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What is the difference between baptism and confirmation?

Confirmation

Christians confirmation is a sacrament practiced by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Churches where infant baptism is also done. This rite allows a baptized person to confirm the promises made on his behalf at baptism. Thus, confirmation makes the bond of the member with the Church more perfect.

The practice of Christian confirmation is not biblical for no one can “confirm” to another that someone is with God. Only God has the right to do that since He is the One that can read the heart. “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:10 also 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 44:21).

The Bible teaches that it is the Holy Spirit who confirms to the repentant person that he has been forgiven: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). The continuing confirmation that we are yet God’s people comes through the indwelling of God’s Spirit (Romans 8:14). “When we cry, ‘Abba Father’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Galatians 4:6, RSV).

Also, salvation is confirmed by the fruits of the Spirit that are manifested in the life of the Christian. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23) .

Thus, the Biblical “Christian confirmation” is not the work of humans but it is the work of God Himself through the redemption of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:7-8), the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14) and the power of the Father to keep the saints from falling till the end (Jude 24, 25).

Baptism

As for baptism, the Bible teaches that no one should be baptized unless he:

  1. Learns the truth of God: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them … Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20).
  2. Believes the truth: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Mark 16:16).
  3. Has repented: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
  4. Has experienced conversion: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life…” (Romans 6:4-6).

Therefore, infants don’t qualify for baptism but can be dedicated to the Lord instead just as Jesus was dedicated by Joseph and Mary when he was a baby (Luke 2:21-24).

Baby Dedication

The Lord ordained that parents should have an active role in leading their children to the Lord: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” ( (Deuteronomy 6:7).

We are told, in 1 Samuel 1, that Hannah presented her son Samuel to the Lord. And in Luke 2:22, we read that Mary and Joseph brought their baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem in order to present him before the Lord. The Lord assures parents that He is eager to bless their children. “Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them” (Matthew 19:14).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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