Hi Dovegiven :
This covenant you speak of for the child.
The New Covenant which Jesus spoke about, yes.
Which is a better covenant than the Old Covenant, which was already Gracious toward the offspring of those who were bound by it, under the Old Testament Dispensation, yes. This is the self same Covenant under which you, I and everyone who repents and embraces the promises of God offered through the merits of the Blood of Jesus Christ Our Lord, receive forgiveness of sins and election into the assembly of those 'counted righteous' by God, on the merits of His Son Jesus Christ, whom we have agreed to serve and obey.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Heb. 8:6 KJV
Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: That thou (i.e. everyone present including the infants), shouldest enter into covenant, with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day: That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Deut. 29:1-13 KJV.
This is the Covenant of Faith upon which we all depend for Salvation.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Gen. 17:7.
Cometh this blessedness, (Salvation), then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be 'the father of all them that believe', though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. Rom 4:11-13.
For those who find the KJV easy to misinterpret and assume wrong meanings because of it’s archaic English grammar and vocabulary, here is the RSV of the same passage.
We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. Rom. 4 : 11-13.
You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant. Gen. 17:10-14.
Clearly the children of any Covenant bound descendent of Abraham, (the father of our faith), were not only Covered already by the Covenant as infants but that Covenant could also be broken, (for the infant), by a failure on the parents behalf, to fully meet it’s terms, as demanded by God.
Baptism has replaced circumcision as the sign and seal of The New Covenant. Children are integral members of The Church of Jesus Christ from birth, (if one or other or both their parents, (or grandparents), accepted the terms of the New Covenant and enjoy(ed) the benefits thereof). It was so under the Old Covenant and unless you can point to specific passages of New Testament Scripture which deny that children, even infants, are fully members of 'The Church' then their exclusion would be unjustified and unjust.
Upon those who affirm that infants of believers are not members of 'The Church' lies the onus of proving what they advance. I have as yet seen no one put forth any convincing scriptural evidence to this effect. If such infants are already fully members of 'The Church' then on what grounds can they be refused the sign and seal of their profession? Baptism!
I don’t believe that God any longer demands the sign and seal of The Covenant to be imposed upon infant boys, (or girls, since the New Covenant now has a sign and seal which both may partake of, namely baptism).
There is no penalty of exclusion for infringement of the obligation to be physically circumcised, (or baptized), in infancy in The New Covenant, as there was under The Old. Gen. 17:12, 14. The New Covenant is a better Covenant and therefore a more generous one. But neither is there any scriptural prohibition whatever from keeping the terms of The Covenant, by performing the rite of baptism on infants, which scripture states has replaced circumcision as the sign and seal of the Covenant.
God however still requires spiritual circumcision of every adult, male and female Covenant Covered or not.
Circumcision of the heart is an essential experience before one can fully enter into an ‘Assurance of Salvation’ and become a ‘minister of The Gospel’. (Until the beam has been cast from our own eye, we cannot see clearly enough to remove specks from other peoples eyes) and (If our spiritual 'eyes' are sound then our whole body is metaphorically filled with light).
James has it right when he says : Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. By 'works' in the context of what we have been discussing, I imply the act of Publick Baptism for adults who doubt their infant baptism, and a Publick Confession of 'faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour' for those who believe in the validity of their baptism as an infant.
Not only must we ‘talk the talk’ before God. We must also ‘walk the walk’. If one looks up all references to physical circumcision, OT and NT, (and read the preceding and following paragraphs as well for context), it gives a clearer idea of what must be involved in spiritual circumcision as an experience of The Holy Spirit. It painfully increases the believers sensitivity to personal sin, irritates the lazy conscience and renders one helpless to 'morally and spiritually' defend oneself before the gaze of a Holy God, and therefore more acutely aware of our need of a 'Saviour'. (Incidentally it also prepares us to be tender hearted to our sinful neighbour who we recognise as being no worse a reprobate, before God, than ourselves).
Anyone who has been called, convicted, alarmed, humbled, and raised up again in Christ knows the feelings involved. It is a lot more profound than just walking to the front and saying sorry for your life being in such a mess, I’m sure you’ll agree.
: Apr 14, 2012, 9:18 AM