Can infant baptism be justified by using what is written in Acts 2:39? Thank you.
Before answering the question, I would like for us to read the passage from Acts.
39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts)
This is a quote from the Apostle Peter’s sermon, preached on the day of Pentecost. It is the answer that he gives to his hearers when their hearts were pierced by the message of the Gospel. They asked him, “what should we do” (with what we have just heard).
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins ; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)
This passage cannot be used to justify infant baptism. Infant baptism is a practice that is not mentioned in the Bible. It was not practiced by the first Christians during the first century. Infant baptism as a practice came about much later (around 250 A.D.). Peter was speaking to the people who heard his message and believed it when he said “repent and be baptized”. When Peters said, “the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off”, the promise he refers to is the promise of salvation that was for them and their children as well as for everyone, “as many as God will call to Himself”. The promise was for them as well as their children and they all were able to benefit from the promise of eternal life only if they would repent of their sins. They would be able to be baptized only after they had repented. Infants are not able to repent. They must first grow and mature so that they can understand the promises of God, which are for them, realize that they are sinners and need salvation, and then take the next step which is repentance. Once they are able to repent then they can be baptized. The fact that a child’s parents repent and are baptized does not remove the child’s need for repentance in order to be baptized.
May the Lord help all of us who have learned of and believed the promises of God in view of eternal life as well as repented and been baptized, to teach the truth of the Gospel to our children as well as live It out before them. We need to encourage them to understand the Gospel, repent of their sins, be baptized, and be saved.
Translation by: Erik Brewer