Though uncommon in today’s world, recently I attended a funeral for a child less than two years old. That’s almost a baby. These can be the most depressing funerals you’ll ever attend.
What I want to point out is a topic that consistently appears at such an event, and that is the belief that all babies go to heaven. “Well, at least we know she’s in heaven,” someone will state with that knowing kind of finality plastered on his or her face. “And how’s that,” I’ll blurt, speaking before thinking. “Because ALL babies go to heaven!” is the reply.
I’m thinking that I may be reading the wrong translation, but I really can’t find any proof for such a belief. The Psalmist writes,
God looks down from heaven to see if any man seeks after him, but all are perverse and none do any good at all.
Paul writes to the Romans that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He doesn’t say that all will sin. When Paul was writing this I was already guilty.
This is attested to by the Israelite’s conquest of Canaan, given to them because of the iniquity of the inhabitants. As they were commanded, starting with Jericho, “Devote to destruction men and women, young and old.” The sin of the inhabitants lay upon all. There is no exception cut for babies.
Mind you, if this belief is correct then abortion is a blessing. “Few are those who find the straight and narrow path,” we are warned. But if we kill them when they are young then they all find that path. Churches should set up abortuaries in their basements, as they can now guarantee you’ll enter the pearly gates.
But what sprouts, sprouts true to the seed from whence it came. The perishable cannot bring forth what is imperishable; in other words, men of flesh will not produce men of heaven. Innocence cannot be given birth from out of the seed of destruction.
So maybe all babies are not going to heaven.
But this actually isn’t the reason I am writing. The whole debate hinges over the question of whether sin is something you do or something you are.
Some time ago I was mulling over the belief that we won’t remember our sinful past because we are told it is forgotten. This is the belief that sin is something you do. Your deeds are sinful, sin is forgotten, so your deeds are forgotten.
But I have a problem with this. We are what we do. Good or bad. If sin is merely excised we become, well, gappy. It would be like missing a tooth — not only does a smile reveal the facts, but it becomes a lot harder to chew. And if we forget our past, how can we know ourselves? How can anyone know us?
But what struck at that moment was a revelation of the power of redemption. We are told that God does above anything we can ask or even imagine. And this is the most pure example of that declaration. Redemption includes all of who we are, and that includes our past, that includes our sin.
Our sin becomes his glory.
Don’t despise your past, for we are told that all things work together for good to them that love God. For the redeemed, your sin is now his glory. You need not be ashamed of your past; God wears it as a precious gem upon his crown.
Whoa! That’s too much! That’s what the people of Paul’s time thought. So the question was asked, “Should we then sin that grace may abound?” But the answer given was, “Perish forbid!” For we no longer live in ignorance, but have become servants of righteousness.
Now, something you will often hear is that salvation is there for all who call upon Christ, but the rewards of heaven are given to those who have served God; however, this is based on the idea of an unredeemed past. Who’s to say how actions are weighed and rewards given with such a God?
So maybe a man saved on his deathbed will receive the greatest reward.