Do all infants go to heaven if they die?
(Do aborted babies go to heaven when they die?)
(What about an "Age of Accountability?")

If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked the question, "Do all infants go to heaven, when they die?" or "Do all aborted babies go to heaven?" I'd be a thousandaire by now (ask me in another 20 years and I might say millionaire). Everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject but very few have a Biblical perspective or position. That's not to say that many of these individuals can't throw out a verse here or there, but this is a far cry from having a biblical understanding. Pulling a verse from context and using it to say something unsupported by that context or by the totality of Scriptures is a misuse of Scriptures. Unfortunately, regarding emotional and personal issues such as this, even individuals who would normally provide proper exegesis of Scriptures will sometimes slip into grasping at passages to defend what they want Scriptures to say in this regards.

Romans 11:35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" (NIV)

A friend of mine has an expression for what has infected the church of today: the ESSIES (Exaggerated Sense of Self Importance). In this view, people are the most important thing to God, so important that God virtually takes a back seat to the "rights" of man. According to those holding these beliefs, (implicitly or explicitly) God has abdicated his Sovereignty to the will of man or the professed innate rights of man.

Job 41:11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. (NIV)

One innate right of humankind is held to stem from our very existence: Since we exist, we have a right to exist. This has translated into the belief that we alone are masters of our spiritual destiny, not only that God has to give everyone a chance for salvation, but that everyone has the innate ability within themselves to choose right or to overrule the will of God with their rejection.

Psalms 33:11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (NIV)

The spiritual state of mankind is a primary issue that must be understood. The Bible is clear that following after our first parents, Adam and Eve, all their descendants have been born into sin. Spiritually dead, our natural inclination is to sin, to choose the wrong, to seek after anything but God. In fact, apart from God's common (restraining) grace, the whole human race would be as evil as it could be, all the time.

Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (NIV)

We who are dead in sins have to be made alive, or regenerated, to be able to make "alive" decisions. Left alone we will always make "dead" decisions. Scriptures is clear that it is God who chooses to raise to life. It is His decision alone who He chooses. Upon making them alive in Christ and enabling them to see the truth, all these now willingly embrace Him as their Lord and Savior.

John 5:21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. (NIV)

Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. (NIV)

This makes salvation completely of God, by God, and for God, to His praise and glory alone. No merit or innate goodness can ever be in view as dead men don't have any life left! Ezekiel chapter 37 visually portrays the regeneration necessary in salvation perhaps better than any other passage.

Ezekiel 37:1-10 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know." 4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.' 5 "Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6'I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.'" 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'" 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (NASU)

Notice that God's word was preached to whom He wanted it preached. God having chosen then made the bones alive (dead men don't ask to be made alive). Once alive they were strengthened and prepared for service (and alive men don't ask to be dead again, having been raised to life!).

1 John 3:14a We know that we have passed from death to life... (NIV)

The bottom line is that dead (or corrupt) things don't go to heaven. Only Someone greater than those who are dead can make them alive once having chosen to do so. To live forever in eternity, even our bodies have to be regenerated to match our spiritual state as believers.

1 Corinthians 15:50-54 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." (NIV)

Since regeneration (being made alive) is necessary for any human being to go to heaven, some questions arise concerning infants (and subsequently young children).

  1. Is there some reason they would not need regeneration?

  2. Are they regenerated?

  3. If they are regenerated, how did this happen?

Before answering these questions, we must consider the most quoted passage offered in support of the idea that all infants go to heaven.

2 Samuel 12:13-23 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die." 15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate." 19 David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied, "he is dead." 20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. 21 His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!" 22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (NIV)

Because God declared David righteous (a man after his own heart, 1 Samuel 13:14), his salvation and eternal destiny is clear. Some then take David's words that He would go to his dead son as proof that this son was in heaven. This is not as clear from the text as some make it out to be. In fact, throughout the Old Testament, general statements regarding "resting with one's fathers" or going to the grave abound. Even the unrighteous are said to rest with their fathers, meaning that they both ended up in the grave. No one (I hope!) tries to misuse those passages to say that the unrighteous would be with the righteous in heaven. For example consider Ahaz (who was wicked) and his son Hezekiah (who was righteous)...

