Bringing Your Children to the Lord’s Table
Historically, Christians have labored intensely to complicate Christian practice. In this, they follow the pattern of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who made it difficult for people to worship with joy and confidence. Surely this is not the Lord’s will for His covenant people.
Earnest Christians honor and respect the holiness of God. God is holy all by Himself. Nobody makes Him holy. What makes the child of God holy, as God is holy is not his religion. Rather, it is the Spirit of God who sanctifies. Conformity to the image of Christ is God’s will for His holy nation of people, the Israel of God, derived from people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
The church of Jesus Christ, the Israel of God, is the body of Christ. It is Jesus Christ, the Israel of God who is the faithful covenant partner with Yahweh. As the federal head of His church, Jesus, the Son of Man, the second Adam represents God’s chosen and redeemed people. He is positioned as righteous and all who are “in Him” possess an imputed righteousness.
Not everyone was predestined to adoption by God the Father, hence, not everyone was given to God’s Son. Some people, a remnant, belong to Jesus Christ. The rest of humanity does not belong to Him, which is why they do not believe in Him (Jn 10:26).
The elect of God, who were redeemed by Jesus Christ on the Cross, receive the Spirit of adoption, that is, the Holy Spirit, who baptizes them into Christ’s church at God’s appointed time. This is different for every child of God. The moment the sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, is made alive to God by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, the new life in Christ begins.
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave His beloved two sacraments as visible signs of the reality of union with Christ. There is a mutual indwelling where the Bible teaches us that the Spirit of Christ now lives in the born again. Christ lives in the believer; and the same Spirit transfers the elect, redeemed from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, that is, His church filled with the permanent indwelling Spirit of God (Rom 8:9, 11; 14:17).
God has established an everlasting covenant. This is the covenant of grace, wherein God makes promises to His covenant people. He faithfully keeps His promises to do all that is necessary for His children to have a surer future.
The sacrament of baptism points to the reality of this mutual indwelling union. Whether the sign is applied before (paedobaptism) or after (credobaptism) the fact is these remain signs of a reality — the visible Gospel message being preached at the time of the water baptismal event held in the local church, with other believers bearing witness.
Baptism says, “This one belongs to Christ Jesus and to us, His church.” The baptized person should be treated as a Christian in the covenant of grace. The misapplication of the sign (water baptism) is always possible in either paedo or credo baptism. The reality of the Spirit’s baptism is never misapplied because the Lord knows those who are His. He finds every lost sheep that belongs to Him.
There are no conditions on the covenant of grace. He saved us in eternity, at the cross, and at the appointed time of the Spirit’s baptism. Our salvation is blessed and sure in this life and forevermore.
Are children of the eternal covenant of grace welcome at the table of the Lord, who is our Father (Yahweh) and who is our Brother (Christ)? If God is faithful to His covenant people in every generation, which includes the children of believing parent(s) then should believers not treat their children as covenant people?
The children of God are surely welcome at the table where the visible symbols of bread and wine are ingested as a sign of one taking the death of Christ by faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. Our children listen and learn of so great a salvation. They observe the Lord’s supper and the communion of the saints with God. Why would we expect them to hear while we starve them?
To deny covenant children their rightful place at the Lord’s Table is to withhold Christ from one of His own blood-bought members. Is a perfect, knowledge and understanding necessary for a child to be blessed with spiritual sustenance from his or her heavenly Father’s gracious table?
We must conclude that the children of covenant believers, born again and filled with the Spirit, should be welcome where the Gospel is preached audibly and visually. There is no “right” time for children raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord and trained up in the way they should go, to finally be judged “acceptable” at their Lord’s table, in order to receive the sign of bread from heaven come down to give and sustain life.
Afterthought: the problem of children raised in Christian homes who taste the good things of God and later fall away cannot be predicted any more than Isaac could see Esau’s rebellion against Yahweh when he was a lad. The task of Christian parents is to be faithful to the covenant of grace, which the Spirit accomplishes in and through them.
A Christian home should be the most wonderful place on earth for a child. Recognized as a gift from God, the child of the covenant is oriented to Christ from the beginning — being a recipient of every means of grace which includes: a church family, corporate worship, the preaching of the Word, prayers, baptism and the Lord’s table. “Come ye children…” These are for you.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 10, 2021