Sermon on Infant Baptism

5Gen. 17:7, And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

Acts 2:39, For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

6/ 1 Cor. 7:14, For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

Joel 2:16, Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

7Matt. 19:14, But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

8Luke 1:14–15, And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at His birth. For He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from His mother’s womb.

Ps. 22:10, I was cast upon thee from the womb: Thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

Acts 2:39, For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

9Acts 10:47, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

1 Cor. 12:13, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1 Cor. 7:14, For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

10 Gen. 17:14, And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.

11 Col. 2:11–13, In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

LD #27 – HC Question 74:

Are infants also to be baptized?

Answer: Yes, for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant5 and church of God;6 and since redemption from sin7 by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them8 no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the Christian church, and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers9 as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision,10 instead of which baptism is instituted in the new covenant.11

Inasmuch as we have much to consider this morning, I will not be able to deal with this Q & A exhaustively. If you want the whole consideration I encourage you to visit Iron Ink where this is laid out in its entirety in different posts.

As we consider this Catechism question we want to note upfront that what we will be doing this morning is providing a cumulative argument in answering the question; “Should Infants be baptized.” We are going to present a series of arguments affirming that infants should be baptized and in the doing of that we will be appealing to many of the Scriptures that the Catechizers offered as support for this answer.

As we start out here we first note that in what must be considered the old and worse covenant when compared to the new and better covenant God’s grace included the children, but now, per Baptist thinking, in the new and better covenant God’s grace excludes the children and we likewise, if we are to be Biblical must also forbid the little children from coming unto Christ because allegedly they would never comprise the Kingdom of God.

Quite to the contrary what we instead see in the NT is that God’s grace expands, as compared to the OT, in its largess so as to include the Nations, so as to now place the sign of the covenant on both males and females, and so as to promise that it shall conquer the globe. Yet, Baptists would have us believe, by their conviction and doctrine that the one place where God’s grace contracts in the NT is with His and our covenant children. In the NT, unlike the OT, God’s grace is constrained so as to leave out those who were once included.

Next, as to this question of whether or not infants should be baptized we consider;

Gal. 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

And what was that promise? Gen. 17:7-8

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee…

Are we to believe that now that we have been graciously brought into the covenant as Abraham’s seed that the great covenant promise given to Abraham and his seed is no longer operative for us and our seed? If Abraham’s seed was part of the covenant promise then why should it be the case that our seed today, as children of Abraham ourselves, should not be given the sign of the covenant?

When we consider this question of whether our infants should be baptized we note that we believe that in coming to the Baptismal Font we are coming to the place where we find Christ and the promises of God. As the Catechism teaches (HC Q. 66)The Baptismal Font bespeaks of the granting to God’s people free remission of sin and life eternal for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross. At the Baptismal Font we find Christ and all His promises. At the Baptismal font Christ greets and receives us and our children.

And so, following the NT example we bring our children here to Christ and His promises just as in the 1st century they brought their children to be blessed by Christ. And Just as the Lord received children as belonging to the covenant community then as recorded in Mt. 19:14 and as heard in His declarative statement “Let the little children come unto me,” so we believe and know that Christ says to His people today the same and so we bring our children, knowing that Christ is pleased.

And we do so despite the ringing in our ears of Baptists today, like the disciples in Jesus’ day to forbid the children from coming to Christ we continue to bring our children to our and their sovereign Liege-Lord Jesus Christ. And, frankly, we are just as irritated with the Baptists today as Jesus was with His disciples then for their seeking to block the way of the covenant seed coming to Jesus.

Now, the typical Baptist will object here;

Children were and are brought to Christ- not to the Baptismal font.

And to that, as Biblical Christians we respond by noting that “We are presented today with Christ only in Word and Sacrament. There alone we meet and find Christ. If our children are to be received by Christ they can only come unto Him by coming to via Word & Sacrament.”

Next we consider I Cor. 7. When we come to I Cor. 7 we find the Holy Spirit talking about the children of believers and there the Apostle crafts an argument wherein it is assumed that the seed of any one believer are holy — just as they had always been considered through revelational history. The context finds St. Paul talking about marriages between Christians and non-Christians and there the Spirit of God calls such marriages “Holy,” on the premise that if one of the parties to the marriage are part of the covenant than the marriage and the children from the marriage are considered by God as Holy — that is set apart. Now if the Apostle designates such children are considered as set apart and so Holy should they not be given the sign of the covenant that marks out all God’s people as Holy and set apart? If the premise in I Cor. 7 is that children are Holy are they not part of the covenant community and if part of the covenant community should they not be given the sign of the covenant?

Also, when it comes to infant Baptism the book of Acts yields five cases of household Baptisms. Remember, in household Baptisms if the head of the household is Baptized then all in the household are baptized. This was the pattern in the OT and nothing in the NT seems to overturn that. Now, we gladly concede that in none of these household baptisms is it explicitly said that infants/children were baptized. However, we can say upon the household principle that if infants/children were in those households then they were certainly baptized. Now add to this that in Ephesians we find this household language;

Eph. 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,

This is important in this discussion when we remember that God’s household throughout history had always included infants/children. That being so there is no reason to think that God’s household when we come to the NT is bereft of infants/children.

Now, add to all this the reality that the NT records that many of the Jews were outraged that the Gentiles were coming in but not one peep in the NT from the Jews that their children were now excluded from the covenant and it is past difficult to put off the conclusion that infants/children of God’s people were then and should now be baptized.

When it comes to this issue of infant-Baptism we have St. Peter’s own words

“The promise is to you and your children and for all who are afar off.” (Acts 2:39).

Now, we gladly concede that can be heard through Baptist ears in such a way that does not compel infant Baptism. The Baptist will tend to hear these words as meaning;

“The promise is to you (if you believe), to your children (if they believe), and to many who are afar off (if they believe).”

But a reading of the passage in light of previous revelation drives us to another conclusion. If we hear these words from Peter via the echo of revelational history and covenantal moorings we hear them in light of God’s speaking to Abraham once upon a time;

“It is to you and your children, and also to the nations that the blessing will come” (cf. Gen. 22:17-18).

Is not what Peter is saying in his Pentecost sermon that what was once promised to Father-Abraham in what is now called the “Abrahamic promise” that the promise remains to you and your children — but now the day has finally dawned where that promise goes out to the nations — the afar off ones — as well?”

I submit that is truer to the harmony of Scripture than the spin the Baptists want to put upon it.

Let us sign off by reveling and relishing in the grace and favor of God and His Christ who by His Spirit is so kind and generous to us that he includes in the covenant of grace the second highest of all our loves – our love for our children.

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 Familialist 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.

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