Other Relevant Issues

1. Baptism is a testimony of God’s gracious work, not our faith. In one of the most important passages on baptism, we learn that through baptism God unites us with Christ, in his death and resurrection (Rom.6:1-6; cf. Gal.3:27, Col.2:12-13). Thus, those who are joined to Christ by baptism must live for Christ in faith and obedience, lest they be cut off like dead branches (John 15:1-8).

2. Those who are baptized are not automatically saved. Peter tells us that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21), meaning it unites us by covenant to Christ in whom there is salvation. But Paul explains in no uncertain terms in 1 Corinthians 10 that the privileges entailed in baptism cannot make one presumptuous and careless. He tells the story of the Israelites who were "baptized into Moses, in the cloud and in the sea" and how they "all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink." And then Paul says, "But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness."

3. There is no explicit command not to baptise. And this is more significant than it first appears. It was assumed in Israel that children were included in God’s gracious covenant. It was assumed that they would be given the sign of the covenant. If things were going to change in God’s economy, you would need an explicit command. If you travel on the highway from Missouri into Kansas, there’ll be no sign indicating that drivers must now drive on the right side of the road. That’s the law in Missouri too. And where there’s continuity from one state to the next, officials post nothing at the border. Where there are differences, they post signs (different speed limits perhaps).

4. The book of Hebrews repeatedly describes the new covenant as a superior covenant. He calls it "a better covenant, which was established on better promises" (10:6). If the old covenant included children of believers in its privileges and provisions and the new covenant didn’t, wouldn’t that make the new covenant an inferior covenant?

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