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Only those who trust in Jesus go to heaven. Can a baby or small child trust in Jesus?
Do Babies Go To Heaven?
The straight quick answer is, yes... babies go to heaven. But the question is, how do we know this?
Scripture and God's Character
The most common scripture used to support the understanding that babies go to heaven is 2 Samuel 12:23. David is talking abut a son who has just died: "But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” This does not directly say babies go to heaven, but because David was a believer who had a very good understanding of God. So this is a strong indication that babies go to heaven.
Other scripture helps us understand why people go to hell:
“The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.” - Luke 10:16
What we see here is a willful rejection of God's revelation, and an ability to understand personal sin and the need for salvation. We also see that they have not placed their trust in Jesus Christ. So an atheist does not see God when they look at creation. Does that mean they don't know about God and this are not rejecting God... they simply don't know? Keep Romans 1 in mind:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools." - Romans 1:18-22
Why are people without excuse? Because God is known, to some extent, through His creation. We can know enough, just by looking at creation, to know there is a God ad we are accountable to that God. Can babies and little children do this? No. Here are two other verses:
"He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day." - John 12:48
"So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you." - 1 Thessalonians 4:8
We know God exists and we know about "His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature" from creation. And we are held accountable if we reject this. The conclusion is that babies and children, who are not yet capable of understanding what they are seeing, are not held accountable. Another way of saying it is that, until a person is able to distinguish right from wrong, our loving and merciful God does not hold them accountable for their sin.
Do babies and others incapable of professing faith in Christ automatically go to heaven? (MacArthur Q&A)
Do the souls of aborted babies go to heaven? (GotQuestions.org Article)
Do Babies Go to Hell When They Die? (Apologetics Press Article)
THE GOOD NEWS
Before you get the good news, you need to know the bad news. It's about you. God says:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23
Sin means disobeying God, aka breaking God's law. God is perfect and perfection is required to enter heaven. It's a standard none of us can achieve. We all fall short. For example, compare yourself with just one of the Ten Commandments. Have you ever told a lie?
All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8. Or what about:
Have you ever taken something that does not belong to you, no matter how small? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? In Matthew 5 Jesus said:
Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' Have you done that?
You have broken God's laws. You have sinned. There must be justice, and that means eternity in hell, the lake of fire, the second death. Unless...
Unless there was someone willing to pay that penalty on your behalf. Someone who will take on themselves the consequences you deserve. And there is. There is one person who can and will do that. That person is Jesus Christ. If you trust this is true (believe), and repent (turn away from disobeying God), Jesus' death is applied to your account and you are freed from the penalty of sin to be with God forever.