Christian Baptism. (a. d. 66.)
21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
Noah's salvation in the ark upon the water prefigured the salvation of all good Christians in the church by baptism; that temporal salvation by the ark was a type, the antitype whereunto is the eternal salvation of believers by baptism, to prevent mistakes about which the apostle,
I. Declares what he means by saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing with water, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth of the flesh, but it is that baptism wherein there is a faithful answer or re-stipulation of a resolved good conscience, engaging to believe in, and be entirely devoted to, God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, renouncing at the same time the flesh, the world, and the devil. The baptismal covenant, made and kept, will certainly save us. Washing is the visible sign; this is the thing signified.
II. The apostle shows that the efficacy of baptism to salvation depends not upon the work done, but upon the resurrection of Christ, which supposes his death, and is the foundation of our faith and hope, to which we are rendered conformable by dying to sin, and rising again to holiness and newness of life. Learn, 1. The sacrament of baptism, rightly received, is a means and a pledge of salvation. Baptism now saveth us. God is pleased to convey his blessings to us in and by his ordinances, Acts ii. 38; xxii. 16. 2. The external participation of baptism will save no man without an answerable good conscience and conversation. There must be the answer of a good conscience towards God.—Obj. Infants cannot make such an answer, and therefore ought not to be baptized.—Answer, the true circumcision was that of the heart and of the spirit (Rom. ii. 29), which children were no more capable of then than our infants are capable of making this answer now; yet they were allowed circumcision at eight days old. The infants of the Christian church therefore may be admitted to the ordinance with as much reason as the infants of the Jewish, unless they are barred from it by some express prohibition of Christ. [emphasis added]
Okay, according to Jesus-is-savior.com, Matthew Henry is a heretic. Apparently Henry promoted the idea of baptismal regeneration, i.e. that through baptism one is saved. Now its easy for us nowadays to say such things, but the problem is, the things that are quoted are surrounded by other things that prove he most certainly is not supporting that!
So now I'm going to explain what Henry was saying when he said such things.
The baptismal covenant, made and kept, will certainly save us.
What is the baptismal covenant? That is the question to ask first. Well firstly, a covenant is an agreement, a 'testament' made and agreed to by two parties. What Henry is referring to is the New Testament, not anything to do with Baptism saving us, baptism is seen as the signifier, the example, the sign by which we say "I am saved", in fact thats what Henry says right after the underlining: "Washing is the visible sign; this is the thing signified.". SIGN.
Thus baptism signifies the covenant, That is why people get baptised today! That is why people got baptised in 30AD! To say "I turned to God".
The sacrament of baptism, rightly received, is a means and a pledge of salvation. Baptism now saveth us.
1. Firstly we need a definition of sacrament:
"A sacrament is a sacred Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance." -wikipedia
So here we are, its not, something that saves you, its just important and significant. Baptism is indeed, something that 'tells of' or indicates salvation, remember Matthew Henry was writing in the late 17th century, and he's using means in the sense of:
" to serve or intend to convey, show, or indicate : signify mean
Baptism means salvation. i.e. Baptism now "saveth" us. See here:
"The external participation of baptism will save no man without an
answerable good conscience and conversation. There must be the answer of
a good conscience towards God.—Obj. Infants cannot make such an answer,
and therefore ought not to be baptized."
Again he shows that baptism does not save:
"You must be born again of the Spirit,’’ which regeneration by the Spirit should be signified by washing with water, as the visible sign of that spiritual grace: not that all they, and they only, that are baptized, are saved; but without that new birth which is wrought by the Spirit, and signified by baptism, none shall be looked upon as the protected privileged subjects of the kingdom of heaven.”
To say that this teaches baptismal regeneration, shows Jesus-is-savior's rather deluded and ignorant understanding of the English Language. If you were to follow his logic, the bible is heretical as well:
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like
as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even
so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
Buried with Christ in baptism?! Whattt?
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38
Be baptised for the remission of sins? Thats putting baptism farrr to near to salvation for my liking!
Is Matthew Henry saying anything different than the bible? If Matthew Henry was speaking in modern English, would he not be one of the pioneers of today's 'revival' of old time gospel preaching?
I like to read Matthew Henry, he's insightful, he's not the Bible, but he was certainly a very wise and intelligent man. Why deny that and call a man a heretick simply because you assume that he's wrong. Baptism is one of those difficult things to understand, you can view it in many different lights. But evidently the correct view is that it signifies salvation: the start of a new life. I'm a King James only christian, but theres no harm in reading a commentary, that may open up new ways of looking at scripture. It's like listening to preaching..a guy is essentially giving you a commentary on a passage of scripture. You accept whether or not its true based upon YOUR OWN knowledge of scripture, and YOUR OWN bible reading. When someone like JIS comes along as says "heretick, heretick", what he's saying is, I disagree with that man's opinions about this passage, therefore I am going to rather unintelligently come along and rail on a dead guy. It shows spiritual immaturity, and bible ignorance. If JIS had come along and just read Matthew Henry in that passage, he would see that the surrounding lines explain exactly what he means, he keeps saying "signifies", and "rightly received (i.e. as a born again christian)". Sure, our lack of understanding of 17th century english, which is lofty and alien to us, can hinder us in our understanding of what's being said. But if it bothers you so much, move on. Take baptismal regeneration as his view if you want (although his works are actually used by people arguing against it). But do you have to believe it just because you're reading it? No! Do you agree word for word with everything that your pastor says? I know I don't. But does that stop you from going to church?
Read if you want, don't if you don't, But Henry is not an heretick.