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The Eternal Well-being Of Children
God’s people throughout the ages have revealed their concern for the earthly and eternal well-being of the child. Various terms are used to identify practices among God’s people in regard to this.
-of the male child as a sign of the covenant between God and His chosen people, the Jews, indicating God’s special relationship with his people…including privileges and promises Genesis 17:1-14
- though this outward sign was mandated the deeper meaning involved total devotion to God from the heart Romans 2:28, 29
Note: The Jewish understanding of this involved the parent’s role in teaching their children the Scriptures, and mentoring them toward a personal faith in God è following God. Romans 2:17-29
Circumcision alone did not guarantee eternal well-being.
BAPTISM / CHRISTENING:
- of an infant child indicating a covenant between God and the child; as such the child is within the influence of the teaching and example of the Christian church…those who follow Jesus.
- to ensure eternal well-being the significance of knowing God and following Him must become personal (Philippians 3:3-9); the rite of baptism does not impart grace, forgiveness, salvation, or eternal life. John 1:11-13
- taken from Jewish presentation of the child to God Luke 2:21-40
- a promise before God by the parents and church to influence the child through Example, Explanation, and Encouragement to seek God, know Him, and follow Him in obedience to the Scriptures.
- upon understanding a personal need for forgiveness, and the gift of eternal life through Jesus the Savior a person (child or adult) enters an eternal relationship with God
John 1:12, 13; 3:16-18, 36; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8
Note: In view of I Samuel 12:21-23 King David knew his son was safe with God even in death; this shapes the Christian’s belief that a child is safe with God should they die before the ‘age of accountability’.
“Believer’s Baptism” involves being baptized after one places personal faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord…a public statement of inner personal faith in Jesus and the desire to follow Him.
BLESSING OF THE CHILD:
- Jesus valued children, and commended their childlike faith in Him. Jesus took the children in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16
- Indeed, good parents desire that their child be blessed by God. The prayer of blessing is heard by God, yet the Bible teaches that two things influence that blessing:
1. that the role of the parent influences the beliefs, values, and personal choices of the child in every area of their life
2. that the child is blessed in choosing a personal relationship with God by repenting (turning from) their sin, and receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior John 1:12, 13 The prayer of blessing does not impart forgiveness or eternal life to the child.
The intention of any Jewish or Christian rite or symbol is that those involved will affirm the inner spiritual meaning and significance as revealed in the Scriptures; they will devote themselves to following the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
If one does not follow Jesus (obey the Scriptures) their faith/belief in God is in question; the rite performed cannot be relied upon to ensure eternal well-being. Romans 2:17-29, James 2:14-26
Blenheim Baptist Church practices “Believer’s
Baptism”. In regard to children we practice
Child Dedication, and the Blessing of the Child.