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the gospel and infant baptism

August 25, 2011

This Sunday, I am going to baptize Amy & Matt Lohse’s newborn son, Mark.

The older I get, the more I love infant baptism.

Now, I know that not all Christians practice infant baptism. I have many godly friends who believe and practice otherwise. But the longer I am a pastor and a parent, the more I believe that infant baptism is a beautiful picture of the gospel.

The gospel teaches that God gives grace and acceptance up front—before we have even lifted a finger.  God’s grace isn’t a reward we receive for a life well-lived. It’s a hearty embrace and welcome into God’s family that precedes anything we do. That’s the beauty of grace. It’s free and it comes first.

With infant baptism, the same dynamic is at work. You have one or two parents standing on the edge of a very perilous yet potentially rewarding endeavor—raising a child.

What does God do? Before the parents can really bless a kid or screw a kid up, God makes a promise: This child is mine. In the words of one writer, in baptism your child “is being claimed by a promise-keeping Father who is even more faithful than you.

Infant baptism wonderfully depicts that even in parenting, grace comes first. As a parent, I have drawn more comfort from this than anything else.

So when we baptize our infants in worship together, we hear the good news that God has claimed our kids. Our faithful response is to align ourselves with that promise.

Here’s a great article by Jamie Smith that does a great job of explaining this in depth.

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