How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready For Baptism?

“How do I know if my child is ready for baptism?” With so many young children coming of age in our congregation, this is a question I have been receiving more as of late.

Discerning when a young person is ready for baptism does bring some unique challenges. But in reality, answering this question for those who are young is not any different from answering this question for those who are old. For anyone seeking baptism, pastors must ask has this person made a credible profession of faith? If the answer is yes, then baptism should be applied. If the answer is no, then it should be withheld. 

Discerning A Credible Profession Of Faith

So let us consider the phrase, “credible profession of faith” so that we are clear on what it means. 

Credible

The word “credible” is important. It means “convincing”, or “believable”. So we are to ask, has the person who desires baptism (young or old) professed faith in Christ, and is it believable? Stated negatively, is there anything about the person’s profession of faith — be it their beliefs or way of life — that would cause us to question if their profession is true?

Already you can see why this is a complicated issue. Other questions immediately come to mind. For example, what is the standard by which the profession of faith is to be judged? How much does the person need to know? And how pure does their way of life need to be in order for their profession of faith to be deemed credible? We will return to these questions in just a moment. But for now, let us acknowledge the complexity.  

The word “credible” reminds us that we are looking for a profession of faith that is “believable”. But it also reminds us that we are not to make “certainty” the standard. When considering who should receive baptism, we say it is those who have made a credible profession of faith. We do not say, those who have made an absolutely certain and undeniably true profession of faith.

I hope you are beginning to recognize that there is a ditch on both sides of the road here. As we consider this issue we must not slip into the ditch of applying the sacrament of baptism to those who do not believe. And neither can we allow ourselves to slip into the ditch of withholding baptism from those who do believe because we, as parents and pastors, wish to be absolutely certain that their faith is true.

Who knows for certain if a person’s faith is true? Well, God does. Yes, we do confess that a believer may have a true sense of assurance concerning their salvation (see chapter 18 of the Second London Baptist Confession). And yes, we do also believe that Christians may have confidence that their brothers and sisters in Christ are true Christians. I am not denying any of that! I am only saying that if we make absolute certainty our standard for baptism, then we will never reach that standard, for only God knows what is in the heart and mind of men. So, we must be content to apply baptism to those who have made a credible profession of faith.

Profession

The word “profession” is also important. In this context, it means a declaration of belief. Careful consideration of the scriptures reveals that the sacrament of baptism is to be given to those who declare that Jesus is Lord. It is to be applied only to those who have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and have responded in faith (see Acts 8:12 and 18:8, for example). Baptism must not be applied to those who have not professed faith in Christ. 

This is not the place for a full critique of the paedobaptist belief that the infants of Christians ought to receive baptism. If you wish to study that topic, you will need to go elsewhere. Here I am content to say that our children (and others) must profess faith before they are given the sacrament of baptism, for baptism is a sign of our union with Christ by faith and of the cleansing and new life that accompanies it. Those baptized must say, Jesus is Lord. I believe in him. I have turned from my sins and to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, etc. Indeed, they will say all of this through the waters of baptism. But they must also profess this before baptism is applied.  

So, it is apparent that our children (and others) must be old enough and mature enough to speak for themselves concerning their belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastors and parents may help their children along, but they must not speak for their children. Also, the rote memorization of prepared questions and answers (as helpful as this is) should not be the standard. Rather, those who profess faith should be able to do so from their own mind and heart before the sacrament of baptism is applied.

Of Faith 

Let us now consider the words, “of faith”. We are looking for a credible profession of faith” So, what is faith? 

I have heard it said that true saving faith is like a three-legged stool. If one leg of a three-legged stool is missing, the stool will not stand. And so it is with faith. The three legs of the stool of true saving faith are knowledge, assent (agreement), and trust. If any one of these is lacking, then faith is not true or saving.

Knowledge

It should be clear to all that having faith in Christ involves knowing things. Even that little phrase, “faith in Christ”, presupposes knowledge. Who is Christ? Why should anyone trust in him? And for what?  You have to know something of what the Bible teaches to answer these most basic questions. So, to be saved, one must know things. 

