God loves babies more than we humans do. I personally believe that God saves every baby, child or retarded adult that dies without having opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it in faith. It has nothing to do with whether or not they have been baptized. It has to do with God*s mercy. He chooses who He will be merciful to. We do not. We do not make Him more merciful or less merciful to certain individuals by baptizing them or not baptizing them.
Romans 9:15: For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Water baptism does not cause salvation for individuals of any age. When I was 9 or 10 years old I walked down the aisle at the invitation at a summer camp service. The preacher did not tell me I needed to receive Jesus. Nothing happened. A few months later I was baptized by the pastor of the church my family attended. He knew I had walked down that aisle and thought I had received Jesus. Some 33 years later I did receive Jesus. A few months after that I was baptized again. This time I had great joy in telling a crowd of people that I had received Jesus and about some of the changes He had made in my life. I was not saved by walking down an aisle or by either baptism. I was saved when I received Jesus.
Water baptism is a physical illustration of a spiritual event. After the spiritual event (receiving Jesus and becoming a child of God) has happened, water baptism is a meaningful illustration of what happened to that individual. Under the water and out of the water; dead with Christ and risen with Christ. In the case of individuals who have not received Jesus, water baptism is an illustration of something that has not happened to them. Water baptism should be one of many results of salvation. Faith and obedience are inseparable. There are two commands in the Bible regarding baptism, baptize and be baptized.
Matthew 28:19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Acts 10:48: And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
The one baptizing is to obey one command and the one being baptized is to obey the other command. Neither one can obey the command for the other. An infant is not obeying anything. When both parties are obeying the Lord in baptism, it is something they do, it is a work. We are not saved by works, not our own and not those of any other mortal man. Good works are the result of salvation, not the cause of it. Works before salvation are not good. Good works after salvation are rewarded.
Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
There are several baptisms spoken of in the Bible in addition to men baptizing men.
Jesus baptizes with the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 3:11: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
The Holy Ghost baptizes believers into the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
After his water baptism, Jesus spoke of his death on the cross as another baptism.
Luke 12:50: But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
The order of things is that we receive Jesus, Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost baptizes us into the body of Christ and then we obey Him by being baptized with water. We must believe in Jesus and what He does and not in men or what they do.
Jeremiah 17:5a: Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, . . .
In spite of his sin, King David was a man after God*s own heart. He had a remarkably different response to the deaths of two of his sons. One son was born as a result of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. That son died when he was seven days old. Jewish boys were circumcised on the eighth day so that had not been done. Some who practice infant baptism relate it to circumcision. They do it on the eighth day. David*s son died before his circumcision would have taken place and before a baptism would have taken place. The baby went to heaven, but not because it had been circumcised or baptized. You can read the account in 2 Samuel 12:13-23. David knew that he would go to heaven when he died and he knew that his infant son was there. He had no sorrow after this son*s death. Here is what he said:
2 Samuel 12:23b: . . . I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
When his grown son Absalom was killed, David knew that son had been wicked and rebellious and went to the place of torments. When he learned of Absalom*s death David mourned deeply.
2 Samuel 18:33: And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!
The only involvement men (or women) have in the salvation of other men is praying for them, witnessing to them, loving them, doing good works before them and preaching the Word of God or quoting it to them. We have no control over which prayers God will answer, the effect our witnessing will have, which individuals God has chosen to save, which individuals will respond to His Word in faith or when they will do that.
Romans 10:14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Romans 10:17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
1 Corinthians 1:21: For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Faith does not come by baptism, it comes by the word of God.
John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Believing on his name and receiving Him are the same thing. We must not believe that anyone has been saved before he received Jesus. We must not believe that a baptism that preceded receiving Jesus was meaningful. There is no mention in the passage of water baptism.
John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
We must not believe that anyone has become a child of God who has not been born again. Being born again and becoming a child of God are the same thing. They both happen when we receive Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Psalms 55:19b: . . . Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.
We must not believe that anyone has been saved who has not been noticeably changed.
Matthew 7:20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
It is strange and unusual for someone to be saved but not ever remember the event. If anyone believes that he is saved who cannot personally remember it, he had better be bearing unmistakable fruit of the Spirit. As we are busy with our lives we might sometimes forget we are Christians. But receiving Jesus and becoming new creatures are things that we must remember at least occasionally and that we should remember often.
At the baptism of John, he first preached repentance. Then the people were baptized, confessing their sins. Then they were told to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. He told them that Jesus would baptize them in a better way than he did. He said that he also needed to be baptized by Jesus. He told them that they should believe on Jesus. There was a whole lot more involved with John*s baptism than water.
Matthew Chapter 3: Verse 1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. . . . 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. . . . 8: Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: . . . 11: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. . . . 13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Acts 19:4: Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Jesus Himself did not baptize with water.
John 4:1-2: When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
The Apostle Paul thanked God that he did not baptize very many with water. He understood that if baptism was the focus of his ministry people would overestimate the value of his baptism and undervalue the preaching of the cross. He said the preaching of the cross is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:14-18: I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
It takes unique power to become a son (child) of God. Jesus gives that power to as many as receive Him. He does not give it to those that receive him not. Since they have not become the sons of God, they have not been baptized with the Holy Ghost either. There is no mention of water baptism in the passage.
John 1:11-12: He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Being born of water and being born of the Spirit are different. Some believe that being born of water has to do with the water bag being broken at our physical birth. Some believe that being born of water means being born of the human race. Some believe it has to do with water baptism. Whichever of those three things one believes, being born of water without being born of the Spirit is not enough. Being born of the Spirit is an unseen event.
John 3:5-8: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
There was no water baptism for the thief on the cross.
Luke 23:42: And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The Holy Spirit and His work are necessary for salvation.
Romans 8:9: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Jesus promised that He and the Father would send the Holy Ghost.
John 14:26: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 15:26: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
John 16:7: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
There is no mention of water baptism in those passages.
The Holy Spirit will be given to those that ask for Him. It does not say to those that are baptized.
Luke 11:13: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Two or three years passed between John*s baptism and the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 1:5: For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Acts 2:1-4: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
There is no mention of water baptism in those passages.
Galatians 3:2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
The answer is implied, by the hearing of faith. It does not say by baptism.
Acts 8:14-17: Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Some time after they had been baptized, Peter and John prayed for them and laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost.
Philip did not agree to baptize the eunuch in water until after he had heard the preaching about Jesus and believed it.
Acts 8:35-38: Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.