Read: Ephesians 6:1-9
The Reformed Church believes that children of covenant parents belong to the Christian Church. This is one of the reasons for the practice of infant baptism in the Reformed Church. The meaning of this is not merely that their names are found on the rolls of the Reformed Church but that they are really and spiritually part of the church of Jesus Christ. No one is ever included in the church except by God Himself. God includes covenant children in His church. They must be given special instruction by the church and they must be recognized and treated by the church as true members of God’s church.
That children are part of the church is evident from the fact that children are at times even directly mentioned. They are pointed to their Christian calling. The passage from Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus that we asked you to read before reading this meditation is an example of this. When the letters of the apostles were read in the apostolic churches, children were there as part of the worship services.
So the Reformed Church does not exclude children. She does not treat them as though they are not, and even cannot be truly children of God, because they are not yet old enough to understand the truth and confess faith in Jesus Christ.
In most cases, children of covenant parents are regenerated in their infancy. The Psalms speaks of God knowing His people from their mothers’ womb. See Psa 71:6, and 139:14-16. There are examples of the same teaching in the Old Testament prophets. See Isa 46:3 and Jer 1:5. This same truth was spoken of in connection with the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist. Luke 1:15
‘Covenant children’ is the name which Reformed believers love to call their children. Because these children are covenant children, they are distinguished from the world. They are regarded as being very precious in the church. They are not little devils, as one theologian characterized them, or even unregenerate unbelievers, as others assume.
One of God’s purposes for Christian marriage is the purpose of bringing forth covenant children. This is one of the many reasons why marrying in the Lord is so very important. In the Old Testament days, the patriarchs were very concerned that their children married God-fearing partners and fellow members of the covenant nation. They would even go to great lengths to see that this would happen, such as when Abraham went to great lengths to find a God-fearing wife for his son Isaac. The prophet Malachi admonished men in Israel not to deal treacherously with the wives of their youth whom the Lord had given to them. They must not put away their covenant wives. It is the Lord’s purpose in marriage that a godly seed should be brought forth. Mal 2:16.
In I Cor 7:14 Paul states that a godly woman is not to put away her unbelieving husband for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and even if only one of the partners in marriage is a believer, yet the children are holy.
The truth that is the basis for the practice of infant baptism is a very significant one. It impresses on a believing and God-fearing couple the urgency for them to devote themselves to the important task of raising their covenant children in the fear of the Lord. An important part of this task is raising our covenant children to know their place in the church and to have proper love for the church. When the Word of God is being preached in the church, it is also addressed to them and they must be taught to listen carefully to it.