November 20, 2008

Q and A 2.0 Revisited: #13--Age of Accountability

What happens to children who die before they accept Christ?

This is a tough one, because it goes beyond being simply an intellectual question. It’s an emotional question, too.

No doubt, we all know those who have suffered the loss of a baby or young child. We want to be comforting to them, and we also want to be comforted ourselves.

Scripture does not speak to this issue directly, but there are some principles that we can look towards when answering this question about infants and children who do not reach a stage of moral understanding and accountability when it comes to recognizing their need for salvation from their sin.

Dr. Albert Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dr. Danny Akin, the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article that speaks to this issue. You can read the article by clicking on the link.

First, God’s grace, goodness and mercy would suggest that God saves all infants who die.

  • 1 John 4:8—God is love.

  • 1 Timothy 2:4—God desires that all be saved.

  • In speaking of children, Jesus said in Matthew 18:14—“Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”

Secondly, when the infant son of David and Bathsheeba died, David said two things in 2 Samuel 12:15-18: he would see the child again, and he comforted his wife. These show his confidence in the child’s eternity

Thirdly, the Bible makes a distinction between original sin (what we are born with) and actual sin (actively choosing wrong over right). Infants are unable to make this distinction of right and wrong.

Fourth, Jesus said in Luke 18:15-17 that the kingdom of God belongs to little children. This is in reference to our faith being a childlike faith, but it can also be speaking of those who live in heaven.

Fifth, some in Scripture are said to be chosen by God from the womb. The prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:8-2:21), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:15) were all chosen this way.

The one thing we have to remember is that God is righteous, just and good. That means that everything He does is right, just and good. We can always believe and know that God will act to accomplish His purposes, which is the best thing for humans and the universe.

Next, we'll look at what happens to people who commit suicide. Check out all of the Q and A series here.


Brandon Johns said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandon Johns said...

I had to delete the last comment. My wording was confusing...

good stuff. My wife and I actually just had this conversation with a couple in our church the other night. I'm going to print this out and give it to that couple. The wife was very concerned about this (coming from her upbringing that taught against age of accountability- which is a loaded term anyway). I also printed out the article from Mohler and Akin. Leave it to a SBTS guy to quote Mohler. Thanks for this. I'm sure this will help her.