God’s covenant and child baptism

This is chapter 3 of Your sins are forgiven

a manual for the ‘class of forgiveness’

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. (Genesis 17 verse 7, NIV).

Do you want to have your child baptized?

I guess you are a full member of the church. You have professed your faith and have been admitted to the Lord’s supper. But when you got pregnant and had a baby without being married, you were withheld from the table. This church discipline will be lifted when you show remorse and are willing to change your lifestyle (as we discussed in chapter 2).

As a full member of the church you can present your child for baptism.

The blood and the Spirit of Christ

To understand the meaning of baptism is not too difficult. Even a child knows that we use water to clean ourselves. But water removes only the dirt of your body. There is, however, another kind of dirt – not on the outside but inside. We have to be cleansed from sin.

The baptism ceremony symbolizes the cleansing by the blood and the Spirit of Christ.

  • Jesus died on the cross to take away your guilt. ‘‘… the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
  • The holy Spirit breaks the power of sin in your life. “I will sprinkle clean water on you … I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you … I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

Baptism can be done by immersion or by sprinkling. Whatever the ceremony, the message is clear: you are born again by the blood of Christ and by the holy Spirit.

Conceived and born in sin

But how does this apply to little children? You can’t say that our beautiful babies are sinful, can you? “My cute baby boy or girl is pure and innocent …”

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It may be difficult to accept, but the Bible tells us different.

Please open your Bible and read Psalm 51 verses 1-5.

This psalm brings us back to the story of David and Bathsheba (we discussed it in chapter 2). It took David a long time but now he confesses his sins. “Against you, you only – not against people but you, o Lord – have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight …”

In verse 5 he goes even deeper:

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

His adultery with Uriah’s wife and then killing her husband are no incidents. David must confess that his whole life is affected by sin. Since he came on earth and even before that, in his mother’s womb … – he has been conceived and born in sin.

The same goes for us and for our children.

Your little baby does not do sin, but he or she is as sinful as you are. Children are infected by the same deadly disease as their parents. That is why boys and girls start being naughty and rebellious later on. Since conception and birth they are sinful.

You and your children

But now here is the good news.

God calls the children in his love, together with their parents. When you as a mother or father are a child of God, then your son or daughter is automatically included.

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The Lord works like that both in the old and the new testament:

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you [Abraham] and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. (Genesis 17:7 NIV).

The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call. (Acts 2:39 NIV).

You can read the same in 1 Corinthians 7 verses 12-16, especially verse 14.

Since the children of believers are included in God’s covenant, they must receive the sign of it:

  • circumcision in the old testament (see Genesis 17:10-14)
  • baptism in the new testament (see Acts 16:13-15 and 30-34)

As for me and my house …

The Lord will bless you and ‘your house’ – your family – if you believe in Christ. There is reason to rejoice! At the same time it means a huge responsibility for Christian parents.

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Please open your Bible and read Mark chapter 10 verses 13-16.

Parents who really love their kids, bring them to Jesus. He is the Saviour, who came to bless parents as well as children.

It is a big mistake to keep children away from Christ. This makes him very angry.

Jesus loves your child. He takes your beloved boy or girl in his arms and gives his blessing. Your kid is really blessed with this loving Lord!

It is you as a parent who must bring your child to him. Kids can’t make their own choices yet. They will follow your example. It is to fathers and mothers that it is said:

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Discuss it with your partner, with your parents and with your pastor. How can you bring your child to Christ? Think about daily prayer, reading the Bible every day, teaching Bible stories, choosing a good school, going to church and sending your daughter or son to the Sunday school.

In short, say it with Joshua (24:15):

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

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