Are there Provisions of the Salvation for
Infants, if so, by What Means?
By Pastor George D. Cutler
Unfortunately, even though orthodox Christendom is alleged to embrace “Salvation by Grace alone,” it doctrinally even if unintentionally affords the least hope for the salvation of those who die in infancy. The most averred explication as to what the eternal status of deceased infants engenders doctrinally represents salvation of infants as conditional in every sense. The theories of certifying so-called “infancy exemptions” of the sinfully depraved nature vary as to which perceived conditions are applicable for the “automatic securing of salvation.” Even though all conditionalists agree in averring that something must to be done by the sinner in order to secure salvation ………... some assert that the condition is faith and repentance, some that it is the giving up of ones heart to God, some that the “Law of righteousness must be worked out, while others even contend that the salvation of infants rest upon their parent’s intervention by having them baptized or sprinkled into the pale of the church. The most common theory is that infants are not sinners; are not lost, thus they are not required “to be saved.” This is the position generally embraced by the conditionalists, in order to avoid the inconvenience and impracticability of explicating how infants can be within the framework saved of their conditional premises.
Those that espouse situational salvation postulate separate conditional stipulations for adults and infants; not accounting for the fact that all are conceived and born in sin and if infants were not sinners, they could not die. I Corinthians 15:56 states, "the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin (is) the Law." Hence, Romans 5:12 states, "because of this, even as through one man the sin (nature) did enter into the world and through the sin (nature), the death; and thus to all men death did pass through for that all did sin" (as was decreed). Even as Adam embodied all his posterity when he transgressed, all the human family sinned. Romans 5:18 states, " So then, as through one offence to all men (is to) condemnation ………" Through this, the Scriptures fully demonstrate the fact that all adults, as well as all infants have sinned; and as sinners judgment has come upon all unto condemnation and it is therefore "laid up (assigned) unto them all once to die." The fact that some infants die corroborates testimony that all have sinned and are sinners. Scriptural witnessing of this solemn fact is clearly demonstrated and defies any plausible contradiction because certainly, none could successfully have part or lot in the redemption to salvation other than exclusively through Christ Jesus.
Admittedly then, what cannot be denied is that all infants are conceived in sin, shaped in iniquity and all go astray from the womb, speaking lies (Psalms 51:5; 58:3). Romans 3:10, 23 establish that there are none righteous and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Hence, the question arises, how can they be automatically saved from sin and the consequences of sin? Scriptural revelation declares that there is only one way to salvation: "Jesus says to him, 'I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes unto the Father, if not through me” (John 14:6). Also: "and there is not salvation in any other, for there is no other name under the Heavens that is, having been given among men, in which it behooves (right, proper or appropriate) us to be, having been saved" (Acts 4:12). If there is but one way whereby a sinner can be saved and that one way is Christ, the notion that infants are exempt because of their piety or innocence is tersely swept away. How strange is the traditionally accepted infatuation that deceased infants are automatically saved when it has been scripturally documented that none can avail anything that results in their own salvation?
This enigma requires examination of the conditional and situational inferences imposed by these various erroneous doctrines. In these views, supposing salvation were offered to all sinners, on conditions of something (active or passive) to be performed by them, ……..could infants perform it? To tell them that they must believe a preached gospel, repent of their sins, make in themselves a new heart and a right spirit; that they must love God, reverence, obey and worship him; that they must give up their hearts and if they fail to do so; they must be damned (for this is what all conditionalists preach to adult sinners); how could such be applicable to infants? On that premise, who could hope for the salvation of a single infant? None can plausibly claim that infants are saved by their own compliance with the terms and acceptance of such overtures or none of the usage of these means. Some contend that infants come into the world pure and sinless, and go so far as to fix a period in life at which they become accountable to God for their conduct; previous to which they contend that such ones are not accountable! To fix the precise time at which infants cross the line and become responsible beings has been a matter of many grave and perplexing deliberations among orthodox traditionalists. But in direct contradiction to this theory, the Scriptures declare that none can be justified before God except through the propitiation of Christ’s blood.
