Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What Is Your View On Child Baptism And Which Baptism Is Right, Immersion In Water?

Is Child/Infant Baptism Biblically Right?

Question: Please share your views on child or infant baptism. Is it Biblical?

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name! There is a right way and meaning God has given for the ritual of baptism within the Church. It is not pouring and sprinkling of water like many traditional denominations and orthodox churches do, but rather it is immersion that Jesus took from John the Baptist in the river showing us an example to follow. How do we know for sure that Jesus took immersion baptism? Because apostle Matthew says about the incident describing like the following "After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water" (Matt 3:16) and also Mark the writer of the gospel agrees with him saying "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him" (Mark 1:10). How can a person come out of water until he or she is immersed within it? Jesus was immersed and was baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. So we know right from the Scripture that out of two or three witness every word shall be established, so immersion is the right way to baptize any believer who becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 13:1).

The baptism is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being the Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. The baptism of Jesus is as an important event and a basis for the Christian rite of baptism (Acts 19:1-7).

For years before Christ, the Jews had used baptism in ritual cleansing ceremonies of Gentile proselytes. John the Baptist took baptism and applied it to the Jews themselves—it wasn’t just the Gentiles who needed cleansing. Many believed John’s message and were baptized by him (Matthew 3:5–6). Even the religious leaders needed to repent of their sin, although they saw no need of it (Matt 3:7-8), because their religious pride and love for money prevented them from getting saved in the will of God (Luke 7:30; 16:14-17).

The origins of baptism might be found in the book of Leviticus where the Levite priests were commanded to perform a symbolic cleansing in water before and after performing their priestly duties (Lev 16:4, 23-24). Though John was the messenger of God sent before the ministry of Jesus Christ, to cleanse and make ready the people of God to receive their Messiah by introducing Him to them, and we know that he would have started his ministry in A.D. 29. as the actual reign of Tiberius was from August 19, A.D. 14 through March 16, A.D. 37 according to Roman Tradition and Scripture (Luke 3:1), baptism itself did not originate with Christians, nor by John the Baptist, but were followed by them, as it was a Jewish tradition of cleansing before meeting the Lord their God Jehovah (Acts 11:26). John’s “baptism of repentance” (Luke 3:3; Acts 19:4) followed this paradigm of cleansing, although the final cleansing from sin is only available through Christ, and John’s baptism was the foreshadowing of that. John the Baptist cried and shouted to people saying, 'cleanse yourself to meet the Lord your God who is coming to you after me by inwardly repenting of your sins and externally taking baptism from me, so that you will be cleansed and can be ready to meet the Messiah your Lord God according to His Divine will and timing' (Luke 7:28, 29-30, 33-34; Acts 20:27; Mal 4:5-6). John the Baptist did immersion Baptism, so did the disciples of Jesus within the ministry of Jesus as they themselves came out of the ministry of John the Baptist being his disciple they ministered it like him (John 3:23-36; 4:1-2; 1:35-42). With John’s baptism, a person repented of sin and was therefore ready to place his faith in Jesus Christ. John did not baptize using any name. John's baptism is called "baptism of repentance" in Acts 19. So until Jesus gave the express command during ascension, no name was used during baptism because Holy Spirit came only after His ascension in to humans (John 7:39; 20:21, 22-23; Luke 24:48-49; John 16:7; Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4; Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47, 49). Those who were obedient to John's Baptism were “prepared for the Lord,” which most reasonably points to preparation for citizenship in the establishment of the Kingdom for the King's service (Acts 2). The disciples became citizens already in the Kingdom of God, and so they needed no further baptism and were qualified as Kingdom citizens to baptize and welcome subjects of the King Jesus to be His citizens. Actually this baptism that the disciples of Jesus gave was the extension of John's baptism because the second baptism (by fire or by the Holy Ghost) didn't come until Jesus was resurrected.

How does pouring or sprinkling illustrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? It can never symbolically or even spiritually represent it, as it does not have any true meaning to bring a change in our thinking or life. Only immersion can symbolize Christ's death, burial and resurrection to bless us spiritually in our lives. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross completely washes away our sins, and we are raised to new life empowered by the Holy Spirit which is the baptism we take symbolically (2 Corinthians 5:17–21; Romans 6:1–11).

Baptism in itself does not save a person even when it is done by immersion, it is the first step of obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 2:38), to become His disciple we must actually repent to God expressing to Him that we are sinners and we need Jesus as our Savior by believing that the life, death and resurrection of Him identify us by our faith that we have gone through the same process in our life, which is also a prerequisite for every humans to receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit from Jesus the Christ who baptizes all in Him (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:38; Rom 4:3, 4-6; Luke 3:16), so that we having died to our old fleshly life, should live the new life of Jesus Christ towards God (Rom 6:10-11; Col 2:12, 13-14).

Some people confuse the Old Abrahamic root that we have inherited spiritually with the natural root Israelites has physically inherited with him (Gal 3:7), and then try to equate baptism as the worthy equivalent of circumcision which is done to eight days old infants to identify them as the natural root of Abraham which was mandatory, and further God commanded it as the only sign of covenant that separates these Israelites from the unbelievers around them (Gen 17:6-7, 8-14). It is a misunderstanding we as Christians have got, we should understand that those who circumcise have to keep the law as Abraham's physical descendants, who are actually under the curse because no humans can keep the law perfectly (Gal 6:12-13; 3:10, 12), but for us who live by faith are not justified by keeping the law, but by our faith in Christ Jesus as we begin our new life and are also perfected by it, His righteousness is credited to us as our righteousness by God, and then we do righteous works by His grace that works in us thereafter "grace [dispersed] through faith" which ends in good works done for the Glory of God (Gal 3:2, 3-4, 6, 11, 14, 22; Rom 4:5-6, 9-10; Eph 2:5-6, 8-10; Jam 2:14, 17, 18, 22, 24). In the New Testament, the sign of circumcision is done by God in our heart after our salvation, where He circumcises our old heart to give us a brand new heart as a sign of His covenant to us who believe who are Abraham's spiritual descendants, [(i.e) who are all the people "in Christ Jesus" who are in this world and in heaven (Eph 1:4, 5-6; 3:14-15)], so that with Abraham we start to trust God's promise for us in the Bible for all of it to be fulfilled in our lives as believers and become blessed like him (Rom 4:11-12, 13, 16, 20-25; Eph 2:11, 12, 13; Rom 4:12, 16, 20, 21-22, 23, 24-25; Gal 3:9).

