The Human Philosophy of Infant Baptism
What has the resurrection to do with baptism?
Reformed practitioners of infant baptism perpetuate a human philosophy that is not according to Christ and his Word, but is more related to the Colossian heresy than any of them will admit.
In Colossians 2:11, Paul says the church was circumcised with a circumcision made without hands. This is a spiritual circumcision. It is fulfilled in Christ,
“having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
This is a spiritual baptism. It speaks of those who were dead in their trespasses and the uncircumcision of their flesh, whom God made alive together with Christ! (v.13) These are those forgiven all their trespasses (v.13b).
It is a legal matter which is done:
“by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.” (v.14a)
Justification is by faith alone in Christ alone. It doesn’t get any more reformed than that! To say that we are to baptize our infants based on any continuity between circumcision and baptism is to err both in the interpretation of the plain meaning of this text as well as to violate a reformation principle at the very heart of the gospel.
It is for believers that he “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (v.15). He speaks of believers as those who have been spiritually baptized, forgiven, legally set free, and protected. The key is in the “And you” of v.13. These have to know they were dead and are made alive by the work of Jesus. What does the resurrection have to do with baptism? Everything. We who believe in Jesus Christ are said to be buried and raised with him. Thus, one who is born naturally but is never born spiritually cannot have this applied to them in truth.
It is a human tradition and philosophy that would invite infants to be baptized and participate in communion. No matter how much we may agree in other areas with those who practice such things, we would do well to listen to them in the areas they agree with Scripture but do not do as they do in the matter of infant baptism.
Athough he did not insist on the mode of baptism (whether by immersion or other) he insisted that belief must precede baptism and communion. He says,
“Clearly it is essential that anybody who is to derive any benefit from the sacraments must be a man or woman of faith. It is implicit in our definition that without faith there is no value whatsoever in baptism or in the Lord’s Supper. It is because she already knows she is loved that a woman values her engagement ring.” ~Martyn Lloyd-Jones1
The Scriptures plainly teach that baptism is for believers only, and the spiritual baptism of Colossians 2 signifies what is the reality for believers only, those whom God has justified legally, forgiven, raised, cancelled their debts, and disarmed from spiritual enemies. Only these are the proper subjects of water baptism corresponding to those who have experienced the realities of salvation set forth in Colossians 2. To reinforce this if one reads on they will see there were temporary matters in the law which were shadows. Circumcision was one of them. We do not take up a new circumcision to replace the old. It has passed away. The reality is with Christ, and now we practice what he has commanded us to observe in regards to signs of the faith, and these include baptism and communion for those who have first experienced such spiritually through Christ’s work on the cross in knowledge.
The Church and the Last Things p.32