By Jim Robinette
Little 3-year-old Ricky was playing in the yard with his big sister. His
blond hair reflected the light of that warm August morning’s sun and was
ruffled by the sea breeze which flowed softly off Santa Barbara’s beaches.
This was another usual day of play and discovery for Ricky who was a vivacious
and out-going little guy.
Suddenly, out of nowhere it seemed, a drunk driver’s car came crashing into
the yard. And all so quickly and finally the car struck and killed little
An unspeakable pain and grief came explosively over Kappy, Ricky’s mom, when
she was told shortly after this incredible event that her son had been killed
in such a horrendous way. Kappy found it difficult to understand or really
believe that Ricky had died in the following soul-numbing days as she coped
with Ricky’s burial, the shock her daughter experienced and would experience
for many years into the future and the thousand details that now intolerably
had to be dealt with because Ricky’s life had been violently seized from
him and her.
Kappy and I were not Christians when Ricky died but years later learned about
Jesus and His love for us and we trusted Him to save us because of His favor
towards us which we did not deserve. As Christians we had come to believe
in the reality of eternal life and death, heaven and hell. We began to ask
ourselves then: Where is Ricky?
We longed to know if the Christian Church had a definite and clear understanding
of the destiny of children like Ricky who departed this world while very
young. This led us to learn that many, many unborn, infants, and young children
die in our modern times. Research enabled us to see that well over 40 million
abortions have been committed in America since 1973 when abortion on demand
was legalized and that yearly almost half as many babies are killed by abortion
as are live-born. We learned that in the developing world more than 11 million
kids die each year and that many die before the age of 5. Because of war,
famine, natural disaster, disease (AIDS claims many millions of kids yearly)
a countless number depart this world in infancy and childhood.
God’s Spirit led us to inquire, “Does God save uncomprehending infants and
children from damnation, eternal death?”
We want to share with you things we’ve learned about God’s treatment of “babes”,
those who die in infancy and early childhood. We’ll use this word “babes”
to refer to the unborn, infants, and very young children in the remainder
of this piece. Our hope is that in reading this tract you may acquire a saving
knowledge and therefore true comfort about God’s nature and about His gracious
treatment of babes.
In the study of the Bible, God’s word, and in our examination of the thoughts
of gifted Christian leaders we’ve learned some fascinating things.
We learned that the Bible tells us that all men, including babes, are born
with a sinful nature. Psalm 51:5 says: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin my mother conceived me.” This verse means that children are sinners.
Sin is a violation of God’s law and God’s law is summarized in God’s requirement
that man love God and his fellow man with all his
being. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your
soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.
And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Though babes may or may not have committed actual sins (for instance, a babe
in the womb cannot lie for he can’t yet speak) they are conceived with a
sinful nature which has been passed on to all men from the first man Adam
who sinned. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and
death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—”
The babe, like all men, must be forgiven of his guilt as a sinner (a result
of his sinful nature) by a new spiritual birth which brings cleansing from
guilt’s stain and forgiveness of the guilt itself. Jesus says in John 3:5,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus says we must be born again, that
is, we must experience a spiritual birth or the bestowing of spiritual life
from God to inherit (receive) the kingdom of God. The babe’s need, as is
everyone’s, is to receive this spiritual life from God. This receiving of
spiritual life results in forgiveness of all sins—actual sins, thought sins,
spoken sins, heart sins and the sin of a fallen nature.
Blessedly for us, God gives this spiritual life to all men who receive it
by believing that Jesus Christ is God’s salvation, that He is God in
bodily form (God became a Man! A perfect man without Adam’s sinful nature!)
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” Colossians 2:9.
Jesus, who is God and man lived a sinless life on behalf of sinners, died
on the cross as a substitute for sinners who believe in Him to bear their
sinful guilt—He died in the place of sinners! And because He is God in human
flesh and was absolutely sinless in His own life He raised Himself to life
from the dead after three days—“Destroy this temple, and in three days I
will raise it up.” John 2:19.
Death could not hold Jesus because God is just. Jesus was sinless and therefore
could not receive a permanent death sentence—“For the wages of sin is death…”
Romans 6:23. A sinless man cannot justly die.
God’s word tells us that over 500 people at once saw Jesus Christ raised
up (resurrected) from the dead—“After that He was seen by over five hundred
brethren at once,” 1 Corinthians 15:6, and that His disciples saw Him ascend
into heaven, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He
was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9, where
He now lives with His God and Father and our God and Father. And because
Jesus has done all this to save men from death’s judgements we have great
hope that Jesus saves helpless babes from their sin’s guilt and takes them
to be with Him in God’s paradise at the moment of their deaths.
God used the tragic occurrences of Ricky’s death to teach Kappy about His
love that saves the soul, of His love for her—“For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not
perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Kappy learned that in Jesus
she would find all of her needs met, even the need to accept Ricky’s violent
and senseless death and truly forgive the driver who killed Ricky. Ultimately
she found the meaning of life, little Ricky’s and hers, in Christ Jesus the
Son of God and Son of Man. Kappy saw her sins for the evil they are, confessed
them to God as the evil they are and turned from them to live in a way that
pleases God. She trusted Jesus and repented of her sins and came to love
God, as He always wanted her to!
Some of you who are reading this piece have lost babes and some of you have
aborted your children. May God lead you, dear ones, to find forgiveness in
the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. There, where Jesus was crucified
taking the place of sinners, my wife and you too will find love, peace, righteousness,
grace and the knowledge of God that makes a broken sinner whole. Look
by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from the tragedy
of your babe’s death and from the reality of your own sin and death.
