The title of my sermon last Sunday was Why Not Baptize Infants and the main text was Jeremiah 31, 31 to 34. Some may wonder why this is even an issue in a Baptist church because most Baptists never give that a second thought.
Everybody knows that Baptists believe in baptizing believers by immersion and for many that's the end of the story. For those of us who embrace the doctrines of grace, there are often other considerations. We often develop warm fellowship with Orthodox Presbyterians who believe as we do about the gospel. We often listen to solid Presbyterian preachers like the late R.C.
Sproul who indeed is one of my favorite teachers and I love to hear him teach and I love to read his books. And of course he embraces infant baptism. We often read books by pedobaptists both living and dead and find much help and truth in the pages of those volumes. And therefore we may wonder something like this. If so many people who understand the gospel the way we do also believe the Bible teaches infant baptism, could I be mistaken?
Could I be wrong? Having probably for most of us at one time in our lives been mistaken about the doctrines of grace and then slowly come to understand that that in fact is what the Bible teaches, will something similar to that happen in regard to baptism? Have we always believed that baptism is by immersion of the believers only? And will we come to find out that maybe that's not exactly what the Bible teaches after all? It is a serious consideration, isn't it?
It goes something like this. I have embraced a Reformed understanding of the gospel. Should I therefore consider embracing a mainstream Reformed understanding of baptism? And that's why we are bringing this up. I was really surprised after last Sunday's message by the enormous number of people that talked to me throughout the week, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, other times, who clearly are wrestling with this issue.
I didn't think there would be so many. And so I decided, well, part two. We had part one last Sunday. Let's take up part two today. And so changing it just a little bit, the title of my sermon today is Should We Baptize Babies?
Should We Baptize Babies? And I want to show you why Scripture neither commands nor allows the practice of infant baptism. Now, I have a lot in my notes that I know I cannot cover, some of what I'm going to just make reference to. And then depending on what happens after today, I may return for a third part next Sunday, or we may move on. But we're going to start with a survey of Hebrews chapter eight, the passage I just read. And I say a survey because it's impossible to exegete and to preach, exposit an entire chapter in detail in one sermon if you're dealing with all of the aspects.
But I think a survey of what is generally found in this chapter will be very helpful. And so in looking at Hebrews chapter eight, we're going to see, number one, the inauguration of the new covenant. Number two, the necessity of the new covenant. Third, the prophecy of the new covenant, and that's the quotation from Jeremiah 31. And fourth, the preeminence of the new covenant. We'll draw some implications from that, and then we'll go on to some other considerations.
How many of those will depend upon the time? In verses one through six of Hebrews chapter eight, we have the inauguration of the new covenant, which I read a moment ago. And so I'll just summarize what we find in these six verses. The rite of Hebrews tells us that in the new covenant, we have a superior high priest, superior to the high priest of the old covenant, superior in many ways, but the way that is particularly mentioned in verse one is that this one is not only the high priest, and he's speaking of Jesus Christ, of course, the mediator of the new covenant. And this one is not only the high priest of the new covenant, but he's also the supreme ruler of the universe.
He is both priest and king. And some of you will know that he is also a prophet, and when we pull all three of these together, we see that in one person we find combined the old covenant offices of prophet, priest, and king. But look at verse one again. Now this is the main point of the things we are saying. What has been said prior to chapter eight has been to demonstrate that Jesus Christ and the new covenant are superior to Moses and the old covenant.
And this is the main point of the things we are saying. We, under the new covenant, have such a high priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty and covenants. He's not only high priest, but he's seated upon the throne of God. He is high priest and supreme ruler. That makes him a superior high priest.
Even if there weren't other things that make him a superior high priest, that surely does. Number two, his work is carried out in a superior sanctuary. In the true tabernacle, verse two, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord erected and not man. Under the old covenant inaugurated by God through Moses on the Mount Sinai, there were instructions to build a tabernacle, a place of worship that was a very elaborate tent. Later, of course, that was replaced by an even more elaborate temple by Solomon. And that's where the ceremonies and the worship of the old covenant was centered. But under the new covenant, we have a minister who ministers in the heavenly sanctuary, not made with hands. This is a superior sanctuary. It is the true tabernacle.
