INFANT BAPTISM: Congratulations on the birth of your baby! This is a special time in your life. This addition to your family is also another person to love and care for. It is a great responsibility that God has given you and yet it is a great privilege and joy to bring a child into the world and to bring them up to love and serve the Lord.
One of the great joys of being a Christian is that God promises not only to be our God but also to be God to our children. The Bible describes this as covenant love. When God made a covenant with his people he promised to bless them and their children. That is why the children of believers are described as being holy in contrast to being unclean (1 Corinthians 7:14). They are not outside the church but inside; they are not in some kind of neutral zone but firmly within the family of God.
It is for this reason that we baptise the infants of believers with the same water baptism that is applied to adults who come to faith in later years. Just as an adult who believes in Jesus is counted right with God, so too is the infant of that adult counted right with God, because of God’s promises. Strictly speaking, it is not the faith of parents that saves their children – it is Jesus’ death on the cross. God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises enables us to claim with confidence that believing parents, along with their children, are saved.
This household principle was true under the old covenant and continues to be true under the new covenant as well (Acts 16:25-34).
Baptism is not a magical act. It does not convey anything to the child that is not already true. Rather it signifies and seals that the infant who is baptised with water is already forgiven through Jesus. It is important therefore, that as parents you make every effort to bring up your children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. You will need to teach them about their heavenly Father and how he has already set his love upon them. You will need to teach them how to respond to his love, by trusting him and following in his ways. As they grow, they will soon be able to express for themselves their faith in Christ and their desire to follow him.
Just as your children have nothing to do in order to become members of your family, so there is nothing for them to do to become members of God’s family. Yet, as members of your family you will obviously want to train them in the ways of the family, expecting them to grow up with a love for you as their parents and an allegiance to your family values. Likewise, as members of God’s family you must train them in God’s ways, so that they can also grow up with a love for God and an allegiance to his ways, as part of their response to his grace.
This is the way of the covenant. This is why Paul addresses children at Ephesus as saints and exhorts them to obey their parents “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1). Baptism is a mark and pledge of their being “in the Lord” and seals their membership in God’s church.
For this reason it is customary for baptisms to take place in the church service normally attended by the parents, so that the whole congregation can be reminded of God’s covenant promises, as well as pray for you and your children at the beginning of their Christian life. Please give plenty of notice of the date you would like the baptism to take place and await confirmation of this with the church and the Minister before you make other arrangements.
There is no fee for baptism.