And how much do people need to know? Do people need to possess a mastery of Christian doctrine before they are baptized? Certainly not. But they do need to know some things. We will return to this subject in a moment. For now, let me say that throughout the history of the church Christians have developed creeds and catechisms which help clarify and teach the doctrines that a person should know before receiving the sacrament of baptism. 

Assent 

The second leg of the stool of faith is assent (or agreement). It is one thing to know what the Bible teaches about God, man, sin, and salvation in Christ, etc., but it is quite another thing to assent to that teaching. When we give our assent to the teaching of Holy Scripture we say, I know this is what the Bible teaches…. and I agree that it is true! The first part of this statement reveals knowledge; the second part reveals assent.  

The distinction between knowledge and assent might sound strange to you, but consider this: there are many non-believers in the world who know what the Bible teaches. They may even have a very solid grasp of Christian doctrine, but they do not agree with it. They may say, I know that the scriptures teach that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation (John 14:6)… but I do not agree. This is knowledge, but it is not faith, for assent is lacking. 

Trust

The third leg of the stool of faith is trust. For faith to be true and saving a person must know certain doctrines,  and agree that those doctrines are true, and they must also trust in Jesus. 

To trust in Jesus is to rely on him. To trust in Jesus is to depend on him. To trust in Jesus is to say, left to myself I am hopelessly lost and condemned, but through faith in Christ, I know that I am saved. And this we must say not from the head only but also from the heart. In other words, to trust in Jesus is to heartily run to him for refuge (see Psalm 2:12; 36:7, etc.) 

One author has put it this way: “The crucial, most vital element of saving faith in the biblical sense, is that of personal trust… by which I put my life in the lap of Jesus. I trust him and him alone for my salvation. That is the crucial element, and it includes the intellectual and the mental. But it goes beyond it to the heart and to the will so that the whole person is caught up in this experience we call faith” (R.C. Sproul, What Does It Mean to Believe?). 

I think you would agree with me that this personal trust is the most difficult aspect of faith to discern in others. Someone may study Christian doctrine, learn it, and say they assent to it, but do they trust in Jesus in the heart? Or do they trust in their own righteousness? As I have said before, only God knows. But one thing that we can do for our children (and others) as we seek to discern the credibility of their profession is to talk with them about the difference between the law and the gospel. This conversation will help us to better discern where their trust is placed, and, if it is not in Jesus, to encourage them to believe the gospel for the very first time.

Law And Gospel

In the scriptures, we find God’s law, and we also find the gospel. Law and gospel are found in the Old Testament and the New. And to put the matter very succinctly, the law says, do this and you shall live, while the gospel says, live because of what has been done for you. The law says work to be saved, whereas the gospel says, trust in the work that Christ has accomplished on your behalf. 

Historically, these have been the only two paths by which men and women could hope to obtain eternal life. Adam was to enter into eternal rest and glory by keeping God’s law.  He did not; instead, he rebelled against his Maker and ate of the forbidden tree, never eating from the tree of life. That way to eternal and consummate life through obedience is now closed (Genesis 3:24). But shortly after Adam’s fall into sin (and ours with him  — Romans 5:12ff), God promised to provide a Savior who would come from the offspring of the woman, Eve (Genesis 3:15). This was the first promise of the gospel. And from that moment onward, all who have ever been saved from their sins have been saved, not through law-keeping, but through faith in the promised Messiah. He kept God’s law perfectly on our behalf, and he also atoned for the sins of all who believe upon him. So we must say and believe that salvation is by the grace of God alone and received by faith in Christ alone. Salvation cannot be obtained by doing good works or by keeping God’s law, for we have all violated God’s law in thought, word, and deed, and stand guilty before him.  

Now, this does not mean that there is no law for those who believe. But it does mean that the law must be used correctly by the faithful (1 Timothy 1:8). It cannot be used as a way to salvation, that way being closed off long ago. Now the law must be used as a mirror for the soul and as a light for the feet. In other words, we are to look intently into God’s law so that we might see our sin, turn from it, and run to Christ for refuge and strength, and we are also to study God’s law to know how it is that we should walk in this world. But even then we must be careful to obey God’s law, not in a legal way, but with love in our hearts and gratitude for the Savior that God has provided for us.

