July 7

When a Child Dies

2 Samuel 12:16-23

Understandably, people who lose a child want assurance that their little one is safe in the arms of God. The Bible is not explicit about what happens to those who are too young to make a proclamation of faith. However, the Lord’s mercy upon them becomes clear as we study His Word.

Over the years, people have created unbiblical explanations for what happens to little ones who die. There are those who argue that salvation is available to some but not to others, which is scripturally inaccurate (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9). Another more complicated theory holds that God uses His foreknowledge to determine whether a child who dies will enter heaven or hell. The idea is that He rescues those who He knows would have grown up and been saved, but He rejects the rest. What terrible uncertainty that would mean for family members left behind.

God doesn’t keep people guessing. What His Word teaches is that during the early years of life, a child does not know how to choose good from evil (Deut. 1:39; Isa. 7:16) and therefore isn’t held responsible for his moral conduct. Accordingly, when a little one departs from life, the Lord is waiting with open arms. This is the only theology that makes biblical sense, given the Father’s character, desires, and plan.

Until a child is mature enough to decide about whether to serve the Lord, he or she is safe from divine judgment. Our just and loving God does not punish children for being too young to grasp their need of a Savior. Believers join their departed little ones in heaven (2 Sam. 12:23).

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.