The one on earth is therefore characterized as not the true one. In other words, it was only a type, a shadow, a picture, a symbol, an illustration of the true tabernacle, which is in heaven. And therefore, we have at this point, this contrast drawn between that which is material and that which is spiritual.
The earthly tabernacle was very material and all of the ceremonies, the sacrifices, all of the things that went on there had a material element to them. But Jesus Christ, our high priest, is ministering in the heavenly sanctuary. That is a spiritual sanctuary. Some will say when we get to heaven, is there actually going to be a temple there?
Well, actually, I think the scripture indicates there is not. But all the things that the temple referred to and symbolized and taught, the truths that were taught, are all carried out in the work that Jesus Christ does in heaven. And so it is a superior sanctuary. It is thirdly, a superior sacrifice, verse three, for every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. That's the old covenant, all of the endless sacrifices.
Therefore, it is necessary that this one, capital O, this one, Jesus Christ, also have something to offer. And we know that what he offered was himself, his own body, his life, a sinless body, a sinless life, the sinless Lamb of God. That was a sacrifice that is superior in every way to the animals. Again, the animal sacrifices were only pictures, types, shadows, illustrations pointing to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And so old covenant, it had something that was beneficial in that it showed a picture, an illustration of God's way of salvation through the shedding of blood. But in the new covenant, we have the fulfillment of that. We have the final sacrifice, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who shed his blood. And so we have this rather unusual picture of the high priest who offers a sacrifice offering himself as the sacrifice, a superior sacrifice. And then we're told in verses four through six that the new covenant is a superior covenant.
For if he, Christ, were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law. And at the time the writer of Hebrews is penning these words, the worship in Jerusalem at the temple was still going on. He was about to come to a crashing conclusion when Titus came through in 70 A.D. and destroyed Jerusalem. But it was still going on meaninglessly. It had no purpose, no meaning. The whole purpose of it was fulfilled when Christ died on the cross. But there were those who didn't believe that, and so they're still carrying on, making sacrifices, going through the rituals. The priesthood is working there in Jerusalem. But we read in verse five, who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things.
As Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle, for he, that is, God said, see that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain. But now he, Jesus, has obtained a more excellent ministry in as much as he is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Here is a superior covenant. The new covenant is not like the old covenant in many respects.
I showed you last week many of the differences and only one similarity. And the new covenant, we are told, is better than the old covenant. It is a better covenant based upon better promises. The old covenant promises basically had to do, if you will obey, I will bless you.
If you disobey, you'll receive my judgments. Now it is true that it was pointing to the new covenant. It was pointing to Christ. It was pointing to the way of salvation by faith. It's also true that there were some Old Testament people who saw the truth and believed and were saved. There was a remnant, according to election, in the old covenant people. But the old covenant itself had promises that required obedience. And the new covenant has better promises. It has a promise of forgiveness on the basis of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ has made. A better covenant based upon better promises. Remember that quotation I gave you last Sunday from John Bunyan?
And I don't have it in front of me now, but it goes something like this. Work and do the law commands, but gives me neither feet nor hands. A better message the gospel brings. It bids me fly and gives me wings. It bids me believe and gives me the ability to do it. It bids me obey and gives me the desire and the ability, the spiritual ability to obey.
And for the things that we don't obey, because none obey perfectly, there is the promise of forgiveness. There's the promise of cleansing based upon the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Oh, it's a better covenant in every way. It is superior, a better covenant based upon better promises.
The inauguration of the new covenant. Secondly, we see the necessity of the new covenant in verses 7 and 8. We're told why the old covenant was inadequate. For if the first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. If the first covenant would have done the job, namely of saving people through the terms of the covenant, then there'd be no reason for the second.
