Summary: The recent growth in Calvinistic doctrine & teaching on original sin has reignited the debate on whether children are guilty of sin & where they go if they die. This looks at that & gives 5 reasons why I believe they go to heaven.
DO CHILDREN WHO DIE GO TO HEAVEN?
1. A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.
2. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.
3. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address and, without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.
4. Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a Baptist minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack.
5. The widow decided to check her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted.
6. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
"To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: March 31, 2016
7. I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in.
8. I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
9. P. S. Sure is hot down here!"
1. I have stood in cemeteries with families who’ve lost babies. It’s heart-breaking and as a preacher I often feel like I don’t have the answers for “why.”
2. Often I’ve been asked, “Is my baby in heaven?” I’ve never had to hesitate. It’s such a comfort to know that our babies are safe and that we’ll see them again.
3. Tonight I’d to give you my reasons why I believe that all babies go to heaven.
4. So my message is entitled, “Do Children Who Die Go To Heaven?”
I. BABIES & ORIGINAL SIN
A. QUESTIONABLE BIBLE TEACHING
1. The origin of the “Original Sin” doctrine is usually connected to Romans 5:12, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned."
2. "Original sin" has been defined as "the effect which the sin of Adam has upon us as a precondition of our lives."
3. St. Augustine (354-430), one of the most influential church fathers on Christian doctrine, stated in his treatise, City of God, that "even the infants, not personally in their own life, but according to the common origin of the human race, have all broken God's covenant in that one in whom all have sinned."
4. The idea is that we participated in that first sin, for we were all potentially present in Adam when he transgressed.
(a similar argument to Heb. 7:9, where Levi is said to have paid tithes to Melchizedek because he was in the loins of Abraham).
5. Other verses that seem to teach babies are sinners: David said, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity" (Ps. 51:5). "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies" (Ps. 58:3).
6. If this principle is true, then we are born tainted with the original sin of Adam and even babies can’t escape some guilt.
7. However, some argue that Jesus atoned for Adam’s sin; “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also [Jesus’] one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people” Rom. 5:18.
B. INFANT BAPTISM
1. The teaching of Augustine and Calvin on original sin was a big factor in many old-line churches practicing infant baptism, which was often mistaken with regeneration.
2. Peter taught in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” According to Peter, baptism does no good unless it’s preceded by repentance for sin.
C.HOW DOES THIS SEEM WRONG TO US?
1. What about God’s statement that the sins of the fathers are not imputed to their sons? “Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor children be put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.” 2 Chr. 25:4; 2Kgs. 14:6; Deut. 24:16; Ezek. 18:20. The teaching on original sin seems to contradict God’s explicit statement in these verses.
2. It seems out of character for God to be unjust and sentence a baby to hell who never participated in the commission of even one sin.