Federal Vision Blues, part 3 of 4

Objection 5
“FV makes too big a deal about being in the Church, or being baptized, and not enough about the condition of your heart, in direct contradiction to Rom 2:28-29.”

Experiences are always appealed to: “I was in the church for years and baptized as a baby, but didn’t get it until I left and found Christ through Intervarsity in college.” I say, praise the Lord, God was pleased to inscrutably use your baptism and time of wandering in the desert with God’s people to bring you to faith, as much as He also used (the instrument YOU notice) Intervarsity. But why only focus on the means YOU notice, instead of the ones Scripture says God uses (1 Peter 3:21 and John 6:50-58, for instance)? Why should this cause us to lessen the importance of being among God’s people, or the value of the Church?

FV doesn’t say “ignore the heart, it’s your baptism that matters.” FV says, our outward world affects our spiritual life more than we care to admit, being the gnostics we are in the church these days, and part of that world is church, parents, sermons, baptism, Communion, etc. The theological term is “means of grace.” So out of concern for your heart, take care to attend to the outward means of grace given in the Church. These are the visible signs Christ Himself has given us to nourish and strengthen our faith. Why would we pooh-pooh them in a careless misapplication of Romans 2:28-29? At the same time, we only look to our baptism for assurance to the extent that it enables us to look to what baptism signifies: the blood and righteousness of Christ with which we are cleansed. Should we not look to our baptism at all? That would be like sitting at the Supper with Christ; He hands you the bread and tells you to do this to remember Him, and you refusing Him and saying, No that will get in the way of just remembering You. I don’t want to look to some little piece of bread, I want to look to You.” Well, Jesus wants you to USE the bread, the water, the Word, to look to Him, not oppose these things TO Him! Don't refuse His gifts.

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