By Patrick Hawthorne
Before I launch into the meat of this post, I must first apologize for its length. Knowing how I tend to become glossy eyed when it comes to reading long posts, I try to keep my posts reasonably short. Secondly, I want to make clear that my intent is to approach this matter in a respectful, non-confrontational manner. My intent is to try and bring a satisfactory answer to the question, “Do all babies who die go to heaven?”
Those who might suggest that there is a possibility that some babies who die go to hell often cite the fact that God is a God of Justice and that every man inherits the sin nature of Adam. They assert that if a baby dies it is left up to our sovereign God to decide if the baby was of the elect or was not. A commonly used verse to back this argument is Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death…” However, most using this argument tend to leave off the latter portion of this verse which states, “… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Another commonly used verse is Romans 3:23, “..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Once again, many leave off the remainder which is, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. What is even more disheartening is that many tend to completely ignore verse 25 which states that Jesus became the propitiation – the atonement / the satisfaction – for the sin requirement upon us.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NKJV bold/underline mine)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-25 NKJV bold/underline mine)
Based off these verses – and there are more that I could use such as Colossians 2:13-14 – we can see that Jesus removed the sin issue from the equation for all of mankind, including babies. It is not the sin that sends one to hell but not accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior…Lord over our lives ans Savior from sins death penalty. It is through faith in God’s grace that we are saved (Eph 2:8-9). Jesus is the grace of God that brings salvation. (Titus 2:11-12; Romans 4:16)
“Ok,” some would argue, “If Jesus atoned for the sins of mankind through faith, how can a baby have faith?”
The answer is, “They can not. However, they don’t need to either. This is because they are members of the covenant agreement that was made thousands of years ago between God and Abraham.”
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:16 NIV underline/bold mine)
In Genesis 15 we are told of the blood covenant being made between God and Abraham. For the covenant, God instructed Abraham to find and kill a heifer, a ram, a goat, a dove, and a pigeon. Abraham was then to cut the animals in half (except the birds) and lay the pieces in two rows, leaving a path through the center for the covenant partners to walk.
To understand the severity of a blood covenant it is important to understand that it was not something that one would want to break. The consequences for violating the terms of the covenant contained a self-maledictory oath between two parties that communicated, “May this – the cutting in half of my body – be done to me if I do not keep my oath.”
There are nine steps to the Hebrew blood covenant. For the sake of space, I will not go into all the nine steps but will list the two that are relevant to our subject.
Trading of Belt: This exchange signifies the exchange of strength. By exchanging belts we are professing, “All my strength now belongs to you and yours to me. Your enemies are now my enemies and my enemies are now your enemies. Your friends are now my friends and my friends are now your friends.” We know this to be true because Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that they hated me first.” (Matt 15:18 NIV)
Trading of Names: In this step each participant takes the others name to himself. The persons name represents his individuality. This is very important because the exchange of names demonstrates a death to self of the “individual”. For example, Abram took on part of the name of Jehovah by changing his name to Abraham.
It must be understood that once a blood covenant is entered into, the concern is no longer for self but now includes the covenant partner. This includes taking care of the family of the covenant partner UNTIL they are of the age to make the decision to continue with the terms of the blood covenant or to opt out. While there is no penalty for a family member to opt out of the covenant, they also lose all rights and benefits associated with the covenant.
This is the same with us. We either accept Jesus as our Lord – as is part of the covenant term made between God and Abraham – or we chose to go our separate ways. However, should we choose to not accept the covenant terms, we forfeit the benefits of salvation.
Now, let’s see the covenant terms being put into action as it relates to caring for the off spring of the covenant partner. King David and Jonathan, the son of Saul, were covenant brothers. After Jonathan was killed, David made it his mission to find and care for Jonathan’s family. This is illustrated in 2 Samuel 9 when he begins his search for Mephibosheth. “Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.” (2nd Samuel 9:11 bold/underline mine.) Not only did Mephibosheth become as a son to David, but Mephibosheth’s own family did also.
If David kept his oath to Jonathan, how much more will God keep his oath to Abraham? “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:16 NIV underline/bold mine)
There is so much more that could be written to explain the covenant relationship that God has with the young ones who are incapable of making a decision, or even with the older who have mental issues whereby they cannot understand. As you may have noticed, I completely excluded any mention as to the nature of God and His love. I did that for a reason. I wanted the reader to know that I was not playing to feelings of compassion as we think, but to the word of God as is written. So, to the question, “Yes. Babies do go to heaven if they should die.” Be blessed.