THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
Is Infant Baptism Biblical?
Last week, we saw that the Israelites became part of God’s covenant, for the most part, by the faith of their parents, as shown in the covenant that God established with Abraham, and by the parents sprinkling the blood on the doorposts for their firstborn.
In the Old Testament, circumcision was the outward sign identifying the people of God. In the New Testament, however, baptism becomes the sign, and therefore replaces circumcision (Colossians 2:11-14).
The question then is, “if children were not excluded from the old covenant because they were too young to understand, why would they be excluded in the new covenant for the same reason? Is God amending the constitution, or maybe updating the app?
Can A Believer Act for
Others in the New Testament?
We have seen in the Old Covenant through Abraham and Moses that God commanded that they circumcise their children who had absolutely no say in the matter. In Jesus’ teaching, is there any hint as well, that spiritual blessing and forgiveness can be given through the faith of others?
In Matthew 9:2-6, we see:
2 And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, take up your bed and go home.”
Notice it was not the paralytic who chose for himself to accept Jesus words. It was the faith of his friends, which provided not only his physical restoration, but most importantly the forgiveness of his sins!! We also see in Mark 5, a father acting on behalf of her dying daughter:
22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Ja’irus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and besought him, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”
We see Jesus responding to the faith of her father. In fact she had died. However, Jesus, acting on the faith of her father, restored her to life. Some might have thought, “well, this daughter should have believed for herself!! Nobody could believe for her!”
Households Being Baptized
In the New Testament
But do we have any indications of any households being baptized that would include infants? “The indications are fairly clear.
Lydia was converted by Paul’s preaching. “She was baptized, with her household” (Acts 16:15).
The Philippian jailer whom Paul and Silas had converted to the faith, who had been about to commit suicide when they were miraculously freed from their imprisonment, was baptized that night along with his household. We are told that “the same hour of the night . . . he was baptized, with all his family” (Acts 16:33). And in his greetings to the Corinthians, Paul recalled that, “I did baptize also the household of Stephanas.” In all these cases, whole households or families were baptized. This means more than just the spouse; the children too were included. (1 Cor. 1:16, also, Acts 18:8; Acts 11:14 implies household baptism, as well)
If one is against infant baptism, one would have to argue that in not one of these households were there any babies, or small children below the age of reason. The term ‘oikos’ (οἶκος), or household, normally refers to and would include small children or infants. If only one of those households had infants or small children, infant baptism is right there. It is very unlikely that there were no small children in any of the households. This was a world with no reliable form of birth control. Furthermore, if given the New Testament pattern of household baptism, there were to be exceptions to this rule (such as infants), they would be spelled out.”
But don’t we really have to believe to be baptized?
Catch me next week Monday as we continue to dissect the Scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles as they received it from Jesus himself.
NB: The Month of the Rosary ends today but the praying of the rosary never ends. Pray it everyday!
God bless you!
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