Infant Salvation

Topic: For centuries the church has practiced infant baptism, and this practice has existed in the Catholic Church as well as a large segment of Protestant churches (this is one area where the Reformers largely remained in agreement with the Catholic Church).  One of the primary reasons why many Christians traditionally practiced infant baptism was to ensure and secure the eternal destiny of infants if they were to die prior to coming to an age where they might otherwise be able to come to faith (or for some, practice the sacraments of their own volition).  In any case, for those who do not practice infant baptism, there is some debate as to whether or not all infants (and the unborn) go to heaven when they die.  Furthermore, there is little consensus among those who believe that infants go to heaven as to the means by which they are received into heaven.  Are infants who die before reaching an “age of accountability” essentially innocent of sin and therefore guiltless?  Is the atoning work of Christ somehow applied to infants without their making a volitional decision to trust in Christ for salvation?  In this discussion, state and support your view regarding the salvation of infants.  This issue may require some level of research, but appendix issue 7 in the Across the Spectrum textbook may be a good place to get started.

The Bible is not clear on what happens to a child when he or she dies before they have the chance to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We can assume or make educated guesses, but truly, we have to be confident that God is perfect and He will do what is just and right. As we begin, I would like to point out that “sin” is not something that happens when a child recognizes they are living in sin. Sin is inherited through our ancestors, even back to Adam and Eve, and passed on to us from the moment of birth. Psalm 51:5, David says, “Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.”[1]

With that being said, I am reminded of the story of David, his adultery with Bathsheba, and when their child died. 2 Samuel 12:21–23 tells us that “Then his servants said to him, ‘What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.’ He said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”[2] David said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” There is only two ways to understand what David is suggesting. He will join his son in hell, or he will join his son in heaven and with the calmness of David’s tone, it suggests that he will join his son in heaven.

Many can argue or debate age of accountability, but for me, this account of history is enough to conclude that children, who die before they have the chance to believe, will be joined with Christ in heaven.

Bibliography

Press, Biblical Studies. The NET Bible First Edition. 2006.

Society, Wheaton Standard Bible. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001.


[1]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Ps 51:5). Biblical Studies Press.

[2]  Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (2 Sa 12:21–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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About Ohm Punisher

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2 Responses to Infant Salvation

  1. Chad Smith says:

    “Are infants who die before reaching an “age of accountability” essentially innocent of sin and therefore guiltless? Is the atoning work of Christ somehow applied to infants without their making a volitional decision to trust in Christ for salvation? ” Hmmmm that looks really familiar to me. I know where it is from… that was ripped off one of my college assignments. This text is ripped off of from 2 of my college’s required texts as well. Pastor, you did not cite the text books.

    • pastorrobbm says:

      To be absolutely clear I take plagiarism seriously. While the text may look familiar I can assure you that the “topic” was asked of a blackboard assignment that I have completed long ago. Therefore no books was needed to cited. Also, I would like to show I did in fact cite my research in my reply. Thank you for your concern. May God bless.

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