Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: – Jude 1:1
Well we are in the midst of the most tumultuous political and moral climate we have ever experienced as a nation. Today, however, I think it necessary to write about happier things. I have spent, with my family, the last few days at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for my younger brother’s annual checkups and have experienced a renewal of my faith, a “refilling” of the Spirit, if you will.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, – Ephesians 5:18
I have been filled. Glory be to God for that. This place is a testament to the grace of God in times of tumult. Every day children with aggressive, life-threatening diseases walk in the door and their parents and siblings are en tow wondering whether this precious blessing (Psalm 127:3) will live to see tomorrow. It is one of, if not, the most heart-wrenching experiences out there. I never experienced it. I was spared. My mother and father and, at the time, three year old younger brother, however, received the full brunt of the horrific reality that is cancer. They experienced walking into the cold hospital wondering if tomorrow their precious child would awaken yet again. At home I was quite distraught, but it was nothing compared to the bitter anguish they must have known at that time. It opened our eyes.
Before that time, we all had this unconscious idea that cancer was something that happened on movies or to other people. At seven myself I do not think I quite understood the gravity of the situation, a blessing through and through, even when it happened. And so it was, that when our, usually sickly, younger brother got sick again at three and began throwing up with a fever, I do not think Dakota, my older brother, and myself understood why we had to be awoken in the dead of night. Then came that word a few days later, “cancer.”
It seems a lifetime has passed since that wonderfully terrible event has passed, and in a way, it has. Coming here now is like taking a step back in time. Seeing the families here, red-faced from crying and staggering about from exhaustion, I am both bountifully grateful and tremendously humbled for the grace God has shown my family. They are experiencing our 2005.
Saint Jude is, indeed, a bright light in a dark world, contending for the faith, even if most of them do not realize it, and showing the very love of God. They have been, and continue to be, such blessings to the grieving and mourning souls that walk in the door. Now, what once was a death sentence, childhood cancer, has an eighty percent survival rate. But this reveals something a little less easily dealt with. One in five children diagnosed with cancer will die.
It is very, very easy to, in that moment, question God as to how he could even let this happen, let alone do it himself.
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! – Romans 9:14
Notice that Paul does not say there is Fairness in God. He says rather that there is Justice. Allow me to explain the difference and why this is a good thing.
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. – Romans 3:10-11
No one is righteous. No one understands. No one seeks for God. No. Not. One. That is a negative statement. Allow me to state that positively. Everyone is worthy of hellfire. Every single person that has ever existed is worthy of nothing but the hottest hellfire God can muster. Understand this first. You are the bad person. Not God. So it is only by God’s grace that he keeps you alive even to read this. If God were fair, everyone would get exactly what they deserved.
Instead, God is just. This means that because we owe a debt to God, it must be paid. He paid that debt in place of all who would believe, however, through his holy Son.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
There must be payment. In full. However, God, because of his grace, has said that he will credit the righteousness of Christ to us if we will repent of our sins and believe the gospel (outlined in John 3:16 and Mark 1:15). This way, God’s justice, mercy, wrath, and love are all displayed. We have a fuller, more complete view of God when we grasp these things.
Now how does that apply to sick children and their deaths? God is not fair. He delivered my brother from this sickness but takes countless others. This is a hard reality to come to terms with. But here is why you need to do so: if God were fair, your child would be in hell before you had the chance to give birth or even conception. That is what fairness looks like. You do not want that. That is the only biblical alternative to what I am telling you and if there are children walking around, and there are, then any argument against it falls flat.
Do children go to heaven at death? As a Calvinist, I must believe that children go to heaven at death. Here is why: Arminianism demands a response. Children do not understand the gospel and thusly cannot respond to it. If they must save themselves by making a decision for God, then all of the murdered (aborted), still born, and miscarried babies ever are in hell as we speak. Understanding that this is an issue, the Arminian position declares that God will not send anyone to hell before they reach the “age of accountability.” I am still searching my Bible for that one. If you find it, let me know! Good luck!
The truth is there is never the first mention of an “age of accountability” in all of the Scriptures.
So, Ashton, how can you believe that children go to heaven upon death? I believe they go to heaven because the Bible never says they go to hell. Though to be fair, it never says they go to heaven either. It does, however, say that salvation is of God alone. Therefore, the child is not required to save himself. God will.
Why would God save them if Scripture does not say it, though? Well, allow me to answer that question with a question. What would the response be, of sinful, depraved man if the Bible said children go to heaven? Suicide rates would go up along with murder.
Scenario number one is that people would murder their children and depressed junior high girls (yes, I am making a generalization for illustration purposes) would use the Bible to justify their suicidal thoughts.
Scenario number two is that no one acknowledges that they grow up. Everyone would deceive themselves into thinking that they were children so that they would not have to fear death.
In short, yes. Children go to heaven. But it is a much more nuanced reasoning than would first appear.
Perhaps you will find comfort in the words written here. If you have, God be praised! If you have not, God be praised!
Words cannot express the gratitude with which I view this place. May God use it all the more to spread his gospel and his glorious light! Soli Deo Gloria!