This distinction between law and gospel is something we must teach our children. Really, it is not a difficult concept. You may ask your child, why do you think I love you? Do I love you because you obey me? Or do I love you because you are my child? I hope they say, you love me because I am your child. If they don’t, then you may take the opportunity to tell them of your unconditional love for them! But if they do, then you may say, it is the same with God for all who are in Christ Jesus. He loves us because he has graciously adopted us as his own. He has determined to set his love upon us. He has forgiven us by his grace, etc. And we seek to obey him now, not to earn his love, but because he first loved us, and we are grateful (1 John 4:10ff). 

As I have said, we must find ways to teach our children the difference between the law and the gospel. And one way to see if they are trusting in the gospel (and not in their own works-righteousness) is to simply ask them the question, why do you think that God loves you? Or, why do you think that you are right with God? Or, why do you think that you will go to heaven? If the answer is because I obey God and serve him, or, because I am a good person, then there is a reason for concern. But if the answer is, because God has set his love on me in Christ Jesus, or, because God has been gracious to me in Christ Jesus, or,  because I am trusting in Jesus, then there is reason to believe that the little one understands the gospel and does in fact believe it.   

Repentance, Obedience, And Good Works

To review: true saving faith involves knowledge, assent, and trust. When someone trusts in Jesus they no longer trust in their own obedience and gooks works, but in the work of salvation that Christ has accomplished for them. And I would be remiss if I did not also say that saving faith will always be accompanied by repentance from sin, obedience, and good works. In other words, true faith will bear good fruit in the life of the believer. 

This is what Jesus meant when he said “you will recognize them by their fruits” (see Matthew 7:15-23). And this is why Jesus said in another place, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The Apostle John taught this very thing in his epistle saying, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:7–8). The point is this: a good tree will produce good fruit, but a bad tree will produce bad fruit (see Matthew 7:17ff and Luke 6:43ff).

When discerning the credibility of a profession of faith, we must look for the fruits of repentance from sin, obedience, and good words. Stated negatively, if there is no sorrow for sin, turning from sin, or obedience offered up to God, then the profession of faith should not be considered credible. And no, this does mean that perfection is to be expected. If perfection were the standard, then who would ever be baptized? But we should see within our children (and others) a true sorrow for sin and a true desire to keep Christ’s commandments if their faith is true.

To give an example, if your child tells you a lie after professing faith in Christ and expressing a desire for baptism, I do not think their faith should necessarily be questioned, nor their baptism denied. But if there is no remorse for the sin and repentance, or if the lying is habitual, then perhaps baptism should be withheld until the fruit of true and lively faith is more evident. 

On the one hand, parents and pastors must remember that true faith involves repentance and produces fruit. But on the other hand, we must never forget that sanctification (growing in holiness) is a lifelong process. Consider the way that you have struggled against sin in the Christian life! And even consider the way that Christ’s own disciples struggled against sin. Remember the ditch on both sides of the road! We must be careful not to give the sacrament to non-believers, but we also must take care to avoid confusion regarding the law and the gospel. Remember, we are all sinners saved by the grace of God, corruptions do still remain within us, and sanctification is a lifelong process (see Second London Baptist Confession chapters 9 and 13). Yes, true faith will bear good fruit. But let us not give the impression that salvation is obtained through obedience by imposing overly stringent legal standards upon our children (and others) before baptism is applied. 

A Conversion Experience

I would like to address one more question regarding a credible profession of faith before moving on. Should we expect our children to have a conversion experience in order to consider their profession of faith to be true? By ”conversion experience” I mean an emotional experience wherein they feel the deep conviction of sin and a strong inward call to place their faith in Christ. 

I want to be very careful here. Yes, it is true that to place one’s faith in Christ one must come to the realization of the guilt of sin (Acts 2:37). And yes, it is also true that God does draw or call his elect to faith in Christ by the ministry of the word and by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44). And yes, when someone is converted in their older years we should expect that they will be able to testify to this experience. But I think it is possible that our children, having been raised in the church and having heard the gospel from a young age, may say, I can’t remember a time when I did not believe upon Jesus. 

