“Baptism has been given to us by God, to help, first, our faith in him, and then our confession of faith before men.
Faith looks at the promise by which the merciful Father offers us communion with his Christ, so that, being clothed with him, we may participate in all that he has.
Baptism particularly REPRESENTS two things: the cleansing we have obtained through Christ’s blood, and the putting to death of our flesh which we have experienced through his death.
The Lord has commanded that his people should be baptised for the remission of sin (Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38). And St Paul teaches that Christ sanctifies by his Word of life, and cleanses by water baptism, the church of which he is the bridegroom (Eph 5:26). St Paul also shows that we are baptised in Christ’s death by being buried in his death with a view to walking in newness of life (Rom 6:4).
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE WATER IS THE CAUSE, OR EVEN THE INSTRUMENT, OF CLEANSING AND REGENERATION, BUT ONLY THAT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THESE GIFTS IS RECEIVED IN THE SACRAMENT…….
…….Since the Lord’s covenant with us is first and foremost confirmed by baptism, we also rightly baptise our children, for they share in the eternal covenant by which the Lord promises that he will not only be our God, but also the God of our descendants (Gen 17:6-8). (Emphases mine to make sure you see it).
From “Truth for all Time” by John Calvin. This book is a resume of the 1st edition of his Institutes; much of it is taken word for word from the Institutes.