Home > Baptism > Infants are redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ

Infants are redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ

But infants are, I remark secondly, redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and must therefore be saved.

Their redemption is thus taught by an apostle:

Death” [natural death] “reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” In other words, infants, who have not committed actual offenses, as Adam did, have nevertheless all inherited his depravity, and are, therefore, subject to physical suffering and death. “As,” however, “by the offense of one [Adam] judgment [sentence] came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift [the offer of deliverance from condemnation under a better covenant] came upon all men, [upon as many as were involved in the consequences of Adam’s sin] unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:12-19.)

Christ Jesus suspended the execution of the sentence of death under which men had fallen, and introduced another covenant in the place of the first, and so changed the relations of things that to man, though a sinner, destruction is not inevitable. The remedy is found in the satisfaction made to divine justice by Messiah, the promised “seed of the woman.” In consideration of his atonement the ground of condemnation is changed. His interposition has placed the whole subject in an entirely new aspect. Previously, if I may so speak, all men were condemned. Their relation to Adam had involved them all in the curse. Subsequently the case was different.

This is [now] the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19.)

Ye are condemned,” “because ye have not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18.)

Not now it is not so much because of your relation to Adam, disastrous as that relation may be, as because you do not embrace Christ by faith. Hence all the counsels, the warnings, the commands, the invitations, the promises of divine revelation, are addressed to those who are capable of exercising intelligence. And its denunciations are hurled only against willful rebellion, impenitency, and unbelief.

What are we here taught concerning infants? They have not the capacity to know any thing of the gospel. They are not impenitent, or rebellious. They have not rejected Christ. They are clearly included in his mediation, since “by his righteousness the free gift came upon all men to justification of life.” That free gift must of course have come upon them. They are redeemed by Christ. And again. The relation to us of our Lord Jesus Christ in the work of redemption, is clearly, to man as man. Adam and Christ, are alike, heads of the race,

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made a quickening spirit. How be it that is not first which was spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which was spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49.)

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 9- Infant baptism is an evil because it subverts the true doctrine of infant salvation

  1. June 11, 2021 at 8:30 am

    So it appears Howell accepts a form of universalism until a person becomes “impenitent, or rebellious”. Interesting. I’m curious to see how he applies this to those to whom the gospel has never been preached: Do they remain under this universal salvation?

    • June 11, 2021 at 8:58 am

      Yes, I believe Howell strays on this point. Since all are born sinners, then God is not obligated to save any infants who die in infancy. If God chooses to do so, it is because of His own good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself.

  2. June 12, 2021 at 5:58 am

    Waitaminute… While rejecting infant baptism, Howell grants that “all” infants are saved. I can grant that _some_ are indeed saved, as we find the yet unborn John the Baptist leaping in the womb for joy at being in close proximity to Christ. Election belongs to God alone. But I find no basis in Scripture for the assumption that all infants are elect.

    • June 14, 2021 at 6:33 am

      Thank you Robin for reading and commenting. The baptism of infants has nothing to do with their salvation, if any are saved. Both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith use the term ‘elect infants,’ when discussing the salvation of at least some infants who die in infancy. Seeing that the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith rejects the idea of baptizing infants, then one cannot conclude that the salvation of elect infants is based on the baptism of said infants. Calvin actually stated that infants would go to heaven whether they saw water baptism or not.

      In the morning I will have an article coming out explaining Howell’s position concerning the salvation of all infants. Many Reformed Theologians, it seems, held to this view because they were countering the Arminian view of salvation. Think about it. If Arminianism were true, then no infants would be saved at all, seeing that salvation would depend upon a decision from the sinner. In my research it seems that the Calvinistic position would be that all infants are saved who die in infancy. Zwingli actually taught this view and some Reformed Theologians have followed. So be sure to check out tomorrow’s post.

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