This is not to say that God did not have to regenerate them. They were surely born children of Adam and under that broken Covenant of Works that God transacted with him. They “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:3), and “dead in their sins” (Ephesians 2:1). And if they are now in Christ and partakers of the Covenant of Grace ratified in his blood, it is only because God has made them spiritually alive (Ephesians 2:4). At some point God regenerated them. All are born into Adam. And all must be reborn into Christ (John 3). This is true of the children of Christians also. I am only here saying that for children who were raised in the faith (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 7:14ff), it may be more difficult for them to point to a moment in time when God convicted them of sin, opened their blind eyes, and unstopped their deaf ears, making them willing and able to believe upon Christ for the forgiveness of sins. For them, it may seem as if they grew into their faith, and I do believe we should be open to this possibility. 

Preparing For Baptism

Having now answered the question, when is my child ready for baptism?, with the answer, when they have made a credible profession of faith, I wish to briefly address another question, and that is, how can I help prepare my child for baptism?

Pray

The first thing we must do is diligently pray for the conversion of our children and for their spiritual growth. 

Returning now to the three aspects of faith that were presented earlier — knowledge, assent, and trust — it must be acknowledged that the last two of these are entirely outside of our control. Yes, we may teach our children the Christian faith (as a body of doctrine). And yes, we may encourage them to believe the scriptures and to trust in Christ. But faith (assent and trust) is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). If our children are to believe what the scriptures say and personally trust in Jesus the Christ, God must open their spiritual eyes, unstop their spiritual ears, and make them spiritually alive (John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-5). That is God’s work, not ours.

And this is why I say that the first thing we must do is pray. God has determined to work through the prayers of his people. And although it is a mystery to us as to how he works through prayer, we know that he does. And so we must pray that God would draw our children (and others) to faith in Christ. The second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, “thy kingdom come”, should prompt us to do this daily on behalf of our children (see Baptist Catechism 109). 

Proclaim The Gospel 

Secondly, we must regularly proclaim the gospel to our children and urge them to believe it. 

Hopefully, our children are hearing the gospel from their pastors when they gather for worship each Lord’s Day. But parents should also testify to the grace of God and to the glory of the gospel from day today. Parents should regularly talk with their children about creation, sin, and redemption in Christ Jesus. They ought to tell the story of God’s plan of redemption, the accomplishment of it by Christ in his life, death, and resurrection. And they should explain how God applies this redemption to his elect throughout the world and in every generation, by his word and Spirit. Parents may use their own testimony to share the gospel with their children. They should speak of Christ often and in a variety of situations. The gospel may even be shared in the context of discipline. What better opportunity to speak of God’s love and grace than in those moments when we are lovingly disciplining our children for some sin committed? In brief, parents should aim to have the gospel of Jesus Christ ever-present in the home, and they should encourage their children to believe it. 

When I say proclaim I don’t mean preach. And neither do I envision formal conversations (though there is nothing wrong with that). Instead, I would encourage parents to take the approach described in Deuteronomy 6:6-9: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6–9, ESV). The Christian faith in general, and the gospel of Jesus Christ in particular, should be the air we breathe in the home. 

Instruct

Thirdly, we must instruct our children in the doctrines of the Christain faith.

Just as with gospel proclamation, instruction in the doctrines of the Christain faith may be delivered spontaneously and casually. Parents would be wise to look for teachable moments wherein they may demonstrate to their children why this doctrine or that doctrine matters, practically speaking. But when it comes to instruction in Christain doctrine, some formality and intentionality is appropriate.

Historically, Christians have created and used catechisms to instruct their children (and others) in the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. In catechisms, we find questions and answers that are brief enough to be memorized. We use the Baptist Catechism at Emmaus (which is similar to the Westminster Shorter Catechism). We lead our congregation through this catechism once every two years, and we encourage families to follow the same pace within the home. In this way, a child who is raised in the church will have gone through the catechism three or four times before the age of ten. Obviously, the questions and answers of the Baptist Catechism will need to be greatly simplified for a three or four-year-old. But with each passing year, the child will grow in their comprehension of and appreciation for Christian doctrine (at least that is our prayer!).

