Titus 3:5 "It is not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He has saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit."
Living Life on Purpose
Though this teaching covers the fundamentals of Christian water baptism, it's main focus is to expose the extremely grave dangers in the teaching of the baptism of infants as a necessity to save them from eternal condemnation. You will see that the claim of being born again by infant baptism, as many denominations teach, is nothing more than an 'inoculation' against the real thing.
Jesus said that he who is believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who doubts shall
be condemned. Mark 16:16 Baptism is a mark of obedience to the faith. It is an outward sign of
an inward cleansing. However it is not a mystical formula that brings salvation to anyone outside
of their own confession of faith.
When speaking of baptism it is important to identify what type of baptism one is speaking
of. There is water baptism, baptisms of suffering, baptism in the Holy Spirit, baptisms of
repentance, and baptism into the Body of Jesus Christ. Baptism in itself means an immersion
into. When we are saved, we are baptized into the Body of Christ. We are one with Him.
As a sign of being a child of God, an Israelite in the Old Testament, Jewish children were
circumcised. It was a sign of the covenant. In the New Testament, Christians, those who have
become born again and are new creations in Christ, having been spiritually baptized into His
Body by faith and repentance, these have the right to the outward sign of their inward cleansing -
water baptism. Rom. 4:11; Col. 2:11-14 shows the parallel between circumcision and baptism.
It is a symbol of putting off the flesh, a dying to the old nature, and being raised as a new creation in Christ. II Cor. 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away.
Behold, all things have become new.”
Old Testament Israel circumcised infants because they were already born into the covenant as Jews. They were God's chosen. New Testament Christians grant the sign of the covenant when people become children of God through the new birth by faith and obedience to their faith, called repentance. That counterpart to circumcision is water baptism. Jesus' Gospel message was simply this, "The Kingdom of God is here. Repent and believe." Mark 1:15
Paul shows in Romans that baptism is a symbol of death. We have died in Christ as He
has died on the cross. But also He rose from the dead to newness of life, therefore we are raised
with Him in a new life. Rom. 6:3,4 The new life we have is the life of re-generation. It is being
born again by the Spirit.
Now the Bible also clearly teaches that this new birth, this new life from death, having
been buried with Christ is the work of the Spirit by faith. It is totally apart from works. It does
not happen by works, and water baptism is a work. “not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and
renewing of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5 Romans 4:1-5 also show this that salvation,
righteousness is not established by works but by faith alone. Anything else is a denial of the
grace of God. Paul says that if we go back from our salvation by faith to attempt to be perfected
by works, we have fallen from grace, and Christ will be of no effect to us at all. Gal. 3:2-7. If
righteous comes by works then Christ has died in vain, Paul says in Gal. 2:21.
Men have always tried to add works to their faith to gain an advantage in their own
religious circles and in their own flesh that, as Paul says, “they may glory in your flesh.” Certain
denominations add sacraments or religious observances to the doctrines of the Bible that they
may claim an exclusive circle on eternal life. But any work of man, whether it be the laws of the
Old Testament or the fleshly efforts of men’s religious laws will never bring eternal life. Infant
baptism is one of those laws of men.
Fear of the eternal destiny of an infant can never be removed by infant baptism. Baptism
is not even vital for salvation if one has never been afforded the opportunity for such. Consider
the thief on the cross that Jesus told would be with Him in paradise. It wasn’t the work that
would save him. It was his faith and it was the death of Jesus, the Son of God, that brought him
It is incredibly shocking to most of us today to realize that infant baptism was something
that became the doctrine of the state church for 100's of years beginning in about 425AD. Up
until 370AD there is no accurate, consistent, historical record of any infant baptisms. But after Constantine was saved the church was joined to the state. For centuries it became a crime often punishable by death to even speak against infant baptism.
Even Luther and Calvin preached the necessity of infant baptism. Calvin is even known
to have had people killed for failing to uphold this doctrine of men and devils. It was not until
religious freedom came to America in the Rhode Island colony that people were free from the
fear of government reprisal for refusing to embrace infant baptism.
During these many centuries there were groups known by many names who refused this
heresy. But they were forbidden from calling themselves Christians, and often they were
discovered and martyred.
To this day Catholic and Lutheran doctrine declares people to be free from original sin
through infant baptism. Though the Pope in 2005 is said by some to have declared Limbo to be a
myth, the fate of infants is called into question by this denial of salvation by grace through faith
alone. In fact, it was the doubt about the eternal destiny of infants that greatly fueled the doctrine
of infant baptism. Such fear was placed upon parents that the church developed a doctrine to
sooth their fears and the clergy’s conscience. They had to have an answer for where infants go.
