The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
From The Baptist Pulpit, 1850, Joseph Belcher, Editor
No external privilege can entitle you to membership in the church of God. Are you, my friend, placed by a kind providence in a neighborhood where the pure Word of God is faithfully dispensed? And are you a constant attendant on the Word so preached? Truly your advantage is great; but if you remain impenitent and in unbelief, your condition is truly awful. Your responsibility has been swelling as your advantages have been multiplying; and if you die in your sin, you will surely meet a fearful reckoning. Where much is given, much will be required.
Has God blessed you with pious parents, who are consistent members of the Church of Christ, and who have prayed with you and for you, and have taken pains to lead you in the way that you should go? Great as your privilege is in this particular, it does not give you the least title to any of the blessings of the covenant of grace. If you are without personal faith in Christ, and holiness of heart, you are a stranger from the covenants of promise, and an alien from the commonwealth of Israel; without God and without hope in the world, a child of wrath, and, not a child of God.
John the Baptist faithfully warned his hearers against trusting in the faith and piety of parents. "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." (Matt. 3:9, 10)
The rich man, who cried from the abyss of hell for a drop of water to cool his tongue, was a descendant of Abraham, and the glorified patriarch recognized him as such, but this availed him nothing. The gulf was fixed, O, forever, forever fixed! They, and they only, that are of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Dangerous in the extreme is that doctrine which asserts that unconscious babes have a right to membership in the church of God, and that attaches holiness to what is born of the flesh. Have they not yet heard, that "that which is born of the flesh, is flesh?" (John 3:6)
And then, to complete the climax, they put into the mouths of the poor deceived children, in answer to the question, "Who gave you that name?" the reply, “My godfathers and godmothers, when I was baptized, and made a child of God, and a member of Christ, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven." A more deadly dose of opiate never was administered to lull the conscience in careless security, and to usher immortal souls into the presence of their final Judge with a lie in their right hand.
I speak, my brethren, in part from my own experience. I have swallowed the dose, and for years have felt its deadening influence on my soul. But, O, to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be! My heart bleeds for youth that are similarly situated. O Spirit of our God! Rend the veil from their hearts, and undeceive them; show them that except they are born again, they cannot see the kingdom of God.