Summary: Why do we baptize infants? A look at the New Testament, Old Testament, and church history.
9 Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.
10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner-- those who are not your offspring.
13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.
13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
Why do we baptize infants?
Have you ever thought about that?
Baptism is one of the most important experiences in a Christian’s life. It is, in fact, the Sacramental ceremony through which we announce to the world that we have become Christian.
And yet, for the infants we baptize, there is no decision to become a Christian.
There will be no memory of this very important day.
There is no understanding of what this event means.
But still, we baptize infants.
Why do we baptize infants?
1. The Love of God
One obvious reason is because God loves children.
You don’t have to be an old man, a college graduate, an accomplished musician, a wise person, or good person. You don’t have to prove your worth at all. God loves us freely – whether we deserve it or not makes no difference.
I remember the first time I met my son. He was brand new in the world and I fell in love with him instantly. This was before he uttered those famous words, “Daddy.” This was before he created any of those artistic masterpieces that hung on our refrigerator door. This was before his first report card, his first homerun, his graduation from high school or his enlistment in the Air Force Reserves. It was even before his first diaper change. I loved my son instantly and freely. He didn’t have to earn my love, or work for my love, or deserve my love.
And that is the way God loves us.
We don’t have to work for his love, earn his love, or wait for his love.
The baptism of infants is a powerful demonstration that God’s love is freely given.
Some people don’t believe in infant baptism because they don’t believe children need to be baptized, which is a symbolic washing away of sins. They say children are innocent. People who say this, and who claim that children are innocent, obviously have never had children.
There is no creature more self-centered than a baby. They scream when they are hungry, they demand attention, they are the center of the universe. And we love them for that.
Of course, we get tired of that when they are teenagers and we realize they are still self-centered, still scream when they are hungry, and still think they are the center of the universe.
We need to baptize infants because they need to be symbolically washed from sin as much as any of us.
Human sinfulness is not something that comes to us between the time we learn to walk and the time we learn to drive a car. It is with us from the beginning. It is our nature.
This is taught to us in the Bible. In the Old Testament Psalm, Psalm 51 verse 5, the writer says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Note: Genesis 8:21, Psalm 58, Romans 5:18)
In his New Testament letter to the Romans, Paul said, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23-24)
Notice that is says everyone. It doesn’t exclude children. It doesn’t say that they’re exempt until they reach an age of accountability. Everyone stands condemned.
Everyone is in need of salvation, even children.
So these different passages all tell us that children are guilty of sin. They, therefore, do have a need for baptism.
Another thing about children – not only are they are they sinful and stand in need of the Sacrament of Baptism – they can also believe.
A person does not have to wait until he or she is an adult in order to believe. In fact, I know a lot of very young children who have faith far greater than adults.