Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January 15th

This was a little while ago, but on the 15th of January, at Redeemer Church, in Blacksburg, VA, Anna Ruth was given her rite of initiation into the covenant of salvation. Here she is, with our pastor, her mother and father, and a little bit of water. Thank you to everyone who attended. It was very encouraging to have believing families on both mother and father's sides in attendance. God is truly faithful to his promises to be God to the children of believers.

If you are wondering what this is about, I will attempt to give a short explanation. Salvation is by Christ alone, and we gain that salvation from him by faith alone. But the promises of God to save are made only to those who are in covenant with him. Those outside the covenant of grace cannot be saved. All those within must have faith to be saved; they must trust in those promises God makes.

Baptism, according to the Bible, is the initiation into the covenant God has made with his people, and the beginning of the faith journey, the life of discipleship. In the Bible, children are not viewed as autonomous individuals, but, if their parents are believers, they are disciples of Christ. If one grows up to be an unbeliever, it is an act of covenant breaking, for they were in the covenant as a child, in God's sight.

Not only does Baptism enter one into the covenant, but in it, God also signs and seals his promises to his people. Baptism, as a sign, pictures the work of God, in cleansing his people of their sin, granting them his Holy Spirit, and uniting them to Christ, in whom is salvation. As a seal, Scripture speaks of baptism as gracious thing; it not only pictures grace, but through it, God also gives grace to his people, though this grace is not necessarily given at the same time that the baptism is administered, and it is only given to those who believe.

That was my attempt at brevity. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Taken today

Anna Ruth is a happy girl (at least right this second--if you wait a few, she might be very upset). But lately, it seems she has been happy a lot. It's good to catch it on camera. She has been so much fun. She's starting to coo and interact with us in other ways. I'm convinced she knows to stick out her tongue when I tell her to. It could just be that her favorite game to play is the "let's stick out our tongues game." It sounds boring, but when it's your own child interacting with you as a separate human being, it's really exciting. God knew what he was doing when he designed families.