Hello Pilgrim,
I only want to address the last part of your post where you say
'Thus Baptism CANNOT be an outward sign of an inward reality.'

I feel as if I've answered this point about a million times, so I must be doing it very badly <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />. Baptism is indeed a sign of something that has already happened viz. Baptism of the Spirit. If that something has not happened, then the baptism is null and void. It's as simple as that. Let me try to give a parallel.

When someone wins the marathon at the Olympic Games, he receives a gold medal. This medal is the outward sign of an inward reality, which is that he won the race. But let us suppose that he cheated in some way- perhaps he took drugs- then his medal is null and void. The inward 'reality' is found not to be a reality and therefore the outward sign (the medal)is meaningless. It will be taken away from him by the IOC and the record will show that someone else won the race.

Does that make it clearer? Only those who know the Lord are in the New Covenant and they alone are the proper subjects of baptism. The fact that we don't know exactly who they are is neither here nor there. We make every effort to comply with the Lord's will clearly expressed in Matt 28:19, and where we get it wrong, the celestial IOC (The Lord) will put it right.

AF and yourself seem to have a problem with this, but I really can't see what it is.

Every blessing,

Itinerant Preacher & Bible Teacher in Merrie England.
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