At our church, we introduce the catechism question(s) for the week in the morning worship service. We encourage families to discuss the question(s) during the week. In the afternoon worship service, a brief sermon is delivered which expounds upon the doctrine being covered in the catechism question(s). And then finally, the Sunday school lesson for the children on the following Sunday will review what was introduced a week earlier. Intermixed with all of this are scripture readings that undergird the doctrinal principles being taught in the catechism. After all, the Word of God is our authority for truth, and not the catechism. The catechism is a summary of the teachings of Holy Scripture on these doctrinal themes. 

It is our opinion that catechisms are wonderful tools that should be used for the instruction of our children in the Christian faith. Our preferred catechism is the Baptist Catechism (compiled in approx. 1693). There is another wonderful catechism called the Orthodox Catechism (which is the Baptist’s version of the Heidelberg Catechism).  And finally, there is A Catechism for Girls and Boys[1]. This one contains more questions than the Baptist Catechism, but the answers are shorter, and thus a little easier for young children to memorize. Both the Baptist Catechism and the Catechism for Girls and Boys are available on our website (emmausrbc.org) under “Learn”. 

I have one last thing to say regarding instruction before moving on to the topic of assessment. Let us never forget, when we are instructing our children in the doctrines of the Christian faith we are only giving them the knowledge they need to believe. Yes, we are giving them the faith (as a body of doctrine), but we are not giving them faith (assent and trust), for we cannot. Therefore, as we teach our children these truths we must also proclaim the gospel, urging them to turn from their sins, and to trust in Christ for forgiveness. And we must not forget to pray!

Assess

Lastly, it is important for us to assess our children’s understanding of Christian doctrine. This should be done continuously by parents as the child matures, but pastors must also assess doctrinal comprehension before deciding to apply the sacrament of baptism. 

So how should we assess a child’s understanding of the Christian faith? 

While memorizing the questions and answers of a catechism is beneficial, I would suggest to you that it may not be the best way to assess a person’s understanding of Christian doctrine. One, it is possible for a child who struggles with memorization to possess a solid grasp on Christain doctrine. Two, a child may be very gifted at memorization and yet fail to comprehend Christian doctrine. Our assessment should not focus on memorization but comprehension. 

My suggestion is that parents use the Baptist Catechism to teach Christian doctrine, that memorization be encouraged but not demanded, and that comprehension be assessed, not by the recitation of catechism questions and answers, but by asking questions that are more broad and generic — questions that will require the young person to speak for themselves from their own mind and heart. 

Suggested Question For Assessing Knowledge Of The Christian Faith

I will conclude this article with some suggested questions for parents and pastors to use in the assessment of a child’s profession of faith. I have listed the pertinent sections in the Baptist Catechism below each heading so that the child’s knowledge can be tested against the catechism, and more instruction can be delivered from the catechism, if necessary. I have attempted to phrase these questions in such a way that they will help to facilitate dialogue. In my experience, it is best if the child does not feel like they are being quizzed, but conversed with. Much of that has to do with setting and tone. Just this morning I struck up a conversation with my youngest concerning his understanding of the doctrine of God as we drove across town. That was a very sweet time. He was relaxed. I gained a better perspective on his grasp of this subject. I was able to reinforce where he was strong and provide more instruction where he was weak. And all of it felt like a natural conversation between a father and a son. Clearly, it will be more difficult for a pastor to create this natural and conversational feel when assessing a child’s profession, but I do think an effort should be made.

Concerning Personal Faith In Christ 

See Baptist Catechism questions 87-92

  1. Please describe how you came to have faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. What is faith in Christ?
  3. Do you believe that God loves you, that you are right with him, and that you will enter heaven when you pass from this world? If so, why? 