It didn't do that. And why not? Verse 8 tells us, because finding fault with them really wasn't the words, the terms of the covenant that were at fault. It was the sinfulness of the people that they were unable to obey, the stipulations of the covenant. Finding fault with them, he says, Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord. And now he begins to quote from Jeremiah 31.
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. And so the necessity of the old covenant is that it was inadequate to save sinful people. And it was inadequate because of its physical orientation.
And this is important to understand. Why was it inadequate to save sinful people? Because everything about the old covenant was directed to physical concepts, physical ceremonies, physical sacrifices, physical obedience to the law. The spiritual element of the new covenant, where God says, under the new covenant, I will write my law in their hearts and I will write it on their minds. I'm going to do a regenerating work within them. I'm going to change their hearts.
I'm going to change their minds. I'm going to do a spiritual work within that is far greater and far above the work that the old covenant did, which was all physical in its orientation and therefore you couldn't save. And that brings us to the necessity of the new covenant. And then finally, as we've already started into the prophecy of the new covenant in verses 8 through 12, quoting from Jeremiah 31. And that new covenant's proposal, that new covenant's prospect is prophesied, it's declared by Jeremiah, quoted in the last part of verse 8. Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, with the house of Judah.
Future to Jeremiah's day, though already fulfilled or at least inaugurated, we could argue about whether it's been fulfilled because there are still elements that are yet to be fulfilled, I suppose. But certainly inaugurated when the writer of Hebrews wrote this and had been inaugurated some decades earlier when Christ died upon the cross. And so it's declared in verse 8 and then it's distinguished in verse 9. And again, this is important.
What's the difference? What's the distinction of the new covenant compared to the old? Verse 9, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant. They failed to obey. The covenant required obedience.
Run and work, the law demands. The covenant required obedience and they did not continue in my covenant and I disregarded them, says the Lord. So the old covenant is not like the new covenant. The new covenant, unlike the old, is effective for salvation. And now we see the things that make it effective in verses 10, 11 and 12. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord.
I will put my law or laws rather in their mind and write them on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people. None of them shall teach his neighbor and none his brother saying, know the Lord, for all shall know me from the least of them to the greatest of them, for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins. It's not that people under the old covenant of the new covenant don't sin. It's not that they're not unrighteous even after they place their faith in Christ. But God is merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their lawless deeds.
I will remember no more. God will not bring down judgment upon his people even when they stumble and fall and fail and disobey, because Christ in the atonement has justified his people from all their sins, past, present and future, unlike the old covenant where when they obeyed, God blessed and rewarded them. When they disobeyed, God judged and chastened them.
There was a big difference there. And so what is different and effective about the new covenant is, number one, because of the inward work of God's Spirit. He says, I will write my law on their hearts and minds.
That's a portrayal of regeneration. I'm going to change their hearts and give them a heart that embraces my law and loves my law. To the old covenant people, it was external to themselves.
There it was. They knew what it was. They knew what they were supposed to do. But they didn't have that inward love for it and that inward desire for it that only the Spirit of God can do. And so because of the inward work of God's Spirit, the new covenant is effective. Because of the regeneration of every member, verse 11, the new covenant is effective. And that's critical to this discussion of baptism. Verse 11, none of them, those who have become members of the new covenant, those who have come under the terms of the new covenant, none of them shall teach his neighbor and none his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know me from the least of them to the greatest of them. Now, that is not saying, obviously, that new covenant people don't evangelize their unsaved friends and neighbors. Of course we do. That's all part of what we do.
What's it saying? That we don't evangelize other members of the new covenant, because every one of them know the Lord. That's the way they came into the new covenant, by the regenerating work of God's Spirit. He saved them.
He changed their hearts. He placed them in the new covenant. So, new covenant people, godly people, are not evangelizing other members of the new covenant and telling them, you need to know the Lord, you need to believe on the Lord, you need to trust the Lord, or you have to be saved. No, every one of them already know the Lord, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
Now, whatever least to greatest means, it certainly means this. Everybody, inclusively, who belongs to the new covenant is a believer. Everyone from the least to the greatest of them who belongs to the new covenant already knows the Lord as a work of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit in his life.
