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  • Chad Werkhoven

Exodus 19:3-6 - Treasured Possession

If you feel different than the world around you, realize it's because your head is wet.

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Read Exodus 19:3-6

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 74

Q. Should infants, too, be baptized?

A. Yes.

Infants as well as adults

are in God’s covenant

and are his people.

They, no less than adults, are promised

the forgiveness of sin

through Christ’s blood

and the Holy Spirit

who produces faith.

Therefore, by baptism,

the mark of the covenant,

infants should be received

into the Christian church

and should be distinguished

from the children of unbelievers.

This was done in the Old Testament

by circumcision,

which was replaced in the New Testament

by baptism.



The grand finale of God freeing His people from their slavery in Egypt was Israel passing through the Red Sea on dry ground. Centuries later, the Apostle Paul would come to understand that this tremendous miracle was a type of national baptism, that as God's people passed through the sea, they came to belong to Him (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).

Indeed God understood it this way as well, telling Moses that He had carried His people on eagles' wings and brought them to Himself. Now, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God once again establishes His covenant with His people: they will be his treasured possession and a holy nation (a people separate from all others).

But remember, a covenant is a solemn agreement between two parties based on a contingency. There's a big 'ol if in God's words to Moses: He says they will be a holy nation if they "fully obey me and keep my covenant."

In the next chapter, Exodus 20, God expresses these covenantal stipulations in 10 categories we often refer to as the ten commandments, and then much of what follows in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) give laws and regulations that seem really strange to us. Well, they seemed really strange to the Israelites as well, and by design. One of the key purposes in all of those Old Testament laws was to make God's people look really different than the nations who lived around them.

Dig Deeper

Today we're focusing on one of the key reasons we baptize the children of believers in Reformed churches is to distinguish them from the children of unbelievers. We understand that these are covenant children, and that the same promises the God made to the Israelites in the desert thousands of years ago now apply to them - only now the contingency (the 'if' part) has been fulfilled by Christ. This means that we must raise our children differently than the world does, and that they from the moment they are received into God's covenant family must live holy lives - that is, lives that are separate from the world.

Thankfully on this side of the cross, we no longer need to abide by strange dietary regulations or participate in all sorts of ritualistic ceremonies as we worship. Nor does being a holy nation mean that we ignore the rest of the world, and we must also realize the word nation here has nothing to do with a particular country or geographic borders.

But we give our children the mark of the covenant, just as God has always commanded His covenant people to mark & distinguish their children. Just as the prince of England is treated as royalty from the moment he's born, so to must we treat our children as princes and princesses of the King, separated from the sinful world by His grace.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who carries His covenant children on eagles' wings;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for including you in His covenant promises, that Christ fulfilled your obligation, and pray that you would live as the holy person (saint) that you've been declared to be;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 8


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