Most of the people of England today believe that they are in the Kingdom of heaven because of
this infant baptism. They were baptized into the church of England, and if it’s good enough for
the Queen, it’s good enough for them. Here is one glaring example of the extreme danger of
such a doctrine. It’s the tendency of man to follow the majority whether they are right or wrong.
More people have been lulled into a false sense of salvation through infant baptism than
through most other doctrines. Though it is often claimed that such baptized infants must
embrace the faith of Christianity when they mature, their funerals proclaim their eternal salvation
because “they were washed in the waters of baptism.”
Men died for the right to be free of the state church, from taxation without representation,
from slavery, and for state’s rights. They also suffered horribly to remove the poison of racism,
though that stain remains firmly fixed in our nation. Yet most of these are for the most part
concerning temporal issues. Yet for the sake of unity, tolerance, and political correctness few
people seem willing to stand up and declare that one of the great poisons of mankind is the
doctrine of infant baptism.
Great is the trepidation of families who have dead loved ones whose eternity is called into
question if infant baptism is not embraced. Great anger often accompanies a challenge to their
beliefs. But the anger should not be directed at the truth and exposing of deception. The anger
must lie at the doorstep of the ones who have lied to them about eternal security residing with
infant baptism. What of the comfort towards those who have babies who have died without
An often quoted scripture to support infant baptism is in Matthew. "But Jesus said, Suffer the
little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matt
19:14 The previous verse says that little children were brought to Him so that He might pray for
them. It does not say they were brought to Him for baptism. Jesus never baptized anyone in
water, nor is it said that John the Baptist baptized infants. This verse simply is not talking about water baptism. Jesus is making the point clear that the Kingdom of God is made up of those with a child like acceptance of the truth. Matt. 18:2-5 He teaches that it is their simple humility and receptiveness to the kingdom of God that is necessary for eternal life.
Reality here says that if Jesus encouraged people to bring children to Him, or to pastors, to Christians, even to parents that they might lay their hands on them and bless them in the Name of Jesus, that such is very acceptable to God. This is what it says, and it is all that it says.
In Acts we see that the only thing that hindered from being baptized was faith in Jesus as
the Son of God. “Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch
said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said,"If you
believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said,"I believe that Jesus Christ is
the Son of God." Acts 8:36-37
There is no instance anywhere in scripture where children were baptized. “But when they
believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus
Christ, both men and women were baptized.” Acts 8:12 In every place where the apostles
baptized anyone, they were those who had expressed their faith in Christ. There is not one verse
of teaching in the early church history in the Bible where the apostles baptized infants or anyone
before they confessed their faith. However, in every case where faith was first preached and
believed according to the historical biblical record, people received baptism in water. Acts
16:33; 18:8; 19:5
Born again Christians have always understood that there is an ‘age of accountability.’
When a child is old enough to be accountable for his/her own sin and salvation, then God will
judge them accordingly. Up to that point in their life ‘the just Judge of the earth shall do right’
even though we do not know how to judge. Genesis 18:25.
If a child is thought to be saved from hell by baptism then when does that baptism
become ineffective? For after all, no adult can claim eternal life without personal repentance and
faith in Jesus. When does their age of personal accountability before God begin? Or is there
none? Are they saved because they were baptized as infants? If there is then an obvious age or
beginning season of accountability (which time must be left in the hands of the Just Judge of the
earth) there is no reason or doctrine found in the Bible to violate the necessity of 'belief before
The faith and doctrine of the Bible is a religion of the heart. God looks at the heart to
judge the soul. I Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 11:20 Furthermore, God always judges each person for
their own sin, not for that of their parents. Ezk. 18:1-4 God will not condemn the soul of a child
because of a parent who does not do right by their child. Consider all of the parents of every age
who have never followed the Lord. Their infant children will not be condemned because of
another’s wilful sin or even their ignorance.
There are denominations that teach outrightly that unless an infant is baptized he or she is
condemned to hell. It is for example classic Lutheran doctrine. See for example the web site,
http://www.orlutheran.com/html/trinfbap.html. They teach that an infant is born again because
Jesus said one must be born of water and the spirit. Jn 3:3-6. They also falsely teach that early
church history included infant baptism, which it did not. However, even if it did, how does the
history of men’s actions ever rise to the level of scripture. Whether it be history or present day
experience, claims from history do nothing more than appeal to man instead of to God to reveal
what is true.
