Salvation of Babies CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
What happens to babies if they die before they are old enough to be saved? They go to heaven!
Many people have grown up in churches that baptize babies. They are fearful that if they don’t baptize their own babies, somehow, their children won’t end up in heaven if they die young. This just isn’t true.
Babies and little children are what we call, “safe” until they come to the knowledge of sin and have an understanding of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. As long as God does not charge them with their sins, they are safe from hell.
Some people believe that a child reaches the understanding of salvation and the knowledge of sin at age 12. They call this “the age of accountability.” However, there is no set “age of accountability” when a child is no longer safe. Each child becomes “accountable” when he realizes that he has sinned against God and that the consequences of those sins will wind him up in hell if he dies without Christ. For many, this age is much earlier than 12.
Now you may be asking where the verses are that show that babies are safe. Good question. Let’s take a look.
First of all, God will not hold a child responsible for breaking the law if he doesn’t even know what the law is. Look at Rom. 5:13, “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law.” To impute sin means to charge it to him. Have you ever seen a policeman ticket a child on a tricycle for running a stop sign? Of course not. He’s too young to know what he’s supposed to do.
Another good verse on this is Rom. 4:15. “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” There is effectively no law, and therefore no transgression, for a child until he has “knowledge” of good and evil. Like Deut. 1:39 says about the children who wandered in the wilderness, “your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil…”
You see, there is a time in a child’s life, “before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good,” (Is. 7:16). It’s during this time that the child is safe from punishment for sins that he didn’t know he was committing. Now, he may know the difference between right and wrong but that’s not the same as knowing the difference between good and evil.
Secondly, God will take a child to heaven if he dies before his sins are imputed to him. Look at Luke 18:15-16. Some folks brought “infants” to Jesus and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Babies that have died are in heaven, in the kingdom of God. You ask, “How do you know?” Because, Jesus said so!!
When you check the cross-reference in Mark 10:13-16, you find an interesting thing. There they brought “young children” to Jesus and he said, “of such is the kingdom of God.” So, we see both infants and young children in the kingdom of God. This should be a great comfort to you if you have ever had to bury a child before they could get saved.
Now, what should you do if you aren’t sure whether your child has reached an age at which God will impute their sins to them? Pray for them (1 Sam. 1:27). Take them to church where they can hear the Bible taught and preached (1 Cor. 1:21). Teach them the Bible at home (2 Tim. 1:5, 3:15). Watch for them to become very concerned for their soul’s safety (Heb. 2:3, 9:27, Rev. 20:15).
Furthermore, whatever you do, don’t rush the Holy Spirit. It seems that children need plenty of time to really “get it.” That is, they will be able to come home from church and Sunday school and tell you a lot about salvation. But, generally, it will take them longer to realize that salvation is for them, personally. When they figure this out, they will nearly knock you down to get to Jesus. That’s a good time to lead them to the Lord.