How are infants justified before God?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Carson Weber, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. Carson Weber

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    Scripture is clear that we are sinful from our first conception in the womb of our mother:

    "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me
    " (Ps 51:5).

    And, Saint Luke gives the following account:

    "Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God’" (Lk 18:15-16).

    The text in Luke 18:15 says, "Now they were bringing even infants to him" (Greek: "Proseferon de auto kai ta brephe"). The Greek word brephe means "infants" —children who are quite unable to approach Christ on their own and who could not possibly make a conscious decision to "accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior."

    Now, if infants are little dirty sinners, conceived in iniquity and are simultaneously unable to approach Christ on their own and make a conscious decision to "accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour", how are they to be saved?

    The Catholic solution is this. Our conception in iniquity is none other than the privation of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (sanctifying grace) in the human soul, and our salvation is none other than the reception of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the human soul. This reception of God's life into our soul occurs initially at baptism when we are "born again" as Children of God by means of "water and Spirit" (Jn 3:5). We admit the infants of parents or guardians who promise to raise the child in the Christian faith to the sacrament of baptism so that they may be reborn of water and Spirit, thus sharing in the divine life of God (2 Pet 1:4).

    The present Catholic attitude accords perfectly with early Christian practices. Origen, for instance, wrote in the third century that "according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants" (Homilies on Leviticus, 8:3:11 [A.D. 244]). The Council of Carthage, in 253, condemned the opinion that baptism should be withheld from infants until the eighth day after birth. Later, Augustine taught, "The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned . . . nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic" (Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39 [A.D. 408]). None of the Fathers or councils of the Church was claiming that the practice was contrary to Scripture or tradition. They agreed that the practice of baptizing infants was the customary and appropriate practice since the days of the early Church; the only uncertainty seemed to be when—exactly—an infant should be baptized. Further evidence that infant baptism was the accepted practice in the early Church is the fact that if infant baptism had been opposed to the religious practices of the first believers, why do we have no record of early Christian writers condemning it?

    This situation is also detrimental to the Once Saved, Always Saved camp among Evangelicals. If we are only saved by Christ, then:

    (1) Possibly all infants go to heaven because they haven't committed sin (they haven't reached the age of reason). This contradicts Ps. 51:5.

    (2) All infants go to heaven because they are automatically covered in the blood of Christ. Therefore, no one goes to hell, because once you are saved, you are always saved.

    (3) All infants go to hell. This contradicts Luke 18:15.

    What is the Baptist solution to this conundrum?

    The Bible never says, "Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation except for infants"; it simply says, "Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation." Yet Baptists must admit there is an exception for infants unless they wish to condemn instantaneously all infants to hell. Therefore, the Baptist himself makes an exception for infants regarding the necessity of faith for salvation. He can thus scarcely criticize the Catholic for making the exact same exception for baptism, especially if, as Catholics believe, baptism is an instrument of salvation.

    [ July 02, 2003, 12:48 AM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  2. Smaug067

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    Carson,

    I can only speak for myself, but I am admittedly lacking in knowledge of scripture.

    This passage is actually part of David's prayer of repentance and is a direct reflection of *his* personal sinfulness in relation to a perfect God.

    Simple - David told his servants that he would see his dead child again. There is also a passage that makes reference to an age of accountability, but the reference escapes me.

    I once asked a Catholic friend of mine what the purpose of (infant) baptism is. She replied that it was to wash away the original sin which caused conception :confused: I always thought pride was the original sin.

    Smaug

    P.S. I don't recall the Bible saying that Jesus baptized the children who were brought to him.
     
  3. Carson Weber

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    Hi Smaug,

    Original Sin has a twofold definition. Initially, it refers to the sin of Adam and Eve, by which the human race lost sanctifying grace as well as the preternatural gifts (immortality, impassibility, and integrity). It also refers to the effect of this sin, which is that the descendants of this couple were to be conceived without sanctifying grace in their souls. Original Sin is not a stain but a privation of God's life in the human soul. When one says that Original Sin is "washed away", what is really meant is that the soul is given the indwelling presence of the grace of God. This is also known as "rebirth", "regeneration", "adoption", "justification", and "sanctification".
     
