At first sight, this may seem strange because the baby does not understand what is going on. He or she is too young to repent and believe the gospel. But there are good reasons for baptizing the children of at least one parent with saving faith in Christ.
- The Bible is best understood as a series of unfolding covenants. This is the language that God uses, for example, in giving His promises to Abram (soon to become known as Abraham). You will find this in Genesis 17:9-14. When people believe God’s promises and act on them, they are in covenant with God.
- These covenants always included children. Throughout the Bible, there is a recurring expression ‘to you and to your seed’ (or ‘descendants’ or ‘offspring’). One example of this can be found in Deuteronomy 29:9-12.
- These covenants have signs attached to them. With Noah it was the rainbow; with Moses it was the Passover.
- In the Old Testament circumcision was carried out on all males on the eighth day of their lives. This means that circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant, not the young boy’s faith.
- In the New Testament, there is a new covenant, and therefore a new sign, which is baptism. This went to males and females (Acts 8:12) and to Gentiles, those who were not Jews (Acts 10).
- The ordinance or sacrament is not a sign of the youngster’s faith but of God’s covenant, which extends to the children of Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ. Hence Peter uses Old Testament covenant language in Acts 2:38-39.