Several months ago, an issue regarding infant baptism arouse in our church. Since that time I have sought to understand what the Bible says on the issue. Well, I know see infant baptism as a biblical doctrine and wanted to share what I see with you. Hope you enjoy, but most importantly I hope you are challenged to study God’s Word on this issue.
1. God always has and always will work covenantally with His chosen people.
When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, He made a covenant with him stating; “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you” (Gen. 17:7 NASB). Later on we read that circumcision is the sign of that covenant which God made with Abraham. Now there are two things in Genesis chapter 17 that I think are often overlooked. One, God commanded that every male born or bought into his house receive the covenant sign (i.e. circumcision). God also makes clear not every one in his household, though they have had the covenant sign applied, will have God’s covenant established with them. This is why Paul says in Romans,
“But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants” (Romans 9:6-8 NASB).
Therefore, since the covenant sign of the New Covenant is baptism, and there has been no new revelation stating to whom it must be applied, I believe that we (Christians) are commanded to baptize our children prior to profession. Now, for the new convert, who did not grow up in a God fearing home, they are to be baptized after making a profession, but then the command to baptize their children prior to a profession applies to them.
2. To insist on children of believers making a profession of faith prior to being baptized is an attempt to undermine God’s sovereignty in salvation.
Since Paul says later in Romans 9:16 that it (salvation) is dependent on God and not our will or work, it is most reasonable then for our children to be baptized before they make any profession. This is not to say that their baptism is what saves but rather that as their God fearing parents, we are to trust and believe that our children are “the children of the promise that are counted as offspring.” We are able to believe in them being children of promise because we know that God chooses people before they are born and thus have faith because of the sovereign choice of God. This also does not mean that we know that our biological children are elect of God, however we do know that God has always worked within the framework of His covenant promises. This can be either through birth, such as with Isaac, or through grafting into the covenant family, such as with Ruth and also the Gentiles in the New Testament.