Are all babies saved?
Question: What do you believe happens to babies when they die?
Answer: Your concern prompted me to look up some scriptures I have pondered over the years. I have always thought it sounded nice and comforting to believe that all little children are saved--but I don't see a biblical basis for it. Could the church be trying to defend God's character by distorting His truth?
The following scriptures seem to show that when one or both parents know and trust God, their family is sanctified. Their babies and small children would be covered by God's special grace until they are old enough to recognize sin and make a personal decision to receive God's gift of eternal life. Though salvation is only by faith, it seems that God honors the faith of believing parents. That view is consistent with whole Bible, which places a great deal of importance on the responsibility of God's families to raise children who are set apart from all the rest to love and serve God.
God's process of sanctification seems to coincide both in Old and New Testament with some kind of consecration on the part of the believer. Old Testament priests washed or consecrated themselves before entering the temple. Christian parents dedicate or baptize their children. It seems consistent to assume that newborn babies who are received with thanks to God--and with faith that He will guide them according to His purpose--would be dedicated to God from the beginning. The grace God extends to believing parents would then include children up to the age of accountability. As always, salvation is granted in response to faith in God's provision--in this case, the parents' faith.
I don't see a basis for believing that such sanctifying grace extends to unbelieving families, which are not covered by His grace nor sanctified through the blood of Christ--or, in Old Testament days, through the sacrifices God prescribed. That sounds hard, especially in the light of today's politically correct and all-inclusive tolerance. It probably did in New Testament times too. But Jesus never cushioned nor apologized for truth. He just invited everyone to come and receive. When nations, families, or parents refuse, the people face terrible eternal consequences. That's why we must all be living messengers of His saving love.
In light of the following scriptures, what do you think?
Babies are born with sin nature, unredeemed
Psalm 51:5. "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."
Psalm 58:3. "Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies".
Romans 3:22-23. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
Romans 6:22-23. "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Special grace for babies in sanctified families
(Only the first of these has clear application to our discussion. The others show how much God honors families that love Him--including their offsprings or descendants.)
1 Corinthians 7:14. "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."
Ezekiel 37:25. "They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever." (Since this refers to eternity, I assume it's after the resurrection of the saved, but it doesn't specifically address babies that died.)
Romans 4:16. "...the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring -- not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all."
Isaiah 44:3. "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
No special grace for the offspring of unbelievers:
Psalm 37:28. "For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off...."
Psalm 37:38. "But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off."
Isaiah 14:20. "...you have destroyed your land and killed your people. The offspring of the wicked will never be mentioned again."
Isaiah 14:22. "'I will rise up against them,' declares the LORD Almighty. 'I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors, her offspring and descendants,' declares the LORD."
Hosea 2:4. "I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery."
Malachi 2:15. "Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
Young children (not babies) must come to Him
Luke 18:16. "But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
God may provide special grace for a child in unbelieving family
Jeroboam's family had turned from God to idols, but God saw the difference in one son:
1 Kings 14:13. "He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the LORD, the God of Israel, has found anything good."
Home Index Persecution Eternity What it means to be a Christian