He knows the Lord. You see, under the old covenant, as we learn from reading throughout the Old Testament, the majority of the members of the old covenant didn't truly know the Lord. There was a remnant, according to the election of grace, but the majority of them didn't know the Lord. They circumcised their children on the eighth day, circumcising unregenerate babies.
And so what did they have to do? Teach them to know the Lord, teach them to know the Lord. They had to give them the gospel in their homes, point them to the promises of God because they were unregenerate. And many of their friends and neighbors, also full covenant members of the old covenant community, they were of the bloodline of Abraham and had been circumcised and were going through the ceremonies and keeping the feast days and participating in the sacrifices, but they weren't truly regenerate. They didn't know the Lord. And so godly regenerate old covenant people were constantly evangelizing their friends and neighbors who were all part of the old covenant. But under the new covenant, nobody does that because everybody who belongs to the new covenant is already saved.
Every one of them know the Lord. Chapter closes out with the preeminence of the new covenant in verse 13, in that he says a new covenant has made the first obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. The old was designed to wear out. We often believe that manufacturers make equipment in our day with a purposefully designed time when it becomes obsolete and has to be replaced.
If they made those things to last for 40, 50 years, they couldn't make any money, so they make them to last 10 years so they can be replaced. Well, you know, some will say, well, that isn't true. They don't do that.
I don't know. That's what people think. That's the common concept.
I know it happens pretty much that way at our house. Our 10-year-old dishwasher just conked out. We've got to replace it. Could they have made that thing to last 20 or 30 years?
I've known some old ones that lasted a long time, but the new ones don't seem to, do they? But anyway, that's another subject for another day. But that is the way God designed the old covenant. He designed it to come to an end.
How about the new covenant? Well, that's forever. That's eternal.
That's preeminent. That replaces the old one, and that will never, never become obsolete. Before we move on to other considerations, we need to be reminded, what is the pedobaptist basis for infant baptism? It is this, that in the terms of the old covenant, God designed that people should circumcise their infants, male children, on the eighth day. And this was the sign of the covenant. We go to the New Testament and we read about water baptism, and we come to believe that water baptism is the sign of the new covenant. As circumcision was the sign of the old covenant, we agree with that, water baptism becomes the sign of the new covenant.
We agree with that. As people were brought into the old covenant by circumcision, they were marked as members of the old covenant by circumcision. So, in the terms of the new covenant, people who have been placed in the new covenant demonstrate that by receiving the mark of the new covenant, which is water baptism. But now, here's where we move from obvious biblical precept and didactic teaching to a bit of logic and assumption and presupposition. Since, our pedobaptist friends say, since, under the old covenant, God was pleased with his people circumcising their infants and bringing them in that way into the old covenant, giving them the mark of the old covenant and considering them members of the old covenant.
In fact, they were. Everybody considered them members of the old covenant. Once they were circumcised, they were part of the old covenant. So now, the believers had to start evangelizing them. Know the Lord, know the Lord, know the Lord.
They're unregenerate. Of course, they need to get a little older before you can even do that. But as they grow up, they're full members of the old covenant community. But you've got to know the Lord. You've got to know the Lord.
Circumcision will not save you. Though as time went on, many of them came to the erroneous conclusion that it did. But that's another subject. Therefore, it seems logical because of the unity of the Old and the New Testaments, because of the unity of God's people throughout all the ages under the overarching covenant of grace and so forth. Therefore, it seems logical that in the New Testament, believers ought to baptize their children, give them the side of the new covenant, bring them into the new covenant community and consider them members of the new covenant, though unregenerate, because that's what they did in the old covenant. Now, the old covenant was clearly commanded in the Old Testament.
I mean, it is spelled out again and again and again and again. This is what you do. You circumcise your male children on the eighth day. And if you don't, you've broken the covenant.
