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October 8, 2009

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  • Infants and Judgment

Infants and Judgment?

Recently there have again been several passing mentions of children of unsaved parents being under judgment. So then there were some arguments raised in private e-mails (which will not be posted this time), which it would do us well to address. This topic has been covered at length on several other occasions, and are posted throughout the website. This link is a good starting point, and in turn, contains links to other related files: " Babies who Die: Saved/Lost?"

One thing we need to have clear in our minds is the difference between FACTS vs WISHES - SCRIPTURE vs EMOTIONS. If we consider the "few" who are on the way to Life, and the "many" along the path to destruction (Mt7:13-14), and then translate that understanding to our own families from whence we come, we come to the inevitable conclusion that -many- of our own flesh-and-blood relatives will NOT be joining us in God's presence in Eternal Life. Our heart yearns for them in their lostness. We may shed tears of sorrow over them. There might be the desire, "If only I could get one of the parents (my child) to Get Saved, then their children (my grandkids) will be safe."

And as I say periodically, there is nothing I address with conviction from these pages, but what I have not also experienced it first-hand, first. My own parents, who were missionaries, I seriously question. In recent years some relatives gave me some (keepsake) letters that one of them had written when younger, and these letters were supposed to indicate what a "strong Christian" this person had been at high school and college age. But when I read the letters, my heart sank. I recognized immediately the apostasy, which further 'fit' with my own memories of when they were still alive. And so, if (if)(the Lord knows 2Tim2:19) neither of them were True Believers, then what of my baby sister who died at 5 weeks of SIDS? When these things firmly 'hit' my understanding a few years ago, I still remember how there was this week or so of deep sorrow and a sense of foreboding...almost to the edge of incapacitation for anything else in daily life; I puttered around at work and daily chores like a zombie. Ultimately the Lord gave His peace with -understanding- (Php4:7) that: Whatever the situation was with them... It's in His hands... "Even so, Amen!" (Rev1:7b)

And so, I -understand- and empathize when a person writes about their own relatives for whom their heart yearns deeply.

But one thing we CANNOT and MUST NOT do is to 'stretch' the Scriptures in the futile hope that there might be some sort of 'accommodation' or perhaps 'exemption' in Scripture for those relative children and babies, if we can, just, 'understand' passages in a "certain way". As though our understanding might have power to dictate Truth. As though: Because we believe it earnestly, therefore it is so.

So, with that as introduction, let's look at a couple of passages and their 'stretched' arguments...

"Who is greater in the kingdom of Heaven?" And Jesus pulls over a little child and speaks of the "humility" (like a child) that is necessary for salvation. (vs4) And so, many people take this passage to teach that 'little children go to Heaven'.

But Jesus did not say that. He spoke of being "as" a child. He spoke of a (generic) child "like this", He was not saying that that particular child he was holding that day was going to Heaven. He was using children as an -example- of saving "humility" and faith, just as He used mustard seeds, fish, virgins waiting for a wedding, building houses on the sand/rock as examples of various things.

But that God has a yearning for children is expressed when Jesus speaks of someone causing little ones to sin or stumble. (vs6) But also notice that He qualifies with the phrase, "who believe in Me". It is not the fact of -being- a child that gets one to Heaven. It is what has often been coined "childlike -faith-".

    "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks, for stumbling blocks must come; but woe to that man by whom the stumbling block comes!" (vs6-7)
Jesus loves the little children and desires their salvation, but He also pronounced that there -are- stumbling blocks which cause children to sin. That's a fact of life. Thus, just as He also taught that those with the greater sin receive more stripes (Lk12:47-48), the parents are more culpable than the children. Children/babies are "conceived', from conception they are in sin (Ps51:5), and the "wages of sin is death" (Rom6:23)

Jonah 4:11
    "and should I not have pity on Nineveh, the great city in which are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between the right and the left hand, and many cattle?"
See? Those who cannot discern between right and left...or: good and bad. Children and babies. God says here that little children go to Heaven.

No, He didn't!

What are the facts of this case? Nineveh -repented- at Jonah's preaching. Jonah was in a pout because he wanted to see the place zapped with God's wrath. But they repented, and God spared. Thus... taking the argument to its full conclusion... if Nineveh had NOT repented, God would have destroyed it... -INCLUDING- those too young to know between right and wrong. This is God trying to reason with Jonah. Does Jonah not have any compassion of his own?

And if we were to take the logic to the full, would you then say that livestock and animals would also go to Heaven if they were "saved"? God says, "and many cattle" Since Nineveh repented, the children were spared, so they could grow up, and even if their parents were not believers, when they grew up, they could make their own choice for Life or Death.

However...if infants automatically go to Heaven, why would God have cared? So, Nineveh gets zapped, and the babies all die... THEY'RE IN HEAVEN... BIG DEAL... They got to Heaven -earlier- than if they had grown up and lived a full life... if it is the case that babies of unsaved parents go to Heaven.

But God uses this argument with Jonah -because- infants DO NOT GO TO HEAVEN when they are from pagan parentage.

Abraham pleads with God:

    "Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Ge18:24-25)
Sodom -was- destroyed....-AND- all the children. Abraham was pulling on God's heart strings....I suspect, thinking about Lot and his family. But according to Abraham's argument, God did NOT slay the righteous with the wicked.... He sent the angels to remove the righteous before destroying the place. (Ge19:22) And among those removed, there were no children. Whatever children were in the place were children of the wicked. They were destroyed along with the adults. This is not really an argument for children going to Heaven, as much as it is for the pre-trib Rapture of the Church.

Or, what about...
    "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Mt7:9-11)
See, just like parents give good things to their children, so does God; therefore, babies and young children go to (good) Heaven. Well, no. These verses are not even related to the discussion. It is talking about something entirely different. The wicked are NOT 'asking' God, nor are their children. The wicked are in rebellion against God.

Let's review again: Some struggle with the clear words of Scripture, and try to spin different meanings.
    "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be -UNCLEAN-, but now they are -HOLY-." (1Co7:14)
From Paul the pharisee who was intimate with the Law, "unclean" here is a "ceremonial" word. If a non-Jew wished to partake of the Passover, a yearly ritual of the remembrance of Salvation, they needed to be circumcised. They needed to partake the -ceremony- of the ritual. Everything in the OT Law was about the Clean vs the Unclean. Anybody who partook of things unclean was "cut off" from the people. (Gen17:14, Ex12:15, etc) Cut off meaning Death. Thus, an infant of unbelievers, being "unclean", is "cut off" from God.

But when one parent is a Believer the children are "holy". The same word Paul uses to identify Believers; those "called -saints-" (Rom1:7, 1Co1:2) They are the "beloved of God", "sanctified (made holy) in Christ Jesus". Christians. By definition, headed to Heaven. By the one parent's holiness the child, at that young age, is ritually pure before God... thus, they are qualified to "stand in His holy place" (Ps24:3-4)


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