Baptism: Why Do We Baptize Babies?

March 28, 2017

Pastor John Hering

Congratulations! The Lord has blessed you with a wonderful gift in your new child.

Little babies.  They’re really cute.  You cuddle them. You talk to them and even sing lullabies to them. Babies grow up fast.  That’s what little babies do.  They eat and sleep.  We have to buy the next size clothing sooner than we imagine.  We were all babies once.  Now we look like our parents, and even if we don’t want to admit it, we have some of their habits and mannerisms.

Yes, Babies Grow.

When they are small and helpless, they seem so innocent.  But it doesn’t take long to realize that the Bible is right when it says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Pslam 51:5).

Babies have the same failings and weaknesses as their parents.  They also have inherited sin. Flawed and sinful humans give birth to flawed and sinful babies.  We may not notice it at first, but babies soon show signs of the sinful human nature.  How many little children do you know who’s first word is, “Mine!”  Sin came from our first parents—Adam and Eve.  It’s a fact we learn from Jesus when he said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh” (John 3:6).  Jesus knows that babies need what we all need—forgiveness.

Baptism: A Remarkable Gift

God gave us a remarkable gift for all people including babies: Baptism.  The Bible tells us, “Baptism … now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21).  It isn’t just a visible sign of the washing away of all our sins.  It’s more.  It is a wonderful promise from God himself.  Baptism brings God’s love and forgiveness.  That’s one reason why we baptize babies. Another is the command of Jesus.  He told his disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).  Babies are simply part of “all nations” just as adults are.

Imagine how much Jesus loves each child—even more deeply than a mom or dad.  Remember how Jesus took the infant children into his arms and blessed them with his love.  That’s what Baptism does for little babies.  In Baptism it’s as if Jesus himself picks up our children in his arms and washes them in his loving forgiveness.

That might be a lot to believe but not if you know our God.  He can do anything. If the same God who created the world by his Word wishes to wash away our sins in Baptism, who am I to say he can’t do that?  God can do anything, including forgive adults and little children, even babies, in Baptism.

Can Babies Have Faith?

Some might wonder if babies can have faith. Jesus answers that for us, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2). The Greek word Jesus used was [paidia], the same word used for “child” in Hebrews 11:23 “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born because they saw he was no ordinary child [paidion].”

We would probably use the word “infant” for a 3 month old in English. To make the point more clearly Jesus said, “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned into the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).”  Here the Greek word Jesus used for “little ones” is [micron]!  Jesus teaches that babies do have faith.  What a joy it is for Christian parents used by the Holy Spirit to give the blessing of faith to their children—for Paul wrote to Titus, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

Jesus Invites Us All

With gentle words of encouragement, Jesus wants us to know that he is interested not only in us, but also in our children.  He invites us, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).  He also reminds us, “The promise is for you and your children” (Acts 2:39). Baptism has such wonderful power and blessing because God promises to work through it.  It is his touch of grace and love upon all of us and also upon our little babies.  Through baptism God brings to us the blessings of forgiveness, deliverance from the devil and eternal life that Jesus won for us all on the cross.

Our children will grow up fast.  Just think of the blessing you are giving to your child now.  It is our prayer that this blessing continue to be nourished as you teach your children about Jesus at home, and bring them to Sunday School and worship. Thank you Jesus for loving us and our children so much!

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