Concerning The Scriptures

See Baptist Catechism questions 3-6

  1. Tell me what you know about the scriptures.
  2. Who is the author of the Bible? 
  3. How many testaments are there in the Bible? How many books are in the Bible? How many are in the Old Testament? How many are in the New?
  4. What event marks the transition from the Old Testament to the New?
  5. When was the Bible written?
  6. What does the Bible teach us, in general? 
  7. The Bible is “the only certain rule of faith and obedience” (Baptist Catechism, 3). What does this mean?

Concerning God

See Baptist Catechism questions 1-2 and 7-9

  1. Tell me what you know about God. 
  2. How many Gods are there?
  3. How many persons are in the Godhead?
  4. What does God “look” like?
  5. When was God born?
  6. Does God change?
  7. Describe God’s attributes or characteristics.

Concerning God’s Decree

See Baptist Catechism question 10-11

  1. Is God ever surprised by something that happens in the world? 
  2. Why is God never surprised?
  3. What is a decree? 
  4. Has God made a decree? If so, what has he decreed?
  5. When did God make this decree?
  6. Why did God decree what he decreed?
  7. How does God accomplish his decree? 

Concerning Creation 

See Baptist Catechism questions 12-13 

  1. Tell me what you know about creation?
  2. How long did God take to create? Why did he take six days? Was the work too hard for him to finish sooner?
  3. Why did God rest on the seventh day? Was he tired?
  4. What did God create?
  5. What material did God use to make the heavens and the earth?
  6. What was the pinnacle of God’s creation? What was so special and unique about man? Why did God create man male and female? 
  7. Was there anything wrong with God’s creation when he finished it? How do we know?

Concerning Providence

See Baptist Catechism questions 14-15

  1. Describe how it is that God is related to the world today. He is distant from his creation, or near? Is he uninvolved or involved? Is he in control, or is the world outside of his control? 
  2. The Bible teaches that God is King over all creation. The Bible also teaches that God relates to the people who live in his kingdoms by establishing covenants with them. What is a covenant?
  3. Describe the covenant that God made with Adam in the garden of Eden. What were the terms of it (rules and expectations)? What were the penalties for breaking its terms? What were the promised rewards for keeping its terms? What kind of covenant was this (was it a covenant that depended upon the works of man or the grace of God)? Who was this covenant made with (hint: not just Adam)? 
  4. What are the other covenants that God transacted with man?  And which kingdom do these covenants govern (the kingdom of creation, Israel, or Christ)? (Parents, these are difficult questions. To be clear, I do not think baptism should be withheld if a child lacks a solid grasp on the doctrine of the covenants. But I do think it would be good for us to try and teach these doctrines to our children. You may listen to the Emmaus Essentials study, The Mystery of Christ, His Covenant, and Kingdom, to gain a better understanding of these doctrines. The class outlines and audio can be found at emmausrbc.org/essentials. 
  5.  Which of these covenants and kingdoms do we live under? Yes, there are two!
  6. How does a person come to be a part of the Noahic Covenant? Who is under this covenant, therefore? What are our responsibilities under the Noahic Covenant?
  7. How does a person come to be a part of the New Covenant (also called the Covenant of Grace)? Who is under this covenant, therefore? What are our responsibilities under the Covenant of Grace?

Concerning Sin

See Baptist Catechism questions 16-22

  1. Did Adam keep the covenant of works that was transacted with him in the garden, or did he break it?
  2. How did Adam break the covenant?
  3. What is sin?
  4. What was the consequence of Adam’s sin?
  5. Was Adam the only one who fell from his perfect state of being, or did we fall with him? Why did we fall with him?
  6.  When Adam’s descendants were born, why were they not born in Eden with access to the Tree of Life?
  7. All who came from Adam are born in sin. What does this mean? How are we now different from how Adam was when he was first created?

Concerning The Accomplishment Of Our Redemption

See Baptist Catechism questions 23-31

  1. Did God leave Adam and his descendants in their sin and misery to suffer the consequences? Would it have been wrong if God did leave them in their sin and misery without hope?
  2. How would God rescue fallen man from his sin and misery? What was God’s plan?
  3. When was this plan of redemption first revealed by God to man? How was this plan more fully revealed with the passing of time?
  4. When was this plan accomplished?
  5. How was our redemption accomplished?  What did Christ do?
  6. Was Christ merely a man? Describe what Christ was (and is). In other words, what is his nature?
  7. Jesus Christ is our Prophet, Priest, and King. Why do we need Christ to fulfill these three offices for us?