Trust Christ and repent of your sins, believing that He died on the cross
as your holy sacrifice, that He was buried, and that three days later He
arose from the dead, and you will find Christ’s life and victory over death
and you will live and never die— “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall
never die.” John 11:26.
Because Jesus is the loving, kind and compassionate Savior we have great
hope that Jesus gave Ricky spiritual life through the spiritual birth prior
to Ricky’s death. We believe and hope that Ricky was born again and that
he was cleansed of all his sin’s guilt because Jesus gave Him the gift of
We also learned from the Bible that David had hope that he would see his
dead son again—“But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back
again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
2 Samuel 2:23. David’s resignation to his child’s death is evident in this
verse. David was a righteous and godly man in spite of a great lapse into
sin which resulted in adultery, murder, and the death of the babe conceived
in wickedness. David had a knowledge of God and His nature and so was resigned
to God’s judgements. It may be that David’s peaceful resignation was based
on a hope that his child was regenerated (born spiritually) before
his death. “I shall go to him” may mean that David hoped to see his child
again in God’s presence as David knew himself to be a child of God and would
be with God upon his departure from this world.
In Matthew’s gospel Christ sets a babe in the midst of the disciples
and tells them: “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is
the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (18:4). Christ likens those who enter
the kingdom of heaven to the babe. Christ tells us here that a childlike
humility is a characteristic of people who have trusted Him. He warns of
the sin of causing His little ones to stumble by enticements to sin and He
tells us not to despise humble believers like this babe.
He tells us that He came to save these little ones and that the Father has
willed that not one will perish.
In Luke 1:11-17 the angel of the Lord tells Zacharias that Elizabeth will
bear a son and that he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his
mother’s womb. This means that John was regenerated (spiritually born) while
yet in his mother’s womb and prior to his physical birth.
Also, Jesus says in Matthew 19:14—“Let the little children come to Me, and
do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” C. H. Spurgeon,
a Christian pastor, comments about this verse: “Jesus tells us that children
are admitted into the kingdom; nay, not only that some few are here and there
admitted into it, but of such is the kingdom of God. I am not inclined to
get away from the plain sense of that expression, nor to merely suggest that
He merely means that the kingdom consists of those who are like children.
It is clear that He intended such children, as those who were before Him,
babes and young children,‘of such is the kingdom of God’.
“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look on me, a little child!
Pity my simplicity;
Suffer me to come to Thee.”
John Calvin, a Christian teacher wrote: “Truly, Christ was sanctified” (set
apart to God) “from earliest infancy in order that He might sanctify in Himself
His elect” (chosen ones) “from every age without distinction. If we have
in Christ the most perfect example of all the graces which God bestows upon
His children, in this respect also He will be for us a proof that age of
infancy is not utterly averse to sanctification.”
George Whitefield was a great Christian preacher who in the 1700’s said:
“What an awful proof are the sufferings, that children come into a world
with a corruption that renders them liable to God’s wrath and damnation;
but the blood, the precious blood of Jesus Christ, it is to be hoped, cleanses
them from guilt and filth of sin. So that any of you who have
got children dead in infancy, O may you improve what I shall say by and by
from the next, and pray endeavor to go to that place where I hope you will
see your children making a blessed constellation in the firmament of heaven:
in this respect all go to the same place, some at beginning of life, some
at middle, and some at decline, and happy, happy they who go to bed soonest
if their souls are saved.”
Pastor John MacArthur offers helpful comment here—“The kingdom of heaven
is the sphere of God’s rule in Christ through gracious salvation. For those
who have reached the age when personal saving faith can be exercised, the
kingdom is entered only by a divinely illuminated understanding of what it
means to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The implication of such as
these is that for those, who because of young age or mental deficiency, are
incapable of exercising saving faith, God grants them in the event of death
entrance into the kingdom by the sovereign operations of His grace. When
children die before they reach the age of decision, they go into the presence
of Jesus Christ, because they are under the special protection of the sovereign
We must mention now that abortion or intentional murder of the unborn
is a sin that God forgives. But He gives us stark warning in 1 John 3:15
that the unrepentant murderer is lost—“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
If you have taken part in this sin, repent and find His sufficient grace
and forgiveness of sins. Christ receives everyone who truly believes and
repents. Remember that the murderer David was forgiven, but the murderess
Athaliah who sought the babe Joash’s life never repented and so she was lost.
In light of Christ’s love and sacrifice of Himself for sinners, come to Christ
trusting Him in repentance that He will save you from your sins, dear
one. And you shall be saved.
The Bible tells us about God’s nature— He is a helper to the helpless. “But
You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by your hand.
The helpless commits himself to You.” Psalm 10:14. God is merciful to the
afflicted. “So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him; For He
hears the cry of the afflicted.” Job 34:28. God is compassionate. “So
rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For
He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He
relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:13. God is just. “If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
Pastor Ichabod Spencer from the 1800’s relates the story of a Christian woman
whose babe had died and of her hope of the babe’s salvation.
The Lost Child—not lost, but gone before
‘Twas a gem fit for love,—’twas the gift of her God,
But no thanks did the gift e’er excite;
Death snatched it away—she sunk under the rod!
All her world was a chaos of night!
Then there whispered a voice from the land of the blest,
Oh my mother, my mother! on high
I wait to receive thee to this land of sweet rest
Oh, my mother, prepare thee to die.
I’m not in the dark coffin—Christ spread his arms around me,
I awoke ‘mid this light and this love,
Where the bright beams of heaven spread their glory around me;
For I died to allure thee above.
She heard it; she felt that attraction of heaven,—
It was peace: she can now kiss the rod;
She flew to her Christ—she’s a sinner forgiven,—
They shall all meet in the bosom of God.”
Praise the Lord!!!