My brother died when he was six hours old. For many years I wondered if he was in heaven. After all, he never had a chance to believe… he inherited a sin nature from Adam… he never confessed or repented of his sin… so how could he be forgiven? As it is written, “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!” My brother never had that chance… so how could he be in heaven?
Consider this: Jesus died for those who will believe… and those who can’t believe! Read that again…
Every person is saved one way, by grace… not works… baptism… or walking an aisle. Salvation is by God’s grace and God’s grace alone. Not by intellect… depth of comprehending the Gospel… nor the ability to repent and/or believe. Salvation is always, only, and completely because of God’s grace. It is because of God’s grace that He give a person the faith to believe and the ability to repent so as to be saved.
By contrast, in Scripture, every time people are damned to hell it is because of their works… the things they did in this life… the sins they committed while on earth. People are saved by grace and condemned because of works. Now…
Babies who dies in infancy, and those mentally incapable of understanding, are saved the same way everyone else is saved… by God’s grace. They do not have the capacity to differentiate right from wrong, they are not capable of connecting their actions with consequences or understanding the concepts of God, sin, repentance, or salvation (This is not true of those who come to understand their condition). Thus, in their innocence, God in His great mercy and compassion sovereignly saves them the same way He saves everyone else… by His grace.
Illustration from the life of David. The baby born to David and Bathsheba got sick and died. While the child was sick David fasted, prayed, and wept. When the child died, his mourning was over… because he knew the child was in heaven. As David said, “I shall go to him, he shall not return to me.” David was a believer. He knew he’d go to heaven. He knew he’d see the child again.
David had another child named Absalom. This child was an adult who turned against his father and led a rebellion against David. When Absalom was fleeing David’s army, he got caught in a tree. Joab then killed him. When David asked how his son was doing, the reply was… “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” It was THEN that David began weeping.
Here’s the point. When the first child died, David stopped weeping because he knew where the child was… in heaven. It was when Absalom died that David BEGAN weeping because he knew where evil Absalom was… and David would never see him again.
If you have a child that died in infancy (including abortion or miscarriage) or a family member who does not have the ability to reason as those who are held responsible for their knowledge (Romans 1), you can take comfort that upon their death they are with God in heaven… by God’s grace!