Baptism and God’s Covenant Faithfulness

For the Christian, the whole of life is comprehended by God’s Covenant of Grace with us.  All of our endeavors, therefore, begin with God, continue in God, and run to God as our goal.  And so, Solomon wrote, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps. 127:1).  All of life is vanity and anxious toil, according to the wise man, unless it reposes in the grace of God.  This is true of the whole of our existence, and it is particularly demonstrated in the home.  “Behold,” he continues, “children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  This gift of children begins with conception in the womb, and the blessing continues through life: “Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”

Psalm 127 is the eighth out of fifteen Psalms of Ascent, so named because worshipers coming from distant countries would sing these songs as they made their ascent together to the Temple in Jerusalem.  The next Psalm (128) takes up these themes of covenant and children and ascends still further as the pilgrim makes his way to Mt. Zion to worship the Lord.  It reminds us that this blessedness is continued, not because our children are just perfect angels, or because we are flawless parents, but because God is a faithful God who keeps covenant with us to a thousand generations—He builds the house.  So the thought is advanced, “Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways!  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots round your table.  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD” (128:1-4).

As these parents bring their children for baptism this morning, they are acknowledging their covenant with the Lord, and believing the covenant promises to them and to their children, since baptism is the sign of the covenant, marking the believer and his household as holy to the Lord.  For these olive shoots around your table, we join with you in praying that these children would grow up before the Lord and produce a rich harvest of the obedience of faith, that they would embrace Jesus Christ in whom all of God’s promises are “Yes!” and “Amen!” and walk with Him in this Covenant of Grace.  With you, we thank God for these arrows; and we encourage you, by God’s grace, to hone them, training them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, that they may fly from your bow to hit the mark of the glory of God through Christ our Redeemer.  “The LORD bless you from Zion!  May you see your children’s children!  Peace be upon you!”

 

 

 

A Baptismal Prayer

Our gracious God, You have restored the fortunes of Zion, the City and People of God.  You have filled our mouths with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy, for You have redeemed us as Your own possession by the blood of Your Son and sealed us by Your Holy Spirit.  Bless this Sacrament, which You have ordained as a sign and seal of Your Covenant of Grace with us, so that the efficacy of this promise will bring these children to Your right hand, where there are pleasures forevermore.  May all who observe their lives testify that “The LORD has done great things for them.”  And may they say, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad” (Psalm 126).  Through Christ we pray.  Amen.

     
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