Summary: Whenever we preach a sermon at the funeral of an infant or young child the presupposition is that that person's soul is now in heaven. Is that to help the family through their grief or is it the Biblical truth? Let's see if we can find out.
All Baby’s Go to Heaven - Right???
I remember when Isabelle had just gone into the hospital and Jason and Ashton were sitting in the service and we were talking about Neil and Christine and how their unborn baby had died in the womb.
The next day I would be speaking at the funeral for little Jutson Taylor and the mini-sermon was filled with the assumption that Jutson was in heaven with the Lord.
This is not a subject which is explicitly stated in the Bible and once again we have a wide spectrum of beliefs.
On one end of the spectrum we have Dual Predestinationists - everyone, even the unborn are predestined to heaven or hell. No exceptions!
On the other end of the spectrum we have Universalists who say that everyone goes to heaven because God is nothing but a big ball of love so of course all children go to heaven.
What does the Bible say?
Tell the story of the death of the son born to him and Uriah’s wife …
“I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.’”
What did David mean by this?
He went to paradise and I will go there to when I die?
He died and I will die someday, too.
Before we get into this we need to realize that there are two kinds of sin in the Bible - Original Sin and Personal Sin.
Original Sin - Romans 5:12
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
We are all born in sin … we call this original sin
What is the result of sin?
Romans 6:23a says,
“The wages of sin is death …”
So, children born in sin and who die as infants face eternal death just the same as a convicted criminal who dies with rebellion in his heart? Right? Not so fast ...
What do some of our Scriptures on salvation say?
“Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Romans 10:9 (NLT)
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Now, an unborn infant or a baby certainly does not have the capacity to put their faith and trust in Jesus for salvation or to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord or believe in their heart that God has raise Him from the dead, so, how can they be saved?
Remember, we have original sin and personal sin.
The Bible in several passages draws a direct connection between the sin of Adam which brought the curse of original sin into the human race and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross which brought about the forgiveness of sin.
“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
“Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One Man, Jesus Christ!
“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
Look again at Romans 5:18
“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”
OK, so here is what I believe the Scriptures teach.
- Jesus paid the price for original sin
- Children from the point of conception until the age that they realize they are sinning are guilty of original sin but not held accountable for it.
- People who will never have the mental capacity to understand rebellion against God also fall into this category.
- People who never reach the capacity of accountability before the Lord such as infants or those with profound mental deficiencies do go to heaven!