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Open on Your 12th Birthday: Letter to a Covenant Child

As I write this letter, you are just an infant; I don’t know where you will be 12 years from no

PCANews - Editor’s note: Here is a pastor’s letter written to covenant children on the day of their baptism to be opened on their 12th birthday. This is one way of confirming God’s promises to these covenant children years after receiving the sign of the covenant.

Dear Michael:

Today was a special day in your life and you were too young to be aware of it. Your parents presented you for the sacrament of baptism. In this ceremony before the congregation, your parents affirmed that you were a gift to them from God. They promised to raise you in the Lord. And after some words of dedication and commitment, I baptized with water you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

You are supposed to read this letter when you reach your 12th birthday, a time just before you enter into your teen years. That will be one of the major transition points in your life. As you celebrate your 12th year, I want you to be aware of the special day when you received the sign of God's covenant love.

Let me explain a number of things that I trust will help you understand the importance of your baptism. First, your parents presented you for baptism because they were acting in obedience to God’s command. Long ago, God made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12-17). A covenant is a promise that God will keep. In this covenant God promised to love us and be faithful to us. Even though you were not aware of all that was happening, God was placing a protective cover over you.

Second, while your parents had already placed their faith in Jesus as their Savior, they knew that their faith would not save you. One of the vows that they took was this: "Do you claim God's covenant promises in his behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation, as you do for your own?" The heart desire of your parents was that you would be able to say one day: "I believe that Jesus is my Savior and Lord." Michael, I trust that by the time you read this letter you will have already professed Jesus as your Savior. If not, I would urge you to do so today.

Third, your parents desired the best for you. You should have seen their faces that day you were baptized; they were beaming with joy as they held you in front of the members of the church. They wanted everyone to be happy with them about this cute, little boy that God had given to them. And they still want the best for you. And what is the best? It is believing that God has a plan for you and you will find true fulfillment by glorifying Him.

Michael, as I write this letter, you are just an infant; I don’t know where you will be 12 years from now. But here is the basic summary of what I desire for you: glorify God in your life; confess Jesus before the world without shame; trust the Bible as God's Word and read it daily; and serve God wherever you live. This is a tall order, but you are a covenant child and I urge you to marvel at God’s faithfulness to His promises.

Today was a day of grace in your life; may the Lord bless you on this special day and all the days of your life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Your Pastor
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    God Substituting Himself for Man

    The concept of substitution may be said to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.

    John Stott in The Cross of Christ

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