To deny this is an attempt to impeach the justice of God Himself; for what righteousness has God in justice to bypass infants in judging such depraved ones to condemnation? In the conveyance of Romans 5:18, did the Holy and Righteous God enter judgment and then bestow righteousness on any that were never accountable beings? Did not death reign by one from Adam to Moses over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression? In justice, are there unaccountable beings? What daring impiety then …………….to say that infants are holy and sinless when the Scriptures declare the very opposite. Scriptural exegesis evinces the exclusive adduce to setting forth what is actually conveyed in regards to salvation in light of the fact that all infants, the same as all adults are sinners and by nature estranged from God. The foundation of salvation is sustained in comprehending there is but one way of salvation for any of the posterity of Adam. This one and only way of salvation is perfectly adapted to the plight of infants, as is thoroughly established in salvation by grace, in the light of what God has revealed in His Word on this issue.
The doctrine of Personal and Individual Election is essential to comprehending the view of Eternal Salvation. This truth must be admitted; else God is viewed as inconsistently performing the securing of salvation for His elect. Ephesians 1:3-4 states, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who having blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the Heavenlies in Christ, according as He chose us in Him before the creation of the world; for our being holy and without blame before Him." It must be understood that this was God’s exclusive method of securing His objective: “the holy and without blame” status of His beloved ones. The misconception is that the Doctrine of Election unnecessarily casts God in the unjust view of preferring some over others. Here, the mistaken notion is that those that are of “accountable age” (whatever is construed as such) possess the wherewith to make a decision to “accept” (God’s offer of) their salvation. Thence, they interject the impression that infants and young children are not held accountable because they can’t comprehend the meaning of their sinful nature. Also, they aver that because such are not yet mature enough to intelligently “make the choice” to avoid the consequences of their situation; they are exempt due to their lack of understanding. This concept is skewed by miscomprehending that “holiness and blamelessness before God” is justifiably bestowed when there is not the opportunity for such ones to exercise their so-called “Free Will.”
Here it is assumed that there were and are some that would exert efforts to rectify their impending doom if given that opportunity. However, it is scripturally correct that God chose His elect “in Christ” before creation. Whether the proponents of “conditional” (or situational) salvation like it or not, Election is the exclusive mitigation against: “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and those chosen of God were all “by nature the children of wrath, even as others” and all those chosen were under “condemnation by the law,” as sinners. Redemption by the blood of Christ is indispensably necessary for salvation. Testimony is engraved in eternal brass: "by one offering, Christ perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14). It is strictly in this light that Eternal Regeneration is indispensably implanted in every aspect of ones salvation. Even in the Kingdom Gospel, accurate conveyances are: " ……..if any one may not be, having not been born from above, he is not, having not been able to see the reign of God" (John 3:3). Also, ones eternal birth is: "not of (their) blood nor of a will of flesh nor of a will of man but of God were begotten" (John 1:13).
Hence, the ingression of Eternal Election, Redemption and Regeneration plus all other such requisites brought to view in the gospel of salvation are so essential to salvation because in their absence, ALL ……whether infant or adult, must forever perish in their sins. This statement of fact induces the inquiry: if it was or is it any more difficult for God to elect, redeem or regenerate infants than adults? The answer is: there is no difference because Election to Salvation occurred before the creation of the world (in Eternity) and of necessity MUST have been wholly of God and those that were chosen must have been perfectly passive. Again, even in the Kingdom Gospel: "you did not choose out me but I chose out you and did appoint you …….” (John 15:16). Adults then could have no more to do in effectuating their election (and salvation) than infants for it is all of God, "who did save us and did call with an holy calling; not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times, Eternal" (II Timothy 1:9).
Eternal Redemption was exclusively God’ work in which all infants and adults were equally passive. Note the conveyance of I Corinthians 1:30: "and of Him you ............you are in Christ Jesus ………who became to us from God wisdom, righteousness also, and sanctification and redemption." None had any hand in this work except He, Christ, “who did give Himself for us that He might, ransom, having ransomed us from all lawlessness and might purify, having purified to Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Can there then be anything in redemption better or more superlatively adapted to infants than adults? Hence, neither infants nor adults could have any more sufficiency; directly nor indirectly in their regeneration. Thus, none should be so naive in pretending that there is annexed to the salvation process extenuating circumstances exempting the ignorant or incapacitated to the degree of God improvising the mitigation of their natural generation. And if that is impossible, is it not a still greater impossibility that an earthly, fleshly being could through their exemption status beget, conceive and bring forth immortality? That which is born of the flesh is mere flesh, nothing more ……but that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit (John 3:6).
