Devotional 1: Infant Baptism
We believe in Paedobaptism. This means that we believe that God has claimed our son and all children that are born into a family with at least one believing parent. They are set apart to God; they are “holy” to God in fact (1 Cor. 7:14). Leviticus 27 is one place where we learn what it means for something to be “holy to the Lord.” There, houses, fields, servants, fruit, tithes or anything else that is “holy to the Lord” becomes His property. It may not be sold for profit, but it belongs to the priests, God’s personal attendants. But we also baptize infants because salvation is of grace. Peter says that the promise of forgiveness of sins is for us and our children (Acts 2:39), and this is consistent with the Old Covenant which was a promise that flowed through generations (Gen. 9:12, 17:7, Deut. 7:9, 1 Chr. 16:15, Ps. 105:8, etc.). Also, while no children are explicitly mentioned, we do have record of early household baptisms (Acts. 16:15, 1 Cor. 1:16). The faith of one head of the household is enough for God to claim servants, children and any others in the household. The sign of the Old Covenant was circumcision, but the sign of the New Covenant is baptism. As the sign was placed upon both young and old, slave and free in the household of Abraham and his descendents, so it is with baptism in the Christian era (Gen. 17:9-14). Likewise as it was covenant breaking not to obey God in this, so it is disobedience not to baptize our children. Baptism is “circumcision without hands” according to Paul, and through the working of faith it unites us and our children to the death and resurrection of Jesus (Col. 2:11-12).
In addition to believing that we should baptize our children and all household members who are willing, we also learn an important lesson about obeying God. His Word is sufficient and clear, but He sometimes requires things of us that we must infer. Sometimes the tidy-minded want everything spelled out explicitly. But this is called legalism; God expects us to grow up into maturity and connect the right dots as we do.