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  • Confers -Gives; bestows

  • Deemed-Considered; judged

  • Do all receive the grace of God ..who receive His sacraments of grace? Why not?

  • Efficacy -Power producing the desired effect

  • When examining the question of the proper meaning or value of baptism, the double danger of overvaluing or undervaluing the sacrament of baptism presents itself. The various errors in this regard generally center upon outward, ritual, water baptism.

    Let us examine seven errors of overvaluing and undervaluing water baptism before studying Scripture's balanced teaching regarding baptism's outward and inward applications.

    The following are cases of overvaluing water baptism.

    1. Baptismal regeneration -This view believes that the sacrament of baptism actually confers grace; that original sin is removed by the act of baptism itself. This view overemphasizes the external act to such a degree that the Holy Spirit's internal application of its truth to the soul is not deemed necessary. .

    As the Holy Spirit's internal application of God's Word to a person's heart is necessary for it to be of saving benefit,. so the. Spirit's gracious application of God's sacraments are required lor them to be effectual. Without the Spirit's internal, applying grace, sins can never be washed away; water baptism cannot, of itself, cleanse a person from any sin.

    2. Automatic, Spirit-application baptism. This view is closely related to the former. It believes that the Holy Spirit automatically accompanies every water baptism with His applying grace; all who are baptized are spiritually renewed and cleansed by the Holy Spirit's applying grace.

    Scripture testifies, however, of circumcised and baptized people who remain unregenerate -missing the spiritual renewal and cleansing pictured by baptism. As the Holy Spirit does not savingly apply the preaching of His Word (audible gospel) to every hearer, so he does not savingly apply the administration of His sacraments (visible gospel) to every recipient. The time between administration and efficacy may vary considerably or never arrive; not all who hear or see the gospel are saved.

    3. Internal, saving-application baptism. This strong covenantal view believes that God personally seals the application, the fulfillment (not only the offer) of His promise of salvation to all recipients of water baptism. In baptism, God states that He is the


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