2 Kings 16:2-4 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God. 3 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. ...

2 Kings 16:20 Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. And Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king. ...

2 Kings 18:1-3 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. ...

2 Kings 20:20-21 Hezekiah rested with his fathers. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king. (NIV)

David's words regarding his son could equally be taken, in their general sense, to mean that he would be going to the grave where his son was. This is reasonable as it follows David's question "Can I bring him back [to life] again?" It is not valid to build an entire doctrine around this one passage without other supporting and definitive passages.

If the account regarding David could be taken to support that his child was in heaven, the account does nothing towards answering the questions regarding regeneration that we left unanswered earlier.

In this regards, David clearly understood mankind's natural condition, so he certainly understood that it couldn't be any innate goodness in himself, his son, or anyone else that would enable (or cause) God to save him. Considering himself, David said this...

Psalms 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (NIV)

Psalms 58:3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. (NIV)

Understanding that scripturally (as well as medically) that life begins at conception, David's words that He was sinful from the time of his conception are right to the point. Herein, no one can claim that an infant is not sinful (born or unborn). As for all wicked going astray from birth, we've already seen that Scriptures declares each of us wicked (not doing right) prior to regeneration. It keeps coming back to regeneration. If there's even a chance that David's son went to heaven, the question has to be, "How was he regenerated?" as it is obvious that he was in need of it as one who was sinful.

Some would protest here that God would not put someone spiritually to death for the sins of their father, perhaps citing this principle in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 24:16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin. (NIV)

Consider that God did put to death David's son for the sin of his father, so obviously this precept of the law was in regards to governmental punishment and not to divine justice. The better passage that would pertain to this matter is instead found in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 18:20a The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. (NIV)

While we have all inherited Adam's sin (Romans 5:12), we are not put to death (spiritually) for his sin. We are accountable for our own sin, the sin that infects our mind and being from the very beginning, the sin that David clearly said we all have while still in our mother's womb.

Some have tried to misuse other passages to say that infants are spiritually innocent. For example:

Jeremiah 2:34 On your clothes men find the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. (NIV) [It's a stretch to say this was only in regards to infants too!]

Jeremiah 19:4-5 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. (NIV)

In both cases above, the term innocent is being used to describe those not legally deserving of death. Specifically, they were innocent of any crime where God had mandated capital punishment. This innocence cannot be stretched to saying that they were sinless, in opposition to all other Scriptures. In regards to sin, no one is innocent. Even infants, though naïve, they are in no way innocent of sin.

Seeing that an infant would need to be regenerated to go to heaven, does God regenerate infants? While there is little in Scriptures that would definitively say so, on the basis of a few passages I believe we can answer "yes!"

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (NIV) [The Hebrew word translated as "set you apart" can also be translated "sanctify", equally conveying the idea, and in other places used, of being declared holy or being declared clean versus unclean)]

1 Kings 14:10-13 "'Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel - slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. 11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!' 12 "As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. 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. (NIV) [Notice that God found something good in this young child. As we have already seen, we have nothing good in us apart from that which is given us by God. As one given grace by God, it was good that God took his earthly life to spare him from the judgment about to be poured out on his family]

Luke 1:15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb. (NASU) [This passage, regarding John the Baptist, is perhaps the clearest indication of regeneration while in the womb - complete with the filling presence of the Holy Spirit!]

What these passages do not do: (1) they do not declare or imply that this is the normative; rather they merely say that it's possible. (2) They don't constitute a guarantee that God will save any infant or child, and (3) they do not show any innate merit in the child that would demand that God must save them.

Understand that Scriptures reveals God's sovereignty over all and acknowledges that God chooses whom He will...

John 6:37-40 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (NIV)

John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (NIV)

Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (NIV) [Jesus came to save His people from their sins, something that He accomplished 100%]

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (NIV) [Again, Jesus loved the church - past, present and future - and gave Himself for the church with a specific purpose to make her holy.]

... God accomplishes completely all He has purposed to do,...

Isaiah 14:24 The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. (NIV)

Psalms 33:11-12 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. (NIV) [It is God's unchanging plan that the people He chose for his inheritance will be blessed in Him!]

Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will (NIV)

... and God gives the gift of saving faith (apart from any works or merit of the recipient.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

John 1:12-13 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (NIV)

Since it is clear that salvation is all about God, from beginning to end, it is clear that God has every right to save whom He will, including an infant or even someone with a severe mental defect.

But, be very clear on this, there is no guarantee or something in the child that demands it of God. If anything in us could place a demand on God it would make salvation no longer a gift (or by grace), rather it would be an obligation.

Romans 11:34-36 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (NIV)

Job 41:11 Who has a claim against me [God] that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. (NIV)

The perfect assurance we have for any parent is that God is good, and everything He does is good... We must rest fully in His goodness! The Judge of all the earth always does right (cf Gen 18:25)... in mercy and grace or even in judgment.

Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (NIV) [Every human being that has ever existed has experienced God's compassion in some manner. But again, this does not obligate God to show compassion to the same degree to all of His creation, rather it is as He sees fit].

One passage that is often used to say that God has chosen all children is as follows:

Mark 10:13-15 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (NIV)

Consider what Jesus was saying to the people in this brief encounter. Beyond implying that childlike faith was necessary for them to believe in Him, Jesus was showing them that it was necessary someone bring them to Him, even as the Father draws us to His Son. The "such as these" in the passage cannot be stretched to say that all children are saved. Clearly, following the context of a few verses earlier in Mark, the focus was on children who believe.

Mark 9:36-37, 42 He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." ... 42 "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. (NIV)

Some believe that all who die in infancy are automatically among the elect (i.e. God chose all of them). While a potentially comforting thought, the question still remains whether or not it can be supported with good Biblical exegesis. The best sounding quotation I could find regarding this matter, primarily because it does at least appeal to Scriptures for support, is as follows...

What, then is our basis for claiming that all those who die in infancy are among the elect? First, the Bible teaches that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed "in the body."(2) That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of original sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer "according to what he has done,"(3) and not for the sin of Adam. The imputation of Adam's sin and guilt explains our inability to respond to God without regeneration, but the Bible does not teach that we will answer for Adam's sin. We will answer for our own. But what about infants? Have those who die in infancy committed such sins in the body? We believe not.

One biblical text is particularly helpful at this point. After the children of Israel rebelled against God in the wilderness, God sentenced that generation to die in the wilderness after forty years of wandering. "Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers."(4) But this was not all. God specifically exempted young children and infants from this sentence, and even explained why He did so: "Moreover, your little ones who you said would become prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good and evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it."(5) The key issue here is that God specifically exempted from the judgment those who "have no knowledge of good or evil" because of their age. These "little ones" would inherit the Promised Land, and would not be judged on the basis of their fathers' sins.

We believe that this passage bears directly on the issue of infant salvation, and that the accomplished work of Christ has removed the stain of original sin from those who die in infancy. Knowing neither good nor evil, these young children are incapable of committing sins in the body - are not yet moral agents - and die secure in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. [R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary]

Pertinent footnote references to this quotation: (2) 2 Corinthians 5:10, (3) Ibid, (4) Deuteronomy 1:35, (5) Deuteronomy 1:3

Albert Mohler's idea certainly sounds good, until it is examined more closely. Even if we move past the concept implicit in it that all people need a second fall to be guilty before a Holy God - something not found in Scriptures - there are many other clear contradictions to Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (NIV)

Mohler cannot randomly choose to ignore the death that we all inherited from Adam, something that is very clearly taught in Scriptures. His application of a physical example from the Old Testament to support a spiritual premise must be clearly supportable by other passages - not to mention the totality of the Old Testament account itself. Here's where his good-sounding argument falls apart. Consider his key passage again...

Deuteronomy 1:35-39 "Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly." 37 Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, "You shall not enter it, either. 38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. 39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad - they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. (NIV)

Now fill in some details regarding this event that Mohler has chosen, willfully or out of ignorance, to ignore...

