Do you believe in Jesus? Do you love your children? Then baptize them.
Baptism is not a superstition embedded in the Christian faith. As an external sacrament, water baptism does not save anyone. Baptism is also not some confirmation that you are an “official” believer in Jesus.
Baptism is a picture of one’s entrance into the kingdom of God. It shows us “how” we enter into Christ and the covenant of grace. There is a sign (water baptism) and a reality (Spirit baptism).
By way of illustration, let’s say you go hiking on some trails through a park on a hillside. At the entrance to the trail way/park — a beautiful place set apart — there is a sign with a map. “You are here” along with an arrow pointing to the gateway are in view. That sign/map represents baptism. The park represents the kingdom of God’s Son. The sign shows “how” you enter the park.
The sign is not the park itself, but it is a replica of the reality. The sign is positioned at the initial point to show you where you are on your journey, and, of course, where you are intended to go. Baptism is an entry marker to the Christian life. It sits at the beginning of one’s spiritual pilgrimage, walked by faith and in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
As a Christian parent, do you view your children as a gift from God (Ps 127:3)? Do you see yourself in the covenant of grace? Do you have faith in God’s promises to believers and their children? Do you believe those promises are “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus?
Believers trust in Christ, who has cut the covenant of grace with His blood. The covenant terms say that God will choose, redeem, forgive, and actually save His people from their sins and from eternal death. Do you not believe the covenant promises are good for your children, too?
When God promised to give the kingdom to Christ, and then to fill that kingdom with people, whom He chose from before the foundation of the world, well, He then communicated His intention to believers, by His Word, which is guaranteed by His covenant. God’s Word is true.
Those who are in Christ must see that faith is not a prerequisite for baptism, but that baptism is a sign of God’s work in salvation, explained in the covenant promises given in God’s Word.
Parents baptize their infants because the parents have faith in what God has revealed in His Word about His sovereignty in salvation. The kingdom belongs to the children, and one enters in the manner of a child (helpless babe), that is, carried in by grace alone.
The sign/map shows a pre-planned and already finished trail system. The sign is trusted by the parent, as much as the reality is to be experienced by the child down the path.
God says, “I will make covenant with you and your descendants after you (Gen 9:9; 17:7).” He then reveals the eternal covenant to those for whom He intended it. His plan was predetermined and is already finished, except for the incorporation of the elect in future generations (from our perspective). He who began this good work is sure to finish it, as it pertains to believers and their households (Phil 1:6).
Baptism is the sign of the beginning of this life of faith that separates God’s covenant people from people outside of those promises. The reprobate unbeliever cannot live a life of faith in Christ because he or she does not belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23) because God the Father did not give them to Christ the Son.
God’s elect enter the kingdom of God in the same way one enters a bounded park. The fact that you bring your stroller filled with children is not a mystery. They are welcome in the park. Christian parents bring their children on this faith journey, and baptism marks the beginning of their training in righteousness and admonition of the Lord.
For Christian parents to deny their newborn children this sign will only confuse them, later. “Mom, we are a Christian family, right? What makes us a Christian family?” Her reply, “Son, it is the election of God the Father before creation, the efficacious death of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit that makes us a Christian family.” Child’s reply, “How do we know these things are true?” Her answer, “The Bible tells us, and our baptism and the Lord’s supper show us what God in Christ has done for us.” He inquires, “Mom, do these things apply to me?” Mom’s reply, “Yes, son, the beginning of your walk with Christ was not your free will decision. God gave you to our family as a gift, and He has communicated His salvation to us through the promises of His Word, which is for you as much as it is for us.”
If God commands us to “be baptized” and “do this in remembrance” then we should obey. To deny baptism to a child, is to refuse Jesus’ invitation for you to bring your children to Him.
When Jesus blessed the infants brought to Him, He was showing them His personal salvation for them. In other words, to be blessed of Jesus is to be saved. If you heed His invitation, by faith, then you bring your children to His salvation, initiated at the sign.
After baptism, the initial point of one’s kingdom walk, then the journey of growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ continues (2 Pet 3:18). Age is of no matter here. We begin with milk and continue with meat.
To not bring your children to the point of entry into the kingdom is gross neglect and unbelief in the promise of God to Abraham and all his children after him (spiritual seed, not ethnic)…including your children, if you are a believer.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 7, 2022