This is serious business. But there is no such commandment in the New Testament. You will search from Matthew to Revelation to look for a similar command. Baptize your children, bring them into the new covenant.
It's not the same. And that's the whole point of what Jeremiah tells us. There is a large difference, a large distinction between the old and the new covenants. The old covenant was physical. The old covenant community, by the design of God, included unregenerate people who were full members in good standing of the old covenant community. But the difference is, in the new covenant, it's not that way. In the new covenant, every member who truly is a member of the new covenant community knows the Lord. You came into the old covenant by way of circumcision, the outward act, the outward right, which was also the mark of the old covenant. But you don't come into the new covenant community by way of baptism. You have to be born again. You come in by way of regeneration. So in the old covenant, people were circumcised first and then later came to know the Lord. Hopefully, no guarantee. In the new covenant, people are first regenerated and then receive the sign of the new covenant.
And guess what? Every one of them know the Lord. Every one of them are going to the heaven, guaranteed. Now, that doesn't mean that everyone who professes to know the Lord and is baptized upon a profession is guaranteed of heaven, because we know some people make a false profession. But what it means is everyone who is truly a member of the new covenant, who has truly been saved, everyone whom God recognizes as a member of the new covenant has been born again. Unlike the old covenant, where there were myriads of those that God recognized as legitimate members of the old covenant who were unregenerate. God designed the old covenant one way. God designed the new covenant a different way.
And we need to pay attention to those differences and not act as if they don't exist, because the Bible tells us they do. Old covenant circumcision was a sign of physical identity. New Testament baptism is a sign of spiritual activity.
It is a sign that this person gives evidence of having been born from above. Infant baptism relies upon strong continuity from the old to the new and unstated assumptions that support that continuity. Whereas believers baptism relies upon distinction and clear instructions about baptism, who should be baptized, disciples, and examples. And you look at the New Testament and all the clear examples are examples of those who believed. They believed and were baptized. They believed and were baptized. They believed and were baptized. There is not a single Old Testament example that defies that pattern clearly.
You might try to make some assumptions to provide such examples, but there's no clear example. And what we must learn in all this is that scripture must define the degrees of continuity and discontinuity. How much continuity do we have between the old and the new?
How much discontinuity do we have between the old and the new? Well, like everything else in scripture, it's not up to us to define that. I see a lot of continuity, therefore it seems appropriate to baptize children. Well, if the Bible didn't spell out the limits of continuity and discontinuity, you might have an argument. But since the Bible does say the new is not like the old and it's not like the old in this particular respect, every member of the New Covenant community knows the Lord. Is that hard to understand?
It must be for some people, but it seems clear enough to me, that doesn't seem hard for me to understand. Now, I think for the next couple of minutes, I'm just going to review the texts of various categories that are often used by pedobaptists in the New Testament to try to support their practice of infant baptism. Category number one are the several texts in scripture where Jesus blesses little children.
I state that first and I didn't even put down a reference because to me that's the weakest of them at all, of all of them. Jesus took the little children up in his arm and blessed them and therefore that proves infant baptism. Where's the water? He took them up in his arms and blessed them. He prayed for them.
He blessed them. But there's nothing there about baptism. There's Charles Spurgeon, whose father and grandfather were pedobaptist ministers and his grandfather quite a prominent one.
His grandfather had an extensive library and that's where Spurgeon read voraciously and he became more knowledgeable of Puritan theology and doctrine than most men who were highly trained with the greatest, greatest schools available, which Spurgeon actually never went to. But he, to the embarrassment of his mother, became a Baptist after he was saved. He told her one day he was going down to the village church that he'd been attending, a Baptist church, to be baptized because he'd become a Christian. God had saved him. And she said, well, Charlie, I always prayed for you to become a Christian, but I never prayed for you to become a Baptist.
