After reading on the net the postings of a few people on the question of unborn or infant salvation, the logical follow up question came up in my mind that a few others have posted as well. If every aborted baby goes to heaven, then shouldn't we be at the forefront of the Pro death "choice" forces? The abortionists are guaranteeing that 1.5 million babies go directly to heaven every year!! That's more than most evangelicals can ever hope to lead to an everlasting life with God.
All of those who believe that dead babies go to heaven keep saying that they are exempt from judgement because they have had no chance to be tested, or that they must be exposed to the law, etc. But that is not a convincing or valid argument. The fact is that, each baby has made a choice to rebel and reject God while IN ADAM. Every child is conceived in sin. They are not born sinless and then decide to rebel or obey. They are born in sin. And later, if God wills it, He Saves them by giving them Knowledge of Himself.
Adam and all his descendants ("conscious or unconscious") are JUSTLY consigned to Eternal punishment unless a Gracious God intervenes.
There is another question I ask myself when dealing with these issues. Which choice would give the Greater glory to God, which choice would Make more evident God's matchless Grace and Mercy?
The fact is that our salvation is totally in His hands. He has predestined the elect before the foundation of the world. We have Nothing to do with it. That is the reason why I take the position I do on this issue. If a child does not have the chance to know God, he is lost already, and being consigned to Hell is Absolute Justice for that baby. Salvation by Grace is just that. Matchless Grace.
My Answer 1:
Be careful what you say. You make God sound like a vending machine that only takes exact change. Unfortunately, you also sound like you are under the Law. It can happen to anyone. I've been rescued from the works bag lots of times. We all have a tendency to forget that the flesh loves to be religious. How else would one explain the Pharisees?
I know you don't believe you are being a legalist in regard to the baby issue because you say salvation is up to God. Would you consider how you deal with sin in your own life for a moment and then read Romans, chapter eight? Mind set is an interesting idea. It may seem that when we are attempting to resist a favorite sin that we are doing good. According to Paul, it doesn't matter if my intent is to indulge the flesh or to subdue it, the problem is that my mind is "set" on the flesh and I will fail by self-propelled works or by appetite. Resting in Christ is hard to do. It gets harder as one ages. Now reconsider, while at rest, the eternal life of infants.
Reply from BJ:
I am afraid you have misunderstood me. I am just the opposite of a legalist. That is why i keep stressing the Sovereignty of God in all things. He chooses those that he wants to save.
I'm not one of those folks who is going to go on and on about our Lord's wonderful love and mercy. I generally agree with you on His unchanging sovereign nature and its bearing on salvation and I don't blame God for those who perish. I believe God holds the parents responsible for the damnation of their offspring and has done so from Adam until this very day. No way around it. Bad tree, bad fruit. Bad vine, bad grapes. It only took one Cain to prove the point.
The legalism I see comes from your belief that a "saving knowledge" is necessary for salvation. Subtlety characterizes our enemy and his temptations or accusations against us. We all vary in our growth in Christ and in our knowledge of Him. That means we also vary in our knowledge of His saving grace. This truth baits the trap by which we can become ensnared in legalism. There is only one acceptable level of saving knowledge. "...the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:13).
Jesus is the stature by which we are all judged. His perfect knowledge of the Father's grace far exceeds ours as do all aspects of His sinless life. We fall way short of the amount of saving knowledge that God would find acceptable. The unborn's "0" knowledge or an old man's sack of filthy rags. Jesus' righteousness puts us all in the same boat. Unborn, just born, reborn, or ready to leave. Without the free gift of His righteousness we are all lost. What a lot of us call faith won't answer this argument. Only a perfect faith like Jesus' is sufficient. If not, faith becomes a work.
Finally there is the issue you claim to believe in. Do you believe, as fully as Jesus does, in God's sovereignty concerning salvation? Or as fully as He does in anything else, for that matter? Only Christ has perfect faith and only prefect faith is acceptable to God.
You also affirm confidence in predestination. I think you might be overlooking the moment when it starts. Here are a few passages that indicate that You and I, along with some of these infants, were chosen before the world was created.
Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".
John 17:24 "Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou did love Me before the foundation of the world."
Ephesians 1:4 ...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love.
Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "as I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest", although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews9:26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Revelation 13:8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, (the beast), everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
And BJ, this one really gets me:
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
I don't know about you, but I know what's written following my name.
After my name it says, or words to the effect: Ted Wise, born of a virgin, lived 33 years without sin, fulfilled the law and loved enough to die for mankind's sins....". By faith, Jesus' righteousness is mine. He gave it to me. I didn't even "claim it" as some brethren put it. He wrote it there before the world was formed.
Everything from Him, nothing from me, (except me).
I cant understand very clearly what your objections are to my beliefs and relating them to legalism.
The fact is that to receive salvation you must believe in Christ. This belief results in knowledge of God which He himself puts in us. (All knowledge is acquired through faith, and Knowledge of God comes through faith in Him. The crucial factor is that this saving Faith is God's gift. If He does not gve this gift, no one can be saved.)
The amount of knowledge is going to vary from person to person. A mature Christian is going to know more about God than a new christian. In fact, it is not necessary to know many essential doctrines to be saved. some might never know about the Virgin birth. or the trinity, but they can still be saved) As long as one has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, he is saved. He has received enough of "God Knowledge" to have eternal life. A part (Knowledge) of God Himself now comes into our mind (spirit) and now we become a part of Him and completely inseparable, because God cannot be separated from himself.
After all the Bible DEFINES Eternal life as KNOWING God and Christ. (John
17:3) (Knowledge is spiritual, God is spirit and truth and propositions, all spiritual entities.) This knowledge is necessary for salvation, but will continue to be added to through eternity. It will never be completed. After all God is ALL Knowledge.
There will be all levels of God Knowledge in heaven, and all will go on learning about Him for ever, increasing our joy and love for Him.
I hope this helps to clarify some things. Please do not categorize my beliefs by the short essays given here. You should ask me specific questions first.
Free will is where the legalism problem lies. You said, "To receive salvation you must believe in Christ". To receive salvation there first must be a Christ to believe in. Free will is like having babies. You only have the potential. It takes a mate to make it happen. You can demonstrate that you have the free will to choose to accept the gift of faith only if the opportunity to choose it is presented to you. If I hold out my two closed hands before you and say, "pick one", you can demonstrate that you have free will. If I offer you neither one, there is nothing to choose. You can not prove that you have the quality we call free will. Potential + opportunity = the possibility of choice. In order for Adam to truly be the image of God, he must have free will. The forbidden tree creates the circumstances wherein his free will can be born.
Look at it this way: If you were walking down the street and a man jumped from the shadows and demanded your money or your life, you would most likely hand over your money and call the police to report being robbed. If the policeman said you weren't really robbed but gave up your money as an act of your own free will, you would think he was mad. Yet Jesus pokes the gospel in our ribs and says, "Give me your life or parish in hell". As Christians, we all give him our lives and claim that we made a free will choice. Ha!
This is why humanity is without excuse. Christ's coming has indeed put the threat of hell into the ribs of mankind. This makes the real issue one of whether or not He messes with our "chooser". Externally, He certainly does. An offer to choose between everlasting torment and everlasting ecstasy can hardly be called a free will choice. Has He (before the foundation of the world) internally rigged our choice maker? That is the real issue. To my knowledge no one has settled that one yet.
What I do know is that salvation becomes a work and not a gift if the deciding factor is any kind of action that a man makes. Reaction to an act of God or responses to His internal stimulation are not works. Therefore, God can and does "speak" many babies into eternal life in the blink of an eye. I don't know which of the Earth's inhabitants are going to hear the gospel of Christ and be saved and I don't know which of the aborted babies He is going to save. But I do know Jesus, so I doubt that the answer is zero. That's how I know I'm not stuck in the works bag right now. I trust in the person of Christ, not in my response to Him. I'm deeply honored to have been offered a part in His salvation plans by His entrusting me with the Gospel. I suspect you are too. However, salvation is 100 percent from God. Odd when you think about it. It takes God to save us from God. On the other hand, how else could it be?
I have no disagreements with you.
I'm glad to know you exist. Free will and sovereignty are not easily understood subjects. My heart is gladdened with the knowledge that the Lord chooses some mighty bright individuals like yourself for His kingdom. I hope He saves more people like you who are not afraid to defend their confidence in the person and mercy of a truly sovereign God.
See you in heaven (I know you know you will be there),
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