for faith and practice, I come to a different understanding, especially when I interpret the verses involved in a more literal or "realist" way.  Thus the Bread and Wine are, in fact, the Body and Blood of Jesus!  Why? Because Jesus said so and I believe His Word.  If you respond with, "But what about Salvation by faith alone (no Sacraments involved, etc"), as I used to do, then you and I are putting our Theology above Scripture rather than under it.  [There is a good reason why the Doctrine of Scripture comes first in most Theology textbooks and why it is the first of the "5 Solas" of the Protestant Reformers. "By Scripture alone" is the Formal Principle of Protestant or Reformed Theology.  It forms or shapes or is the norm and source of all other Theology]  Using a literal, realist approach to interpret the relevant texts led me to the position outlined in the Essay that follows.  I wrote it to clarify my own understanding and my conclusions surprised me. (This is not intended as an academic paper with footnotes and sources, but be assured I did the research)

Share
Read more...
 
COMPLETELY REVISED: The Eucharist PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 19:14

I have believed the primary personal benefit of receiving Communion is the strengthening that doing so gives to my faith.  This is why I have been comfortable thinking of the Communion as a Sacrament, a means of Grace (defined, not as Salvation, but simply as unmerited aid given by God).  By re-presenting to me His Sacrifice, the Eucharist renews my love for Jesus and deepens my assurance that by His Blood I have been redeemed.  It is the occasion when I, in response, renew my Covenant with Him and my promises to serve Him in the week ahead.  All of this is why I do not want to be distracted. Concentration is required.  This is an intimate moment between me and my Lord and it requires time for prayer and quiet meditation.  That almost never is possible in a typical Eucharist, but I pray that will change.  

Share
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 July 2009 11:04
Read more...