` As we continue our look at the Lutheran understanding of baptism, today’s post ties right in with yesterday’s. We saw in my previous post that young children, and even infants, are sinful. And, in addition to this, we see that they are also subject to the consequences of sin.
When the first sin entered into the world, we see the consequences that came along with it (Genesis 3). Life would now be filled with pain and hardship. And man was also, now, subject to death.
This truth is applied to us all in Romans 6:23, which tells us that the wages of sin is death. This means that death is what we deserve because of our sin. Death is what we’ve earned by our sin.
We see no exceptions to this truth in Scripture. Even young children and babies are included in this reality. They are born into the world in a state of sin and, therefore, they are subject to the consequences of that sin.
As I mentioned previously, we like to believe that babies are innocent and pure. However, Scripture tells us that they are sinful. Yet, even if we accept the truth that they are born in sin, we still don’t want to believe that they are accountable for their sin. We don’t want to believe that they will be held responsible for it.
But, as we look at the world around us, there’s no denying it. There’s no denying it because we see that children do, in fact, die. They are sometimes born with abnormalities that lead to their death. They sometimes become seriously ill, which leads to their death. They are sometimes involved in accidents that lead to their death. And this reveals to us, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are held accountable for their sin.
If they were not sinful, if they were not guilty, they would not be subject to death. If they were not accountable for their sin, it wouldn’t be possible for them to die. Even though we don’t like to face it, the simple reality is that they too bear the consequences of sin.
We struggle with this because they have no choice in the matter. We struggle with this because they haven’t consciously chosen to sin. However, the sinful nature that they bear makes this a reality.
A similar truth is mentioned in Romans 5. In verses 13 and 14 Paul points out that sin is not counted when there is no law. And God didn’t give his law until the time of Moses. However, even though the people who lived between the time of Moses and Adam didn’t have the revealed law, they continued to experience death. And this shows that, even though they may not have violated a specific command of God, they were sinful. They had a sinful heart. They’d been born in sin, and they were subject to the consequences of sin.
The same truth applies in the case of babies and young children. Even if they don’t fully understand God’s law, and even if they haven’t made a deliberate decision to violate his law, they are still sinners. They are still guilty. And they remain subject to the consequences of sin.
This, once again, reveals that they are in need of redemption. They too need to be saved from sin and its consequences. And this is what’s provided in baptism.