if I was baptized as an infant? Does that count? And the answer is –
yes and no. I’ll tell you what I mean by that. It counts in the sense
that it’s a very special event that your parents went through on your
behalf. And nothing in a later baptism should denigrate that or devalue
that reflection of their love for you and their desire for you to
embrace the Christian faith. That’s the “yes” part.
“no” part is that an infant baptism isn’t the baptism Christ asked for.
Your baptism as an infant was a sign of your parents’ faith and their
desire for you to grow up and become a follower of Jesus. But it’s not a
sign of your faith. You probably don’t even remember it.
if you were baptized as an infant, you still need to be baptized as a
believer. Because the baptism Jesus was after was something to be
pursued as a believer, as a Christian, as someone who has crossed the
line knowingly, as a self-conscious personal decision – not what their
parents wanted – what you decided. Because that’s what baptism is – the
sacred act which reflects what you have determined and it symbolizes
your faith in Christ.
you were baptized before you personally placed your faith in Jesus –
then your baptism was not a symbol of your faith. You haven’t publicly
acknowledged him before men and women as a believer. It would be like
going through a wedding without having anyone to marry.
most churches that practice infant baptism do so in the hope that one
day you will embrace the faith for yourself. And they would be the first
to say that later there needs to be something that confirms it in your
life when you’re old enough to decide to follow Jesus.
– in a sense – your adult baptism would be the ultimate fulfillment of
your parents faith when they had you baptized as an infant.
the New Testament, baptism always follows someone’s decision. There’s
not a single case in the Bible of somebody being baptized before they
made their own decision. It’s always “hear, believe, be baptized.”
There’s not one deviation from that pattern in scripture. And since the
purpose and meaning of baptism is to publicly confess your commitment to
Christ, then if you have not been baptized as a believer following your
decision for Christ, then absolutely – without a doubt – you need to be
some of you were not baptized as an infant – but you were baptized when
you were really young. Sometimes parental insecurity – if I can be that
bold – forces, pushes children toward baptism at too young of an age.
The child gets baptized and the parent feels better. But the child
hadn’t really made a decision to follow Jesus and didn’t really
understand what baptism means. If that’s you – and you made your real
decision to follow Jesus later on – you should be baptized. You may have
gotten wet before, but you weren’t baptized as a sign of your faith.
The point is to have baptism reflect what has happened in your life
relationally with Christ. If you went through a baptism before but you
weren’t really in that relationship, then it doesn’t matter what you
did, or how old you were when you did it, you haven’t really been
baptized into the faith as a follower of Jesus.