Gideon’s Baptism Exhortation

This Lord’s day Ej and I baptized our new baby, Gideon. Our church is non-denominational and has been historically credobaptist. After having to baptize my first two sons in private ceremonies the leadership finally agreed to allow the households to decide the matter for themselves rather than exclude families based on this particular belief. I am so grateful they did.

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Our church has a long way to go in this discussion and so before I baptized Gideon, this was the exhortation I gave. Most of the wording is virtually straight from the Heidelberg Catechism questions 69, 71, 73, and 74. Here it is.

EXHORTATION FROM THE WORD
How is a person admonished and assured by holy baptism, that the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross is of real advantage to them? The answer to this old question goes like this: Christ appointed this external washing with water, adding to it, this promise, that I am as certainly washed by His blood and Spirit from all the pollution of my soul, that is, from all my sins, as I am washed externally with water, by which the filthiness of the body is commonly washed away. (c.f. Matt. 28:19; Matt. 3:11; Mark 16:16; John 1:33; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3)

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 3:21)

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3-4)

In other words, water baptism in and of itself does not wash sin away, only the blood of Christ is sufficient for that. And yet it is in the institution of baptism that Christ promises to wash us by His blood and Spirit. (c.f. Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19). By the sacrament of holy baptism, the promise of Christ’s eternal salvation is bestowed upon the sinner called by grace.

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name. (Acts 22:16)

So if baptism itself doesn’t wash away our sin, why does the scripture call it the “washing of regeneration” in Titus 3:5 and the “washing away of sins” in Acts 22:16? God does this because He is teaching us that as the filth of the body is purged away by the water, so our sins are removed by the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ; (c.f. Rev. 1:5; Rev. 7:14; 1 Cor. 6:11) but especially that by this divine pledge and sign He may assure us, that we are spiritually cleansed from our sins as really, as we are externally washed with water.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3-4) 

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal. 3:27) 

Iam going to assume that we are all more or less on the same page at this point on what baptism is and does. Baptism is a sign and seal of the washing of the Spirit and Blood and our union with Christ. And so I think not too few of you may be now wondering why we should then baptize infants. This is not a new question. It is very old. There are good Christians on both sides of the debate but at least one thing we all agree on is that being on one side or the other isn’t going to get you in or keep you out of Christ in Heaven.

That being said, the reason I believe Christians should baptize their infants is because 1.) they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant and church of God.

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. (Gen. 17:7)

And 2.) The redemption from sin by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult. (c.f. Isa. 44:1-3)

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14) 

Luke speaking of John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said the one who is least in the Kingdom would be greater than, says,

For he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15)

Of David the Psalm says,

On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. (Ps. 22:10) 

And Peter on the day of pentecost says,

For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. (Acts 2:39) 

Because they are included in the covenant and church of God, they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the Christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers (Acts 10:47) as was done in the old testament (covenant) by circumcision (Gen. 17:14). Whereas now in the new covenant, baptism has replaced circumcision.

Paul speaking to a bunch of uncircumcised christian converts says this:

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. (Col. 2:11-13)

Hopefully you can agree with with this, but even if you do not, at the very least you know we (paedobaptist) do this because we believe we are required to by Scripture.

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“Little child, for you Jesus Christ came to this earth, struggled and suffered; for your sake He crossed Gethsemane and went through the darkness of Calvary; for your sake He cried: ‘It is finished’; for your sake He died and for your sake He overcame death; indeed for your sake, little child, and you—still— know nothing of it.   And thus the word of the apostle is confirmed: ‘We love God, for He loved us first’”.

(Taken from an old French Reformed Baptism Rite)

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