grace2U said:
Hi Joe,
Doubtless all analogies fail if they are pressed too hard. I am quite happy for both of mine to stand in answer to Pilgrim's and William's arguments.

Just to be quite clear for the umpteenth time; baptism is indeed the outward sign of an inward reality. If there is no inward reality, then the baptism is effectively void (Acts 8:21).

I really have to chuckle here, not AT you, but because your definition: "baptism is indeed the outward sign of an inward reality." immediately brought to mind how illogical it is when applied to virtually any other circumstance in life. For example, one of the situations I am thinking of is one of the "signs" posted down at the hydro plant; KEEP OUT - High voltage. Now, the placard seen is the "outward sign" (no pun intended) of an "inward reality" (the high voltage). But again, using but not pressing in any way whatsosever, your "logic", to the one who believes that there is serious danger involved with that equipment, the sign truly signifies the reality of that high voltage. But if one refuses to believe there is danger, then the sign is "effectively void", i.e., what the sign says is untrue. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/dizzy.gif" alt="" />

Or we could look at it in another way and see the same illogic of it. If the sign says there is High Voltage and there is indeed high voltage there, then the sign is true; i.e., it is an "outward sign" of the "inward reality". But if there is no high voltage, then the "outward sign" is no sign at all for there is no "inward reality". [Linked Image]

The problem isn't with the sign and its inability to communicate a truth; a reality, but with your understanding of how a sign functions. Baptism IS a sign of a reality. But that reality is not to be found in the SUBJECT(IVE) realm, e.g., the recipient of the sign but in the OBJECTIVE truth; i.e., God saves believing sinners by the washing away of their sins in Christ's blood. The sign is ALWAYS and FOREVER true, regardless of who receives the sign, for the reality is the promise of God which can never change. The application of what the sign signifies does vary dependent upon whether or not the person being baptized has faith. But again, the "sign of the covenant" does not change since it does not find its meaning and/or significance in the subjectivity of the recipient, but rather in the immutable promise of God and the reality of Christ's accomplished substitutionary atonement in behalf of the elect. In short, Baptism IS "an outward sign" but of an "outward reality", which may demonstrate what belongs to the person being baptized should they have faith. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,

[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

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