Baptism Charge … Psalm 22:9-10

Psalm 22:8″Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.” 9Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 10Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.…

First, note here that the Psalmist emphasizes that the relationship between himself as an infant and His God was a relationship totally established by God.

“You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts”

The Psalmist had a redemptive relationship with God from the time he was in the womb. And this was so because God made it so.

When we baptize infants it is not primarily about what the infant has done. In Baptism we are merely echoing the Psalmist that God owns our children from birth.

Some would contend that Baptism should not be done since babies cannot have faith and yet we find here the Psalmist saying that He was made to trust when upon His mother’s breast. Clearly, if God’s revelation says that the child upon His mother’s breast trusted God, then who are we to say that such an infant trust is impossible?

But the idea of infant trust or faith is not as ridiculous as Baptists and others like to make it sound. The reasoning goes that since infants can’t trust … can’t “have faith” therefore infants should not be baptized until they can trust and can have faith.

Before unraveling this line of thought do keep in mind again that Baptism is not primarily about our actions. Baptism is about God’s actions and God’s claim upon us and our children. To argue that we should not Baptize our children because they don’t understand is like arguing that we should not give our children’s names because they don’t understand.

Having said that, we would contend however that children can have faith, can trust, and do understand. Observe the newborn who knows his mother’s voice. If an infant knows and trusts the voice of His parents and finds security in that voice and in that presence why would we think it impossible that an infant knows and trusts His covenant King?

Now, as that child grows their trust will increase as they get to know the parents but what grows must first exist in seed form. It is just so with a child’s trust in God. The child who was made to trust God upon His mother’s breast will grow in that trust of God as the years fall away.

Baptism of infants merely recognizes this reality. Baptism demonstrates that God’s claim on us is always prior to our claim on Him. Further, infant baptism does no violence to the idea that salvation is by faith alone. The God who makes us to trust upon our Mother’s breast is the God who works in infants that very real trust. God doesn’t need our expanded capacities of understanding in order to work “trust” in us. God doesn’t need for us to be older in order to be saved by faith alone. All of our experience should teach us that the passage of years most certainly does not automatically make one a riper candidate to put faith in God. Indeed, as Trust in God only happens in people who are resurrected from being cognitively and spiritually dead in their sins it seems altogether appropriate to say that Babies are prime candidates to be made to put their Trust in God from their mother’s womb and so be Baptized.

Let’s look at this infant Baptism from another angle. Nobody, I know of, argues that since infants cannot understand their parents therefore, their parents should not speak to them. When the baby is fussy, the mother will make a promise saying, “I’ll be there in just a second honey.” The mother understands that at some level her child intuitively understands. Well, in Baptism God is speaking to His and Our babies.

We might speak promises to our babies such as,

“Mommy will be there to change your diaper in a second,” or,
“Just be patient a second, and I will feed you,” or,
“I know, you’re so tired, I will put you down for a nap in just a second.”

In the Waters of Baptism God is similarly speaking His promises to His covenant seed,

“I shall be your God…”
“Lo, I am with you always,”
“I will never leave you nor forsake you,”
“Nothing shall separate you from the Love of God.”

Would any of us dare tell either a Mother or God that she or He is silly for talking to babies who don’t understand? Of course we wouldn’t and yet that is precisely what those who deny God’s sign of the covenant to His and Our babies are saying at some level.

“Those babies can’t understand, so why bother giving them the sign of the covenant?”

And yet the Psalmist contradicts such people by saying,

“You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 10Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.…”

And one wonderful thing about a Baptism service is that we hear again God lisping to us as Adults those same fundamental truths that He coo-cooed to us when we were babies. Though now we are advanced in years, and perhaps a little beaten up by the wear and tear of life, we hear again those delightful and soul-stirring promises as they are spoken to another generation….

“Fear not, for I am with you little flock.”

Of course, this is only the beginning of the Baptismal journey. As the years pass the children are to be spoken to repeatedly throughout their lives of God’s promises. These promises are to be spoken to them by their parents at every turn, and they are to be spoken to them by Word and Sacrament Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day. They are to be trained to continue to Trust in the God who made them to Trust Him. Baptism is not a magical talisman that relieves us from attending to a diligent usage of God’s means of Grace. Baptism is that first Grace that anticipates all future grace.

For those who deny infant Baptism, if I could I would awaken in you how backward a Christian faith it is that insists that a man must be old enough to appeal to God before God can claim a man in Baptism I would. But, alas, I do not have that capability. Only God can teach you that.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Kinist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture . Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

3 thoughts on “Baptism Charge … Psalm 22:9-10”

  1. Agree completely with the sentiment but I think you are missing something crucial – in the plain reading of the scriptures just look at the command of baptism and how it’s carried out in early church. You will find a very simple command – “believe and be baptized”. As you rightly point out, it is by faith alone we are saved so there is clearly no need to baptize an infant. Let that child grown up in full understanding and assurance of the promises of the covenant, yet allow the child to hear that gentle whisper to baptized when they follow Gods call to lay claim toHis promises via baptism?

    1. This supposes though Scot, that Baptism is about our commitment to God.

      Baptism is about God’s commitment to us. In Baptism God is gently whispering that He is the God of us and our children.

      There is a need to baptize infants. It is the need of obeying God’s commands and believing His promises.

      “For to you is the promise and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God may call.”

      Finally, household Baptism proves that infant Baptism was practiced in the NT Church. And that even if the NT record does not explicitly say that infants were baptized in household Baptisms. The principle of household baptism means that if there had been children in the household they would have been baptized along with the rest of the household.

      Cheers

  2. What about the plain reading of the Old Testament and the very simple command to “believe and be circumcised, you and your household?”

    Abraham understood believer’s circumcision and its household application (Gen. 17) and so did Paul (Rom. 4:10-12).

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