“The beauty of being in God’s family”
Today we see the sacrament of baptism administered, twice! Little Harvey Sibe Knol (9 months) and Zackary Jacob Knol (7 weeks) are being presented by their respective parents for baptism. The parent’s wish is to present their children to our covenant God, before God’s people, to acknowledge and thank Him for the precious gift of new life and wishing their children to be regarded as part of His greater family.
In the Old Testament (OT), God not only created the family unit (Adam and Eve), He became the Father of a whole nation when He called Abraham. God promised Abraham that He would be his God and that He would make him into a great nation, bless him, and all people would be blessed through him (Gen 12). God then made a covenant (promise) with Abraham assuring him that his descendants would be as many as the stars above and that God Himself would make it happen (Gen 15). And so, the nation of Israel was born, and they became God’s children, or if you will, His family. The sign that they were part of God’s family was that all boys at the age of eight days had to be circumcised.
God also set down some house rules, the main ones being that they were to love Him above all and each other. Sometimes, God’s children enjoyed being part of God’s family and at other times they rebelled. But God as a loving Father, continued to love them, even disciplining them, but never forgetting they were His covenant children.
The great love God had for his OT children continues into the New Testament (NT), and even more so. God’s promise to Abraham that all people would be blessed through his seed, has come to fruition with the birth of Jesus. God knew already when he made the promise to Abraham, that perfect obedience was beyond sinful human beings. So, He promised that a Saviour would be born (Gen 3:15) and that His law would be written on their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit) so that they are able to obey (Jer 31:31ff).
So, in the fullness of time, because of His great love and mercy, He sent His one and only Son, born of Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, to be the Saviour of all who, by the power of the Holy Spirit would acknowledge their sin, repent of it and wholeheartedly believe that Jesus paid the debt through his death and resurrection.
Today, all who believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord are part of God’s NT family. Baptism is a lovely outward sign and symbol that all God’s promises in Jesus are true, not only for those who can make a heart confession but also for the children of all believers (Acts 2:42ff), just as children were part of God’s OT family.
As parents, we are given the extra privilege of teaching our children (Deut 6:1-9; cf. Eph 6:1-4) about our God and especially His love to them in Jesus Christ As we do so, we pray that the Holy Spirit will help us and create faith in their hearts so that they too can stand with us and say, “Jesus is mine and I love belonging to His family.” JZ.