Infant Baptism in the Bible
- 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). People that desire to be baptized must learn the doctrines of salvation and be persuaded in their faith first.
- Believes it. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). The act of believing is the inward acceptance of the salvation so lovingly provided by the death of the world’s Savior (John 3:16; 1:12).
- Has repented of his sins. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Repentance is much more than confession of sin. It means not only a change of mind but a new direction of the will, an altered purpose and attitude. It includes sorrow for sin, restitution wherever possible, and the resolution not to repeat the sin (Matthew 3:2; 5:2, 3).
- Has experienced conversion and a new life. “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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:4-6).
Baptism points not only to death and burial but also resurrection of Christ. This ceremony refers to two paths, back to our death to wickedness and forward to our conversion in Christ. As the death of the Son of God had the resurrection in view (Romans 4:25), so also divine grace does not stop with the Christian’s death to sin. Rather, this death to sin hopes for a more dedicated and pure life. Justification looks forward to the believer’s full sanctification.
Based on the above understanding, we can conclude that infants don’t qualify here. In fact, to do so, completely disregards God’s direct commands regarding baptism.
Some have wrongly taught that the unbaptized infant is lost if he dies. This unscriptural concept that an infant is lost eternally because his parents failed to baptize him is a slander upon the loving character of our Heavenly Father (John 3:16).
The Bible teaches that an infant should be dedicated or consecrated to the Lord, just as Jesus was. “Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:22-24).
Consecration or dedication is the service that an infant should receive from the biblical church. Christian parents who dedicate a child are making a promise to the Lord to do everything within their power to raise the child in a godly way until he or she can make a decision to follow God. The parents also ask the Lord for wisdom, grace and power to fulfill their sacred mission. The church also makes a promise to help, guide, and support the parents in their God appointed duty to raise the child in the path of the Lord.
In His service,