On each Lord’s Day this year, we will display the 52 devotionals taken from the Heidelberg Catechism which are structured in the form of questions posed and answers given.
The Heidelberg Catechism was originally written in 1563. It originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well.
Along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt, it forms what is collectively referred to as the Three Forms of Unity.
The devotional for LORD’S DAY 27 is as follows. Please take note of the biblical references given in each answer. This morning’s devotional addresses the subject of Believer’s Baptism.
Q. Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?
A. No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.1
Q. Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the water of rebirth and the washing away of sins?
A. God has good reason for these words. To begin with, God wants to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ take away our sins just as water removes dirt from the body.1
But more important, God wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that we are as truly washed of our sins spiritually as our bodies are washed with water physically.2
Q. Should infants also be baptized?
A. Yes. Infants as well as adults are included in God’s covenant and people,1 and they, no less than adults, are promised deliverance from sin through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit who produces faith.2 Therefore, by baptism, the sign of the covenant, they too should be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers.3 This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision,4 which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.5
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!