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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)
I NEVER KNEW YOU
Many people, when they die, will stand before Jesus and say:
Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? - Matthew 7:22
And Jesus will say to them:
I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness. - Matthew 7:23
Get your Bible out and read Matthew 7:21-23. These are some of the most frightening verses in the Bible.
They describe people who believe with all their heart that they are saved. They have no doubt that they know Jesus and they've done many great things that prove this is true. Put Jesus says, 'Depart from me...' He doesn't know them.
Are you truly trusting Jesus? Scripture says to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Have you done that?
Do you read your Bible regularly? Do you fear false teaching? Are you growing in your obedience to God? Are you growing in your understanding of what God wants? Do you regularly share the good news about Jesus with others?