Lesson 29:

What About Those Who Can’t Believe

A natural question for those of us who have lost babies is what happens to those who die in infancy. They don’t have the ability to choose or reject Jesus. Do they go to heaven?  There are many views concerning the fate of a baby who dies, but I want to assure those of you struggling with this that babies who die go straight to heaven.

First of all, know that babies are sinners.  We are born with the sin nature. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but God invites all men to respond to Him in faith. This assumes that the one invited has the capacity to respond. Those who don’t have the ability to respond (infants and in utero) also don’t have the ability to reject.  “Everyone’s born owing God, but until the ‘age of accountability,’ Jesus picks up the tab” (Tony Evans).

So, why do infants go to heaven? The reason is that Jesus died for their sins. Infants don’t have the ability to choose or reject, so Jesus does it for them. Divine election becomes the mechanism by which babies are “chosen to salvation”(2 Thessalonians 2:13). It’s how they get to heaven.

God has a special interest in infants and children. Jesus said “let the little children come to me” (Mark 10:14) and “you must believe like a little child” (Matthew 18:3). “The very fact of dying in infancy is outward proof that one is elect, chosen by God to live with Him in heaven” (M. Houghton).

We even see this with David in the Bible when his infant son dies. He fasted and wept while the child was still alive, but after he dies, David stops fasting. He knows his child is in heaven and says, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:22). He knows someday he will join his son in heaven. In contrast, when his adult son, Absalom, died, he did not speak of going to him, but cried out in great anguish! Absalom had the ability to respond to Jesus’ call to believe. He evidently had chosen to reject the call.

So, please find some consolation knowing without a doubt that your little one is playing at the feet of Jesus.