Now we are the true spiritual descendants of Abraham who have the spiritual circumcision of having no confidence in the flesh as the sign of the covenant that we have made with Jesus towards God and it is revealed to the world through our good works of the new life we live towards other people and in humility before God (Php 3:3; Rom 2:29; 4:4; 11:35; Gal 2:21; 5:3-4, 5-5; Col 3:9-11, 12; Jam 4:10). So circumcision unlike the Old Testament, we humans do not initiate it as a work, but rather it is God who does the circumcision within our heart as a sign of the New Covenant life of grace to make us live holy and separated as the people of God (Col 3:1-2, 3-4, 5). In fact, when Christ was circumcised, at that time itself we were circumcised in Him, which spiritually we realize through believing the gospel and receiving a new heart of flesh instead of stone from God (Col 2:11; Eph 1:13-14; Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10). Then comes the baptism of commitment to become a disciple, which is a external sign of getting immersed in water which we do after our belief in Christ and knowledge that we have died and a new life of Christ has come up within us (Col 2:12). In our mind, we renew baptism as a form of doctrine to believe and see the new life of Christ to be seen through us, believing in our mind by renewing it and then giving to God our bodily members day by day in surrender to God, which always without fail brings the evidence of the new life to be displayed through our lives for the Glory of God (Rom 6:3-4, 5-6, 10-11, 12, 16, 17, 19; 12:1, 2; Titus 3:5, 8; Eph 4:22, 23, 24).

Coming to the subject of infants, they are too small to be ready for immersion baptism physically and also there is no need for a baptism when they are under the age of accountability. As far as God is concerned regarding children who are grade schooler: 5–12 years and child: 0–18 years, he justifies the children until the age of accountability because they do not have the judgment to take a decision as right or wrong apart from the influence of their parents as they are under their custody (Rom 7:9), and they can be considered as saved in Christ Jesus and will go to heaven if they die (2 Sam 12:23; 1 Kings 14:12-13; Deut 1:39; Num 14:29-30). What is the age of accountability? It depends on how much children are exposed to the world to gain a knowledge of good and evil (Deut 1:39; Gen 3:22). So if a child can come to have the knowledge of good and evil to know that he is a sinner who needs the Savior to get saved from sin, from that point of time, God counts the child to be accountable to him. It may be 7, 8....10...or even 15 or 20 years. As we are living in the end time where knowledge explosion is happening day by day like never before, the children come to maturity very early in their lives (Dan 12:4; Luke 18:8). So therefore, when a child understand the faith and comes forwards to take baptism, there is no reason why we should not give them immersion baptism even as a child, teen age youths and young adults, as it is an outward testimony of an inward faith they already posses.

When children were brought to Jesus by their parents for his blessing, the disciples tried to brush them aside (Mark 10:13–16). But Jesus said, “Permit the children to come to Me ... for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” These children might have included babies too along with young little children (Luke 18:15). Jesus “took them in His arms and began blessing them” (Mark 10:16), in order to teach us all a lesson that when they posses and want to profess their faith through baptism, we should never deny them the opportunity to express their faith before the brethren and to the world, which will help them be blessed greatly in their lives, and also will help them become a great blessing to others through their lives by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, as apostle Peter declares that the promise of the Holy Spirit from God through Jesus is “for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself” (Acts 2:39).

So when a father of a family is saved, the whole family becomes saved under his guidance as they are all under the spiritual covering of the father over them (Acts 16:31), and God graciously extends this privilege of the spiritual covering even for merely one parent who might be the mother, who is the manager of the child when she has a unbelieving husband who have no spiritual covering over their family as he is not under Christ's covering (1 Cor. 7:14; 1 Cor 11:3, 7, 10, 11; Prov 1:8; 6:20).

So infant baptism below the age of 5, and circumcision for a infant is a strict no, no and no in our Christian faith. But as we have seen before if any parent wants the children to be dedicated to God as infants itself, they can do that in a baby dedication service to declare to all that the child they have is a gift given to them by God, and they as a parent will take all necessary care to bring them up in the way and discipline of the Lord, and will release them in to service of the Lord and support them even if they are called by God in to full time service (Psa 127:3-5; Prov 22:6; 13:24; 23:13-13). Yet the child himself should come to have a personal experience with God, when He will realize himself as sinner and that he/she needs the Savior Jesus the Christ of God in order to get saved from sin and inherit eternal life to become a child of God (Acts 4:12). In other words, a parent can become a facilitator, but the recipient of salvation have a clear God given choice to accept or reject His call to salvation (2 Cor 6:1-2). A child of a good disciplined parents tend to take the discipline of the Lord in the right way when they grow up and become easily the man and woman of God, God wants them to be (Heb 12:5-8, 9-11; Eph 6:4). From the age anywhere from 5 and above, they can be baptized if they have the salvation faith in them for the Glory of God!

Much Blessings......


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