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Children Need Baptism Because Sinners Need Saving

Children Need Baptism Because Sinners Need Saving

 

In a study conducted by YaleUniversity and the University of Chicago, five-year-olds were presented with the option of giving away one to four stickers to a familiar friend.  The study revealed that children shared more of the stickers when face-to-face with their friend, versus putting some in a jar for their friend, with the amount known only to them.  The children were strikingly ungenerous when they knew their little buddy wasn’t watching them and was not aware of how many stickers they actually had to share.  Maria Guido, on her website mommyish.com, commented on the study, “Maybe kids really are selfish little animals.  But they are learning that behavior somewhere, right?”

God’s answer to Maria’s question is, “No.  They don’t learn to be selfish.  It comes naturally.  They were born that way.”

 

Not that it was always that way.  Adam and Eve were created in God’s image.  They had a nature shaped in conformity to God’s holy will.  But their decision to rebel against God and eat the forbidden fruit changed all that (See Genesis 3).  The image of God was lost and replaced by a corrupt nature.  In Genesis 5:3, we read the sad truth that Adam “had a son in his own likeness, in his own image.”

 

A corrupt sinful nature has continued to be passed down through mankind.  David knew that and said, “Surely I was a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)  That is bad news because God hates sin, leading Paul to say, “We were by nature objects of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3) And even worse, sinners must be punished by a just and holy God.  Paul tells us what that punishment is when he says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 3:23)

 

So you and I pass sin on to our kids, and with sin, death (physical, spiritual, and eternal death/hell), as surely as we pass down allergies, diseases, and other physical problems that result in suffering; which means our kids need saving from their sin and from God’s wrath and punishment.  And that is why they need to be baptized, and why it is wise to baptize them as soon after they are born as possible.  Both my children were baptized less than a week after their mom got home from the hospital.   They were baptized because they were sinners who needed saving, and because God attaches the promise of forgiveness to baptism (“Be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins” – Acts 2:38) and tells us, “This promise if for you and for your children.” (Acts 2:39)  How comforting it is for parents to know their children have this assurance from God: “Baptism now saves you.” (1 Peter 3:21)

 

So when you see your baby’s melt-down when she doesn’t get her way, and your toddler’s hitting, kicking, and biting when he is angry, and when all you seem to be doing as a parent is reining in your child’s self-centered impulses, understand from God’s Word why your children are the way they are.  But more than that, remember why you are the way you are, and rejoice that God nevertheless loves sinners like you and them. Rejoice that, in his great love, he sent his only Son Jesus to redeem you all from sin at the cross and destroy the power of death by his resurrection.  And rejoice that he has declared you and your children his forgiven children and heirs of heaven in your baptism.