Is infant baptism scripturally sound? I believe it is scriptural to baptize when one has the ability to believe on Jesus, otherwise it is a work of man to believe the Spirit is or has entered an infant. What happens then to an infant of believing parents who dies before his baptism?
Thank you for your forthright question. Obviously, there are differing views on infant baptism. Let’s start with what is clear.
Jesus saves and He does all the saving. At the birth of Christ, the angel said, “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The name Jesus means savior and the text explicitly declares He shall save. On the cross Jesus cried out “It is finished!” Therefore, there is nothing that any kind of baptism, infant or otherwise, can add. “The blood of Jesus…cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Therefore, there is nothing left for baptism to cleanse. Baptism does not save, nor can it help save.
Baptism is a picture of identification with Christ, much like a wedding ring is a matter of identification to a married person. The ring does not make one married; it identifies one as married. Baptism does not save; it identifies one as saved by Jesus.
Not only does Jesus do all the saving, the way of salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. Salvation is not by works (Eph. 2:8-9)—neither your own nor those of another man for you. When a person receives Christ by believing on Christ (John 1:12), he or she is spiritually “born, not of blood [in physical birth], nor of the will of the flesh [by their own will/works], nor of the will of man [through the will/actions of a mediator/priest], but of God” (John 1:13). A man baptizing an infant cannot and does not save the infant.
Baptism is for believers. This is instructionally clear in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). It is also clear as a matter of pattern in the Book of Acts (e.g., Acts 2:41). Nowhere in the Bible is there an example of infant baptism. It’s simply not there. Scripture does not teach infant baptism. Though some baptize infants for non-salvific reasons, there is no biblical precept or pattern supporting such a practice.
Salvation is by faith. Those who die before reaching an age that would allow them to exercise faith are accepted based on God’s justice. Jesus said of children “of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).
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