And Charles said, just like the Lord, he answers our prayers more abundantly than we could ask or think. And so Spurgeon, who had a family history of pedobaptism, came to conclude by all this reading in his grandfather's library, most of which would have been from pedobaptist authors, he came to the conclusion that pedobaptism is not what's taught in Scripture. It is believer's baptism. And he said, the proof texts for the pedobaptists, he said, fit into three categories. He said, number one, there are those that have children and no water. That's the Jesus blesses the little children texts. Number two, there are those that have water but no children.
And then thirdly, there are some that don't have either water or children. So that was three categories he came up with. All right, category number one, Jesus blesses the little children texts. I won't point to any of those now. Category two, Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, Acts chapter two.
I may come back to that when I've got my eye on the clock. Pastor Carnes dealt with that one a couple of Sundays ago on a Sunday night. Category number three, household baptism texts. And there are five texts in the Scripture that refer to the baptism of households.
Cornelius, Lydia, Philippian jailer, Crispus and Stephanus. We probably need to examine those one by one and see what is actually there, but we don't have time for that today. But that is often used as support for infant baptism with the assumption that in these household baptisms, there were infants in the household that were baptized, even though none of the texts say so. And several of the texts clearly state otherwise. Some are inconclusive, maybe two of them, but three of them are conclusive that it was only believers who were baptized. Those household baptism texts don't help very much. And then number four, there's the one place that I know of in Scripture in Colossians 2, 10 through 13, where you find circumcision and baptism mentioned in the same place. And that text is often used as a support for infant baptism.
And we should really look at that one, but I don't think we have time. Let's take a quick look at Acts chapter 2, and then I will come to a conclusion. Open your Bibles to Acts chapter 2. Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost. In Acts chapter 2, we read these words. Peter's winding up his sermon, verse 36. Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Now, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart. They were convicted and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for their mission of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for the promise. The promise would be the promise of the Holy Spirit, just write what he's just said in the end of verse 38. For the promise of the Holy Spirit is to you and to your children and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call. The promise is to you and to your children.
Ah, there it is. Now, we read a couple more verses. And with many other words, he testified and exhorted them, saying, be saved from this perverse generation. Then, verse 31, those who gladly received his word. Does that sound like infants?
Does that sound like children? Those who gladly received his word were baptized. And that day, about 3000 souls were added to them. The context itself makes it pretty clear that when Peter said the promise is to you and to your children, he wasn't saying the promise automatically applies to your children for your sake because you believed, then your children get the Holy Spirit too.
That's not what he's saying. The text itself, verse 39, has a disqualifier. The promise is to you and to your children and to all who are far off. And then this, as many as, as many of you, as many as, as many of your children, as many as, as many of those who are far off, the Lord our God will call. The promise isn't automatically to you. Peter preached to more than 3000 at that time.
Only 3000 believed. The promise only applied to them, the ones who believed, not to all of them that heard the words the promise applies to you. The promise didn't apply to their children automatically without faith. Only as many of your children as the Lord our God shall call effectually to himself. And likewise, those who are far off. Is he promising that the promise is to all the Gentiles in the world, whether they believe or not?
No, of course not. Nobody would believe that. No pedobaptist would even believe that. And yet if you follow their line of questionable exegesis, that's the conclusion you ought to come to. But no, it's not to everybody in all the world, regardless of whether they believe or not.
It's everybody in all the world who believes. Or to put it in the words of Peter, to as many as the Lord our God shall call. And so that's the, that's the stated way. But we can look at it two ways.
But we can look at it this way. The promise is to you, that is to as many of you as the Lord our God shall call, to as many as the Holy Spirit shall do a work in your heart and bring you to regenerating faith. And the promise is to your children. Likewise, as many as the Lord our God shall call, as many as who are elect, as many as the Lord our God shall call, as many as in whom the Lord does a regenerating work and brings them to faith in Christ. And the promise is to those who are afar off.
Gentiles, all of them know, as many as the Lord our God shall call, like Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened. So the promise is to you, as many as the Lord shall call. The promise is to your children, as many as the Lord shall call. The promises to Gentiles, as many as the Lord our God shall call. Or to put it more simply, as we would be more prone to put it, the promise is to you if you will believe it. The promise is to your children if they will believe it. The promise is to the Gentiles if they will believe it. Then they who gladly received his word, that is believed it, were baptized. They weren't baptized with their children, they were baptized on their faith, their profession of faith. That's my understanding of Acts chapter two. A couple of implications in closing.
