Precious Little on the Loss of Precious Little Ones

Whether referencing our confession of faith or the Scriptures themselves, that seems to sum things up.

We just don’t have a great deal of authoritative data to work from in forming our convictions about what happens to the infants of believers who die in infancy.

The confession takes a position, for sure, in chapter 10 on Effectual Calling, paragraph 3:

Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when and where and how He pleases. The same is true of all elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called through the preaching of the gospel.

It lists only John 3:3,5, 6, & 8 as proof texts.

Honestly, I don’t find the statement all that helpful. Election lies within the sovereign decree of God. That Christian parents who lose their infants can only wonder whether or not their child falls under that category seems to me to offer little or even no comfort at all.

The Bible says more, but in some ways not as much as we might hope in specific to settle the matter. Rather we must draw theological inferences from texts that can help inform our thoughts and encourage our hope that someone like Annabelle went to be with the Lord on Saturday and that her folks will see her again some day in heaven.

I could rehearse those texts and thoughts in my own words, but frankly I have a memorial service message to write between now and Friday. Furthermore, Desiring God published a blog post some time ago that summarizes the question supremely well.

Here is a significant section from the article by Matt Perman:

It is important to emphasize that, in our view, God is not saving infants because they are innocent. They are not innocent, but guilty. He is saving them because, although they are sinful, in his mercy he desires that compassion be exercised upon those who are sinful and yet lack the capacity to grasp the truth revealed about Him in nature and to the human heart.

To read the entire post click here.

A memorial service for Annabelle Walton will be held at Orlando Grace this Friday, June 22, at 7 PM. Visitation with the family will take place from 5:30 to 6:45 PM. Refreshments will be served.

Please continue to pray for the Waltons and their extended family as they walk through the valley of the shadow and reckon that even in staggering loss Jesus is enough.

The Place of Unbelief in the Plan of God (Part 1)

Today’s message from John 12:35-43 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

I summarized the message this way:

The causes behind Israel’s persistent rejection of Jesus challenge us to believe in Him as the Messiah. We’ve looked at two so far – prophetic prediction from Isa. 53:1 and sovereign preterition from Isa. 6:10.

Then I gave three applications from the doctrine of reprobation, the first for the unbeliever and the next two for the believer:

  1. Believe the gospel eagerly seizing the opportunity involved.
  2. Share the gospel confidently remembering the gravity involved (see 2 Corinthians 2:14-17).
  3. Glory in the gospel humbly acknowledging the sovereignty involved (see Romans 9:17-24). A complete glorying in the gospel in light of God’s sovereignty consists of two aspects of the doctrine of predestination – acknowledging His grace in election with untempered gratitude AND His justice in reprobation with tempered grief.

[33] Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! [34] “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” [35] “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” [36] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

(Romans 11:33-36 ESV)

Unbelief Made Profitable (Part 1)

Today’s message from John 10:22-30 is now on the web. You can listen to it here.

Here is how I summarized the content of the sermon:

The main thing I want to say from this passage is this: Understanding the ultimate issues behind unbelief confronts us with the requirement to believe in Jesus the Messiah and to follow Him. By dissecting the anatomy of the Jews’ hardhearted unbelief in these two paragraphs, we have opportunity perhaps to see ourselves, resistant to Jesus’ claims, and are given yet another chance to believe in Him and receive the gift of eternal life, abundant life, as He called it in John 10:10. I want to show you from the text three things about unbelief that God may use this way in our lives: where unbelievers are deceived about faith, why unbelievers are deprived of faith, and what unbelievers are denied without faith.

The mystery of human responsibility and divine sovereignty looms large in this text. May God give us grace to take Him at His word and humble ourselves before Him.