Last week, we started discussing the issue of infant baptism. Many do not understand why Catholics baptize infants, especially when they cannot understand or believe on their own. We have however made a strong case for the baptism of infants, the first argument being the result of original sin. A child who innocently puts his/her finger into burning fire, must not believe whether he/she will be burnt or not- he/she will be burnt, anyway. An adult who sees such danger will be moved to pull the child away from the fire. Parents, by baptizing their children snatch them away from original sin and its dangers, and initiate them into a life of grace in Christ.
Is Infant Baptism Biblical?
We shall continue to look at other strong reasons why infants and children must not be denied baptism for any reason.
The Old Covenant
Includes Children: A Case Study.
In the Old Covenant, the principle of including babies in the covenant is established. God tells Abraham in his covenant, Genesis 17:9-14:
9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
12He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
13 both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
In the Old Covenant, Abraham, the man of faith, was called to choose circumcision as an adult. Also, men of faith are called to exercise faith for their children. Babies 8 days old would have to be circumcised. That is how babies came into the covenant. The babies made no choice in the matter. God even says that those who are uncircumcised have broken my covenant. Babies who have not been circumcised are thus guilty, according to God’s own words.
Children come into the Covenant established by God through the family. We thus see the necessity of those who love their children who want them in the covenant, circumcising their children.
We see children’s relationship with God necessarily depending upon their parents believing for them. In Ex 4:24ff, Moses is on the way back to Egypt and God seeks to kill him. Why? Because Moses neglected to circumcise his son. If circumcision gave spiritual benefits (Gen. 17:14, the part of being within the covenant), how much more would baptism?
All of Israel was told to sprinkle the blood of the lamb (which prefigured Christ) on the doors of the houses (Exodus 12:13). There was an issue of the firstborn of the land. The Israelites were commanded to sprinkle blood on their doorposts so God would not destroy their firstborn. I guess some individuals, with the anti-infant baptism mentality might have said “Well, let the children believe for themselves, since they must choose for themselves to sprinkle the lamb’s blood.” Instead, all of Israel, realizing that God works through the covenant, sprinkled the lamb’s blood on the doorpost to save their children. The Egyptians, similar to those against infant baptism, did not sprinkle blood on their doorpost, and all of their firstborn died (Ex. 12:24-28).
Neither the firstborn of Israel or Egypt showed any faith. However, the difference was, that those of faith believed for their children while the Egyptians did not believe for their children. If the anti-infant baptism mentality was around, Israel would have ended up with dead babies, just as the Egyptians.
Who in the New Covenant should we imitate? The mentality that would have produced dead babies, or the parents who believed for their children and put them in the Covenant of the family of God , and thus saved their children?
We thus see that God puts his children into the Old Covenant through the faith of their parents and grace.
If in the Old covenant, children were included in it by their parents’ faith and obedience for them by having them circumcised, must children not be brought into the new covenant through baptism with the help of their parents??
Hardly!!! After all, the grace of the New Covenant far exceeds that of the Old Covenant.
To be continued…..
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