Sunday, January 23, 2022

A Few Arguments for Infant Baptism

Here are a few brief arguments for the baptism of the infants of believers, as well as a few notes of application. 

1. Baptism is our initiation as disciples of the Lord Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20). The children of believers are disciples of the Lord Jesus, to be raised by their parents as such (Eph. 6:1-4). Therefore we should baptize the children of believers.

Your baptism ought therefore to remind you of your identity as Christ’s disciple, to entrust yourself to him and to follow him, diligently learning to observe his commands. 

2. Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, and the covenant of grace is made with believers and their children (Gen. 17:7, Acts 2:39), therefore the children of believers should be baptized.

God has always extended and confirmed his covenant mercy to the children of believers and has included them in his church (Gen. 6:28, 9:9, Gen. 17:7-13, Deut. 29:10-15, Acts 2:39). This can be compared to how, in 2 Samuel 9-10, King David, who had made a covenant with Jonathan, then extended that covenant mercy to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth (who received it with humility and gratitude), and did the same with his ally King Nahash and his son Nanun (who responded with rebellion). Your baptism is a sign of God’s covenant mercy and ought to stir you to respond with gratitude and loyalty all your life, keeping the covenant by believing in Christ and demonstrating such faith by obedience to God’s word. Your baptism should teach you to call upon God as your God and Father.

3. Circumcision was the sign and seal of the covenant in the old administration (Gen. 17:1-14, Rom. 4:11) and baptism is the functionally equivalent new covenant ceremony representing the same thing (Col. 2:11-12). As circumcision was applied to infant children of believers, so baptism should be as well.

Circumcision was a sign and seal of the righteousness that is by faith (Rom. 4:11) and the conversion of the heart (Deut. 30:6), and yet was given to infants who could not give a profession of faith or a demonstration of conversion. These children were then called to live in accordance with the symbol as heirs of the covenant (Deut. 10:16, Jer. 4:4). Likewise, baptism into Christ is a new covenant sign and seal of the same blessings (Col. 2:11-14, Gal. 3:27-29). Children who are baptized are then raised to live in accord with this symbol, to trust in Christ for their cleansing from sin and to put on the ways of the new self in Christ and to put away what belongs to the old sinful nature. 

4. The actions of the apostolic church recorded in the New Testament are fully compatible with the practice of infant baptism, especially as households were baptized following the conversion of a parent (Acts 16:14-15, 31-34), just as households were circumcised in the Old Testament (Gen. 17, Ex. 12:48). The inclusion of children would have been assumed because of the prior biblical pattern, and there is no teaching about a change in practice as would be expected if there was a change.

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