Generation in the flesh in a human progenitor is adversely estranged from regeneration in the spirit, which implies prior existence “in Christ,” in the Heavenlies. Hence, it was in Eternity where all the saints in the Heavenlies were spiritually blessed in Christ Jesus, their spiritual immortal progenitor, i.e., according as He chose them in Him before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-4). In this light, what relevancy does the earthly circumstances of whether one is an infants or adults avail before the foundation of the world? The inspired testimony of God allows no room for caviling (raising trivial and frivolous objections) on this fact for, as has already been quoted, "they were born of incorruptible seed, by the word of God," "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God." From proven documentations of the Scriptures, all that is essential to salvation undeniably structure its recipients as passive in the hands of God, as “clay in the hands of the potter” (Romans 9:21). The mightiest that ever trod upon the Earth is just as powerless and helpless in the matter of salvation as the feeblest infant that was ever inspired with or relieved of possessing human life and neither the one nor the other could ever possibly be saved by any other than by the grace of God.
All who were and are saved owe their blessed status to solely one fact: "the gift of God and this is not out of you, you are, having been saved by grace through the faithfulness, not out of works, that no one may boast; for you are His doings, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God having before, ordained that you should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10). The hope and prospect of the application of salvation is altogether of God and in regards to its implication to any of depraved humanity, is founded solely in the eternal purpose purposed in Himself before the world began, not depending on anything to be done by salvation’s recipients, after the world began; but on His faithful Sovereign determination, which God graciously accomplished in Eternity. Hence, Titus 1.2 declares in the Grace Covenants: "in hope of eternal life, which the un-lying God promised (decreed) before the Times, Eternal." In addition, Acts 2:39 declares in the New Covenant: "for to you is the promise, and to your children and to all those afar off, as many as the Lord our God may call, having called." Could any child of grace desire any more? Even under the Old Testament’s Mosaic Covenant, David’s declaration of seeing His deceased son in the future is conveyed solely based on God’s sovereign determination of such (II Samuels 12:23). Hence, the Scriptures unequivocally prove and reinforce “salvation by His grace alone” as the only doctrine that can possibly save infants, as well as adults, for there is no difference in the assimilation of it.
But still the question persists, are all deceased infants saved? The answer to this inquiry is properly intertwined in the basic principals of the doctrines of salvation. Sovereign Grace is a privilege that is solely bestowed according to God’s Sovereign Choice; in that none of depraved mankind could possibly contribute any thing on their part to mitigate the total necessity of His Grace. In this regard, the trust of the entire matter of salvation rest exclusively in the eternal will, plan and purpose of God. Without equivocation of doubt, manifestation in testimony is very precious and when one is privileged to express faith and confidence in Him in salvation or of the trial of ones faith, this is ordained of God solely to the praise of His glory. In the case of Job’s loss of all His children he was caused to exclaim: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; and blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). Why Should God’s elect be afraid to resign their infants to His hand? Why shouldn’t they? God is too wise to err and too gracious to be unkind to those whom He foreknew and therefore fore-loved. Another view of this issue is even if all had died in infancy; there would be no difference in the outcome of God’s Sovereign choice in election to salvation because His elect are solely those who would certainly be saved irrespective of earthly transparencies.
There is no more plausibility of troubling inquisitives of infants than there are for souls in general because such matters were settled beforehand in Eternity. The status of Eternal Standings are not assignable in the Time Capsule wherein manifestation solely abides, as there is no saving virtue in ones early death; for such are in death and birth passively imposed. The bounds of habitation, as well as the number of days were decreed before time merely to be manifested in time. Whatever transpires is infinitely better and more sure to promote the glory of God that it is even so (according to His Will). Whatever has been decreed in the inscrutable providence of God in surrendering lovely babes to Him, scripturally informed ones should never feel in the least uneasy about their future state. For sure, they are taken from the evils of this mortal state and yes, God can, has and does regenerate elect infants and adults. The Grace, which avails in each age, reached the thief on the cross in his expiring moments and certainly reaches expired infants but according to God’s Sovereign Decree. Without being born of the Spirit, no infant or adult can enter into the kingdom of God. This preparation is wholly of God and never withheld where its bestowment is to the glory of God and to “the best good of His saints.” How ready Abraham was when exercised by the faith that God had given him; offered up his only son to God? If God enabled that faith, which Abraham had; will it not subdue such fears and enable such ones to submit their offspring both in life and in death into His gracious hands? Living or dying, God alone has pre-determined and thus directs each individual course. Whatever God’s Will is; such is manifested on Earth, as having been actualized in His Divine Decree. In this light, informed prayers are reconciled in His will in conformity to all things in accordance with ones everlasting salvation, Glory to God, Amen!