Numbers 14:29-32 In this desert your bodies will fall - every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But you - your bodies will fall in this desert. (NIV)

If a person can claim that this occurrence provides spiritual proof that God doesn't count sin again infants, enabling them to spiritually enter into His rest, then you would have to say that the same applies to everyone up to the age of 20. Now that's an incredible age of accountability! And one that no one tries to claim. In reality, all this Old Testament passages shows is that God had mercy on all He wanted to have mercy, which included the young children and infants.

The usage of phraseology of not knowing good from bad, which appears in a few other Bible passages as well, is not meant to be a technical description of spiritual ability. For example, two other occurrences...

Jonah 4:11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

Isaiah 7:14-16 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

All these are loosely descriptive terms commonly applied to infants, or very young children, in much the same way as we describe them as being "innocent." As the passage in Jonah implies, the young children are much like livestock acting only on fallen human instinct, having not yet learned to mentally understand what's good and bad.

Mohlers' usage of passages, about sins committed "in the body", are equally invalid. As every pro-life advocate will tell you, biblically life "in the body" begins at conception. The "me first" attitude that is the heart of rebellion, not to mention the ability to lie, are present right from the very beginning. While they may not understand it, inadvertent sin and sin of omission is still sin committed in the body. This is the very reason that sacrifice was required, under the law, for more than willful sins alone.

Leviticus 4:27 "'If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD's commands, he is guilty. (NIV)

The entire idea that infants and young children are held guiltless, or automatically elect, by God raises a dangerous proposition. For example, consider the case of the Apostle Paul, who said...

Romans 9:3-4 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. (NIV)

If Paul knew all infants to automatically be elect, wouldn't the way to fulfill his expressed desire be to murder every Israeli child as an infant and thus assure their eternal state? Or take it to the next step - evangelism by abortion (heaven forbid!).

Could all infants be elect? Possibly, but I don't think it can be proven definitively from Scriptures. Maybe God wanted it that way so that someone wouldn't decide to act on the proposition I raised concerning Paul.

The whole idea of an "age of accountability" is an extra-biblical, non-provable concept, used to express the wish that all infants and young children have a different standard. It is safe to say that those who reject or minimize God's sovereignty in salvation are the chief proponents of this belief. They need to. If salvation is all about man, as it's now made to be, then people need an age of accountability to buy time to give them the universal "choice" that they demand God must give to everyone. As we have already seen from Scriptures, by nature we could all have unlimited choices and, apart from God intervening, we would always make the wrong choice. Therefore it still comes down to being all about God and His choices.

Ecclesiastes 3:11b He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (NIV)

As an aside: Rather than an age of accountability, I do believe that there is an age of eternity awakening. This is the point where a person understands that there is something beyond them, something beyond the here and now. It is at this point that we can mentally respond to God. Left to ourselves this knowledge is useless as we will seek to satisfy this understanding with false gods (including self; consider Romans 3:11 again). But for the elect, God uses this knowledge as part of what draws us to Him; having been made alive and capable of now choosing the right. I believe this eternity awakening can happen at a very young age. As such, none of this pertains to the issue of infant salvation or an age of accountability. It still remains that for an infant or mentally infirm person, God would have to step beyond the norm given in Scriptures, having regenerated and given the gift of faith, to not need the mental assent and outward confession that would normally follow.

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (NIV)

Many others have wrestled with this in the past, knowing of God's sovereignty and His perfect goodness, yet also knowing that they could not go beyond what is written. I have to agree, wholeheartedly, with the conclusion of the writers of these two great confessions of faith in this regards.

Westminster Confession of Faith (1646): Elect infants, dying in infance, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689): Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. The provided Scripture reference for this section, which emphasizes that God does what He pleases, is...

John 3:3, 5-6, 8 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." ... 5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. ... 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (NIV)

Isn't it great to know that our God is sovereign over all, and that He chooses, and that He is good?!

Psalms 135:3-6 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. 4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession. 5 I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. 6 The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. (NIV)

End Note: Some have tried to make Baptism the means of regeneration for infants or young children, thereby making their salvation the result of the will of man, or a father, in complete opposition to John 1:12-13. Beyond the Roman Catholic error in this regards, the Protestant misuse of what is called "covenantal theology" could be an article of its own.

(c) 2005 Brent J. MacDonald, Lion Tracks Ministries
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as long as the source is cited.