Why I believe children who die go to heaven
    November 3 2015 by Danny Akin, Guest Column

    Few things in life are more tragic than the death of a small child. There is no way to prepare for it, and there is no “getting over” it. It is a pain that lingers. Many console themselves with the thought that at least the child is now in a better place, but empty sentimentalism and emotional hopes are not sufficient. We must, if possible, find out what God has said.
    Though scripture may not speak to this issue directly, I believe that there are at least five good reasons biblically and theologically for believing that God saves all who die before having reached a stage of moral understanding and accountability.
    First, the grace, goodness and mercy of God provide the strongest argument and perhaps the decisive one. God is love (1 John 4:8) and desires that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). His concern for children is evident in Matthew 18:14 where Jesus says, “Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”
    Second, when the child born to David and Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:15-24), David confessed his confidence that he would see the child again and comforted his wife Bathsheba. These actions only make sense if he was confident that his little son was with God.
    Third, the scriptures make a distinction between original sin (Romans 5:12) and actual (or volitional) sins. While all are guilty of original sin, moral responsibility and understanding is necessary for our being accountable for actual sins (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:16; James 4:17; Revelation 20:11-15). Infants are incapable of such decisions. People go to hell because they choose in willful rebellion and unbelief to reject God and His grace. Where such rebellion and willful disobedience is absent, God is gracious to receive.
    Fourth, Jesus affirmed that the kingdom of God belonged to little children (Luke 18:15-17). In the passage he is stating that saving faith is a childlike faith, but He also seems to be affirming the reality of children populating heaven.
    Fifth, scripture affirms that the number of saved souls is very great (Revelation 7:9). Since most of the world has been and is still non-Christian, might it be that the untold multitude who have died prematurely or in infancy are among that number?
    It is important for us to remember that anyone who is saved is saved because of the grace of God and the saving work of Jesus Christ. Like all who have ever lived (except Jesus), infants need to be saved. Only Jesus can take away their sin, and if they are saved it is because of His abounding grace and mercy. When it comes to those incapable of volitional, willful acts of sin, we can rest assured God will, indeed, do right (Genesis 18:25). Precious little ones are the objects of His saving mercy and grace.
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – This article first appeared at danielakin.com. This is the first in a series of columns highlighting perspectives from Southern Baptists about various topics relating to doctrine. It will appear regularly in the print publication and online and is called “Baptist Perspectives: Understaning Your Faith.”)

    11/3/2015 11:03:25 AM by Danny Akin, Guest Column | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Daniel Akin, infant death, theology

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