2008-03-05 - Heidelberg 7.3
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 17
Question 7.3: Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?
Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise. This fall has so poisoned our nature that we are born sinners - corrupt from conception on.
We looked into some aspects of this question in 7.1 and 7.2, but I would like to take an aside, which is really not an aside, and look at the phrase in the answer, "that we are born sinners - corrupt from conception on." Specifically, I would like to examine the profound consideration of the eternal state of infants who die in infancy. We maintain that, because of the Fall into sin, all are born sinners. We believe that sinners who are not regenerated in Christ, are still sinners when they die. What then are we to believe respecting infants who die in infancy, or the victims of the practice of abortion?
Let us make clear the understanding, almost without exception, that Christians have held respecting this issue: Infants are elect of God, and are therefore saved. Scripture has little to say respecting infants who die in infancy, or the victims of abortion, and where Scripture is quiet, we are careful to not be so rigid as to not leave room for the glory of God. But on this topic, the church has held one consistent voice. Even those who do not believe in election, come to the belief in the election of infants who die in infancy. We will let those who do not believe in doctrine of election sort that one out for themselves. Let this be a great encouragement to us. It has even been supposed that the numbers of infants who have died in Christ may outnumber those who have been regenerated in Christ, and that the number of infants in Heaven will be so great, that the number of the saints in Heaven will exceed the number of those who suffer the wrath of God for unforgiven sin. We cannot really know this, but it certainly is a glorious thought.
Infants, and those who die through the practice of abortion, are spared the temptations and trials of our Earthly lives. They are received into the loving arms of Christ, as soon as they are snatched away to Heaven. This is a uniform thought throughout the church. Those that take opposing sides in many doctrines all agree here. We have this blessed picture painted by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, when He said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these," Matthew 19:14. It is a great comfort to parents who have lost an infant to the grave, or to the woman who still feels the lingering guilt of having had an abortion, that daily, hourly, even moment-by-moment, such little ones are received into the Kingdom of God.
Soli Deo Gloria,