Infant baptism has been rejected by some as being unbiblical. A common objection is that infants cannot profess their faith and therefore should not be baptized. Is there a case for infant baptism, if we examine the Bible closely?
God’s Covenant with Abraham and Its Sign
In Gen. 15, God made a covenant with Abraham. This covenant would be a means by which all God’s people will be blessed. This was not a covenant of works, but only of grace alone. In Galatians 3:29, if we are Christ’s, then we are also Abraham’s spiritual children and heirs according to the promise.
After this covenant was made, God gave Abraham the sign of circumcision. It was to signify the removal of spiritual uncleanness and God’s promise of blessing on Abraham’s family from generation to generation (Gen. 17:10–14). Even though none of his family had professed faith in this covenant, they had to be circumcised. Here we see the application of the sign without the requirement of faith for salvation.
Paul called circumcision both a “seal” and a “sign” of righteousness that Abraham had by faith (Rom. 4:11). A seal is a visible pledge of God that when the conditions of His covenant were met, the blessings promised would be applied. Therefore, God did not require parents to wait until their son could express faith before administering circumcision.
The Covenant Continues, but the Sign Changes
The bloody sign of circumcision no longer remains appropriate after Jesus has shed His blood once for all to remove our sin (Heb. 10:10; 1 Peter 1:18). Therefore, we receive a new sign to indicate what Christ has done for us. Baptism with water is now the sign of the washing away of our sin (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; Heb. 9:14). Also, Colossians 2:11–12 tells us that salvation comes through faith alone and that circumcision has been replaced by baptism.
While the sign of the covenant has changed, the extent of it do not. The promises continue to be extended through parents unto their children (Acts 2:38-39). For the children to reap the full blessings of the covenant, they must express their own faith in Christ.
When we baptise our children, we are keeping with the example of faithful families from long ago. In faith with obedience, we devote our children of the covenant to Him.
Dn. Mervin Lin