Concerning The Application Of Our Redemption

See Baptist Catechism questions 32-43

  1. Christ accomplished redemption for his people about 2,000 years ago. This is why he said, “it is finished” as he died. But how do we come to have this redemption and all of its benefits as our own today?
  2. What must the Spirit of God do in order for a person to be saved? Why must the Spirit work on the heart, mind, and will of man? 
  3. What must be proclaimed in order for someone to be saved? In other words, what does the person need to hear?
  4. How does a person receive Christ, the redemption that he has accomplished, and all of the benefits that accompany redemption? In other words, what must a person do to be saved?
  5. What is faith? (See Baptist Catechism 91)
  6. What are the benefits that those who have faith in Christ enjoy in this life?
  7. What are the benefits that those who have faith in Christ enjoy at the moment of death?

Concerning God’s Law 

See Baptist Catechism questions 44-86

  1. What does God require of man? (See Baptist Catechism 44)
  2. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?  (See Baptist Catechism 44)
  3. Where is the moral law summarized for us? (See Baptist Catechism 45)
  4. Are you able to briefly state the Ten Commandments in order? (See Baptist Catechism 50, 54, 58, 62, 68, 72, 75, 78, 81, and 84)
  5. What does each of these commandments require and forbid?
  6. How are these Ten Commandments summed up in the two commands to love God with all that we are, and to love our neighbor as ourselves? (See Baptist Catechism 47)
  7. Are we to keep these commandments only externally? Or are we also to keep them from the heart, with our thoughts, and with our words? Take the sixth commandment, for example: “Thou shalt not kill (murder)”. How is that commandment to be kept in the heart and with our words?

Concerning Faith And Repentance

See Baptist Catechism questions 87-92

  1. Is any man able to keep God’s law perfectly and perpetually?
  2. What does every sin deserve? 
  3. Are all sins equally bad? 
  4. What must we do to escape God’s wrath and curse?
  5. What is faith in Jesus Christ? 
  6. What is repentance?
  7. Can there be true faith without repentance? Why not?

Concerning The Means Of Grace

See Baptist Catechism questions 93-96

  1. God is the one who brings his people to salvation, and he is the one who causes them to grow spiritually. But we know that God uses certain things to do this. What means does God ordinarily use to work within the hearts and minds of his people?
  2. How does God use his Word to bring his people to salvation and to grow them up in Christ?
  3. What attitude should we bring to hearing and reading the Word of God? 
  4. Do baptism and the Lord’s Supper distribute God’s grace automatically even if there is no faith in the one being baptized? 

Concerning Baptism And The Lord’s Supper

See Baptist Catechism questions 97-104

  1. What is baptism?
  2. Who should be baptized?
  3. Are the infants of believers to be baptized?
  4. How is baptism correctly administered? 
  5. What is the duty of those who are rightly baptized?
  6. What is the Lord’s Supper?
  7. What is required for us to partake of the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner?

Concerning The Lord’s Prayer

See Baptist Catechism questions 105-114

  1. Can you recite the Lord’s Prayer?
  2. How many petitions are there in the Lord’s prayer?
  3. Is the Lord’s Prayer meant to be recited in a mindless way? Or are we supposed to expand on each of the petitions?
  4. Why is it helpful to pray through each of the six petitions of the Lord’s Prayer daily?
  5. What do the introduction and conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
  6. Can you describe the kinds of things that we should pray for under each petition of the Lord’s Prayer?
  7. Why should we have confidence that God hears our prayers and will work through them? 

[1] As I was writing this paper I was made aware of a new resource written by a friend of mine, Ryan Hodson, and published by Reformed Baptist Academic Press, called Milk For Little Ones, An Introduction to the Baptist Catechism. This catechism is similar to the Catechism for Girls and Boys and is intended to introduce the Baptist Catechism to young children. I recommend it.

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