And I don't have really enough time to deal with this first one because I think it's pretty serious. Because in all of this, I think there is an implication for the gospel. And I think it can actually be dangerous to the spiritual health of the children of those who are baptized as infants and told that they are now members of the new covenant who have not yet come to faith. Now, a good solid sound Bible-believing, Beidobaptist family and a good sound Bible-believing, Beidobaptist church will be very careful to instruct them continually, your baptism doesn't save you. You must believe, you must be born again. In other words, they're going to have to evangelize them like the old covenant people.
Every man telling his friends and neighbors, know the Lord. Because they don't all. But observation tells me that a lot of people in this category assume regeneration on the basis of water baptism of their children.
Basically, they turn it around. They say, well, we'll assume that they are regenerated unless they prove otherwise when the Bible states it the opposite way. We assume everyone born to this world is an unregenerate sinner until they prove otherwise, until there's evidence that they've been born again. Let's not turn this upside down on its head because there may be some dangers there. When I was thinking about this again this morning, that text in Psalm 69 came to my mind. Psalm 69, 22, talking about enemies. And the psalmist says this, let their table become a snare unto them and their well-being a trap. Let their table become a snare.
That phrase used to puzzle me until I finally figured out what I think that means. What is our table? Well, where we gather our family together is a table. This is the place of our closest family relationships, our closest family intimacies. You might say the place of greatest strength, our table. But our very table, you know, we gather for Peter Baptists, they gather their children around the table and they look with gratitude to God that here is a whole family of baptized New Covenant members.
We're all in the Covenant, source of great satisfaction. But that table can become a snare in this very way that I'm talking about. This presumption, this assumption that we will assume they're all regenerated unless they run out and murder somebody and then we'll decide they probably aren't. But it becomes a snare, a stumbling block.
They got it wrong, got it backwards, got it upside down. So there are implications for the gospel and there are also implications for church membership. What kind of church are you going to become a part of?
I fully understand why Baptists who believe the doctrines of grace come into a community where they can't find a Baptist church that believes the doctrines of grace and wind up in a good, vibrant, orthodox Presbyterian church that does, says this will make a good church home for me. Are you going to baptize your infants? Are you going to baptize your children, your grandchildren? If you don't, there will be pressure put on you if you don't.
You're expected to. It's my observation that in good Bible-believing orthodox Presbyterian churches, and I love them, but anyway, that's another story. But in those churches, my observation, just off the cuff observation, would be that probably a third of the members are former Baptists who couldn't find the doctrines of grace Baptist church.
So they find the church that's closest to what they believe and believe the gospel is more important than anything else, and I agree. But aren't there some serious implications here to become a member of a church that practices infant baptism and puts pressure upon people to do this? You could be harming your children. Think about that old covenant father who refused to circumcise his son.
That was pretty serious. But to be like that and refusing to baptize your children, that could put a lot of pressure to do what in your heart you may be convinced is not right. You've got to think about that. This final word. When it comes to believers and their children, we need to understand that our prayerful saturation of their lives with the word of God is the strong spiritual advantage we can give them.
Nothing else. Baptizing them does not give them a spiritual advantage. If you think it is, you've misunderstood it. It does not give them a spiritual advantage and may give them a spiritual obstacle.
It's guaranteed, but it might. What can you do to give them a spiritual advantage? Fill their hearts and minds with the word of God and saturate that activity with prayer. That's what you can do, and come to think about it, Baptists can do that as well as Presbyterians, right, or anybody else. We have no disadvantage and every advantage because we're standing firmly upon the word of God. Let's pray. Father, help us to know your word aright and to practice it as we ought, as we ask it in Jesus' name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-13 10:53:26 / 2022-11-13 11:10:40 / 17