"1) My child, are you a Christian in fact as well as in name?
Yes, my father.
2) How is this known to you?
Because I am baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
3) How did you come into this communion of the church?
4) What is this baptism?
It is the washing of regeneration and cleansing from sin."*
God uses the “stuff of earth” in which to apply His grace. As I have emphasized before, Christ applies his death for the forgiveness of our sins through the waters of baptism. For those of my readers who insist that sacraments are "useless inventions of man" (or a treadmill of sacramentalism) maybe this quote will be helpful to bring understanding:
“God uses means and instruments which he himself sees to be expedient, that all things may serve his glory, since he is Lord and Judge of all. He feeds our bodies through bread and other foods, he illumines the world through the sun, and he warms it through heat; yet neither bread, nor sun, nor fire, is anything save in so far as he distributes his blessings to us by these instruments. In like manner, he nourishes faith spiritually through the sacraments...”
There you have it! Sacramental theology in a nutshell. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks Mr. Calvin for your Catechism for Children* and your most excellent view of the sacraments. Sometimes I think he never really left the Catholic Church! It must have been the grace of God working through that Romish infant baptism of his. Like my dear Catholic Mom used to say to me after I left the Church “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic!” It turns out she was right.