Our children is important to God
Ephesians 6: 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3: 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
2 Timothy 3:14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 7:13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Many from the Reformed, Presbyterian and even Evangelical-Anglicans have quoted Acts 2 –as saying that the Lord promised that the children of believers should be baptized as well. Not pointing out the immediate context that this promise was made first to Jewish generation who crucified the Messiah. And that the proof that the promised is true is that they are baptized in the Spirit-there and then at the day of Pentecost. It is not just repentance, belief and salvation is promised here –nut the dawn of a history filled with Holy Spirit-baptized. The original disciples in fact –also spoke in tongues.
Acquiring such promise and pushing it reality to an undetermined future for ‘children’ is not exegesis-but eisegesis-putting a Constantinian/Augustinian understanding of original sin and sacrament into it. We have our fears of babies dying or being sick in their infancy-as well the state’s need to identify its citizens from its enemies-but this can be address by other Scripture’s wisdom rather than misusing the Lord’s commandment in confirming their commitment publicly.
Our children are important to God-but he does not want us to baptize them –but to raised them properly. The New Covenant are for credible professors of faith in Jesus Christ. They are not like that of the Old Covenant –
Jeremiah 31: 31“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
For members in the Old Covenant can break it-it includes non-believing Israelites and their households and slaves as well. It is a covenant ratified in blood and confirmed –fleshly- through the circumcision of the male children. Circumcision points towards spiritual circumcision that is in Christ-but in the OT –it points to the blood and flesh descendants of Abraham- Israelites, Ishmaelites and all who came from Abraham.
But a change came in the NT –
John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Galatians 3: 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham… 9So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer…. 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
It is those who believe-not an easy thing-for it is a work of the Holy Spirit- who are now sons of Abraham. The continuity is in the faith of Abraham-the believer. The discontinuity also lies in that faith-unlike those of his OT descendants- it no longer by blood, flesh or will of man –can one be a child of Abraham.
What is our responsibility now as parents in the New Covenant with regards to children? They are considered ‘holy’ because of our relationship to Jesus-meaning they are legitimate and moral offspring- not made in adulterous or fornications situation. And they should be reared in godly environment of Scripture influenced educational curriculum. So that when they reach their own mental or psychological independent age- they will freely choose Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Nothing turns off a child faster than a bad family environment. Rudderless and loveless to the core.
And so-let us raise them right-but our commitment to the Lord does not necessitates that we baptized our children. But we must hold our faith in sincerity –so that in time they will also profess what we always wanted them to be –a Christian –believing and trusting the Lord Jesus for their salvation and living under his Lordship.