Thursday, November 17, 2005what saith the Scriptures???
As I insinuated in my last post, I have come to believe that infants who die go straight to Heaven. I use to believe one couldn't know their eternal destination, but I've changed my mind. What changed my mind? The Bible, of course.
First, we need to answer a couple of background questions:
1- Why wouldn't babies be condemned? Are they not sinners?
Infants, like children, teenagers and adults ARE sinners. The Bible make this clear in no uncertain terms. We are sinners by BIRTH and CHOICE.
"Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." (Job 14:4)
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5)
"The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." (Psalm 58:3)
So, as sinners who have not, or rather, cannot repent and believe on the Gospel, why wouldn't infants be condemned? Well, because God, in the Bible, declares these same infants, innocent:
"Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had NO KNOWLEDGE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it." (Deuteronomy 1:39)
"Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of INNOCENTS." (Jeremiah 19:4)
"And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than SIXSCORE THOUSAND PERSONS THAT CANNOT DISCERN BETWEEN THEIR RIGHT AND THEIR LEFT HAND; and also much cattle?" (Jonah 4:11)
Now how can this be? How can the Bible say that an infant is a sinner on the one hand, and then say that they are innocent? Is this a contradiction? As much as the wicked who read this blog would love for it to be so, there are no contradictions in the Bible.
While infants DO sin, and are therefore sinners, their sin is committed without understanding. This lack of understanding right from wrong is why it is said that they cannot "discern their right hand from their left"; it is why they are innocent. Here's an example of this: my little girl occasionally runs around the house naked. She has absolutely no concept of modesty; she is innocent. That isn't saying she doesn't sin (LOL... no way I'm saying that!), but she has little or no understanding.
Therefore infants, being innocent, hardly make good candidates for eternal condemnation. Actually, when you consider Revelation 20:12-13, it is clear that the people who are condemned are condemned for their willful practices/actions; nowhere in Scripture do we read of someone/anyone being condemned for original sin (Adam's sin). Rather they are condemned for their own willful rebellion.
2- How are infants saved, if not by repentance and faith?
Of course, infants are not saved by repentance of sin and faith in Christ, since... well, they don't get it! So how are they then saved?
By grace, of course! I believe John MacArthur, in this case, puts it perfectly:
"They (infants) are saved through the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ--His death for them--because He bore the wrath of God for them as for all who could and would believe. They are saved then by grace, by sovereign grace. The only difference between their salvation and ours is faith is a part of ours... It's not a part of theirs. But then again, faith is something we contribute; faith is gift from God. So they are saved by grace in sovereign election so that the work of Christ is freely applied to them. Ours is justification by faith; theirs is justification without faith because without the knowledge and ability to understand convincingly sin and salvation, they cannot exercise that faith."
So, we've seen that though infants are born in sin (and therefore by nature are objects of wrath - Ephesians 2:3), they are declared innocent by God because of their lack of understanding. We have also seen the mode by which they would be saved, that is the electing, sovereign grace of God. What we haven't seen is specific verses that has caused me to come to the conclusion that all infants are indeed chosen of God unto salvation.
Stay tuned... those passages and my thoughts on them are coming up in Part III.