Here is a direct quote from this site. “If infants die before they believe in Jesus, they will
be eternally condemned. They, like everyone else, need to be baptized so that they can be born
It is impossible to be born again by a work of man’s initiative! No place in scripture is
there ever a man baptized in the name of Jesus before he is saved or born again. The overwhelming danger here is falsely telling people that they were born again at infant baptism. They will think that they are then born again and do not therefore still need to be. That is a grave eternal error!
A further vital concern here is something that reveals why so many people don't know how to become born again. If babies are born again at baptism, then how do adults get born again? What does being born again mean? What did Jesus say about eternal life? He said, "Repent and believe." It's no wonder that so many people today don't know how to become born again or get angry when you talk to them about it. It's because they were never taught by their church what the Bible truly says about the subject. Or perhaps they thought that they were born again as adults when they were baptized. As is often the case, people are told, "You were washed in the waters of baptism." But if they haven't embraced what Jesus said about eternal life, then they have not been cleansed by the washing of regeneration.
Furthermore, if we carry this false doctrine to the limit, consider this. Where does that baby go if he dies before he is baptized? Parents and churches almost never baptize them on the day of birth. What happens if the child dies at birth? What happens in miscarriage? Where do aborted babies go? None of these have the opportunity of baptism. Or is there some kind of natural, spiritual immunity passed down by the mother that lasts for a few weeks, you know, just like physical immunity?
Many readily admit that the scripture does not show one single example of infant baptism, yet that doesn’t seem good enough. They say its exclusion doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It may very well have happened. But it never happened in the inspired biblical record.
If infant baptism were such a crucial reality, Jesus would certainly have spoken about it. But He didn't. He said to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All nations means all nations. It doesn't mean all people from birth on. All nations means, don't exclude any nation. It's for all nations, races, and colors. He is making it very simple. Every nation that calls upon the name of the Lord and believes the Gospel can receive salvation. It's for Chine, India, Iran, and Egypt as well as America. It's crucial that every nation receive the truth, believe it and obey it. If infants needed insurance from the damnation of hell He would've said something about it. God doesn't make mistakes.
Here’s another objection to the truth. Quote: “The most frequent objection to infant
baptism is that babies cannot believe. They do not, says the objection, have the intellect
necessary to repent and believe in Jesus. If this is your opinion, Jesus disagrees with you. Luke
18 tells us that certain parents were bringing infants (Greek - brephe) to Jesus, that He might
bless them. The disciples rebuked those who brought the babies. Jesus' response is well known: "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Jesus does not disagree with us on this. He allowed them to come to Him that He might lay hands on them, pray for them as the scripture plainly declares, and bless them. That has nothing to do with coming to Him in faith, believing. This logic is some of the worst examples of improper hermaneutics (interpreting the scriptures) that you will ever find. It is totally illogical and a misrepresentation of the intent of the scriptures.
The great danger of this heresy is that multiple millions of people are being taught that
they are born again, saved from original sin, or have received something that they in fact have not
received. Here is another Lutheran quote. "If babies can believe then why do they need
baptism?" Answer: it is through baptism that faith is created in the infant's heart. Baptism, far
from being the empty symbolism that many imagine it to be, is the visible Gospel, a powerful
means of grace.
The great fallacy here is that baptism is a “means” of grace, or a way to receive grace. It
is a work. Paul said it is not by any work that we are saved, but it is by faith, or else grace is no longer grace.
This great error of infant baptism continues to support the presumption that people have what they in fact do not have. Many a time I have sat in a funeral and heard the minister say that ‘so and so’ is with the Lord because he was washed in the waters of baptism. But I know the person was a
scoundrel who never lived for God at all. They lie to our families and our children and tell them
something that confirms only their depravity and presumption. It supports the deception that they
have what they may not have at all. No where in any way does the Bible teach that baptism of anyone creates faith in their heart. Such is a total fabrication to support the religion of men.
There are those who are so steeped in the work of baptism as a means of grace that they
will never be convinced. If this teaching is not received with humility it will also not convince
anyone. It is very painful to be willing to tear down everything one believes and see if it lines up
with the scriptures. That pain is why so many people will not come to the truth.
If you know someone in that situation, simply love them, pray for them, and let God be
God to them. The Holy Spirit is well able to wake someone up and help them see the truth. We
should never expect someone to believe what we believe because we believe it. That is not
freedom. We each must let the Holy Spirit be the convincer of truth. Be patient with people.
They are in pain, and that pain is a thirsting for God. Be careful not to drive them away in an attempt to win an argument. Whatever side of the debate you are on in this matter, let God be God to you and He will lead you into all truth.