  4. 3AngelsMom

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    Carson,

    I have a question.

    In that verse in Ps. where it says 'in sin my mother concieved me', wouldn't that be HER sin?

    How was David concieved? Was his Mom a prostitute or something?

    God Bless,
    Kelly
     
  5. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Hi Kelly,

    You asked, "In that verse in Ps. where it says 'in sin my mother concieved me', wouldn't that be HER sin?

    No, that would be David's sin, which is the whole point of the fourth penitential psalm (Psalm 51) - repenting from his own sin, which he has had since his conception in his mother's womb.
     
  6. Yelsew

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    Your question is one of JUSTIFICATION, not faith, not salvation, not sanctification, etc.

    If you believe that infants are of MAN, then the answer is as follows:

    The Prophesy:
    The Confirmation of Fulfillment
    If you don't believe infants are of MAN, then you must 'discover' a new way to justify them before God.
     
  7. Carson Weber

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    Yelsew,

    So, since infants cannot make the conscious decision to accept Jesus Christ as their "personal Lord and Saviour", in what manner are infants saved, according to your soteriology?
     
  8. Yelsew

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    Carson, You err when you equate Justification and Salvation!
     
  9. Carson Weber

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    Yelsew,

    So, since infants cannot make the conscious decision to accept Jesus Christ as their "personal Lord and Saviour", in what manner are infants justified, according to your soteriology?
     
  10. Yelsew

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    Paul answers you question thusly,
    Remember Carson this is your topic and you title it How are infants JUSTIFIED before God?" Jesus' death on the Cross justified all mankind, even infants who cannot consiously choose for themselves. Justification is a settled issue.

    Now if you'd care to change your question we could perhaps pursue how infants are saved.
     
  11. Carson Weber

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    Yelsew, I just asked you, a couple of posts above, "So, since infants cannot make the conscious decision to accept Jesus Christ as their "personal Lord and Saviour", in what manner are infants saved, according to your soteriology?"

    I give up on you; God bless you. ;)

    Would a Baptist care to respond to my initial post? This thread is barren without some locals representin'
     
  12. Yelsew

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    Not so fast Carson, you have not agreed on JUSTIFICATION, and you want to move on to something else you won't agree on either. Either we reach agreement on Justification or you don't deserve an answer from any other "locals". Remember your Topic title?
     
  13. Yelsew

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    Carson Weber posted,
    (Parens mine)AN ADULT THOUGHT by DAVID, who did not know that, Jesus Atoned ONCE, for all sins of all mankind in all times. Thus even infants ARE Justified before the Throne of God. Atonement for sins removes sin as a factor for SALVATION. No infant is condemned, because infants do not yet have the capacity to believe or not believe which Jesus says is the criteria for Salvation or condemnation John 3:18.

    Even so, Carson you use Ps 51:5 out of Context to support an argument about a concept you are not prepared to acknowledge.

    ATONEMENT, which is Justification for ALL mankind does not equate to SALVATION

    I know of no religion or persuasion that even thinks of this as a possibility.
     
  14. Carson Weber

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    Hi Yelsew,

    You wrote, "ATONEMENT, which is Justification for ALL mankind does not equate to SALVATION"

    You are equating atonement with justification, which is unBiblical.

    Paul tells his Christian converts: "you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor 6:11)

    Justification is the application of the atonement of Jesus Christ to the individual.

    My initial post asks how an infant is justified - that is - how is the atonement of Jesus Christ applied to the individual infant?

    If we are justified (when the atonement is applied to us) only by the conscious decision to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour, and if an infant is unable to make this conscious decision, then how is the atonement applied to the infant? How is the infant justified?
     
  15. Yelsew

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    The Point is, you cannot make that connection anymore than I can.

    Jesus' atonement for our sins justifies us before the throne of God, because the penalty for our sins has already been paid regardless of our age.

    Our individual belief in Jesus sanctifies us, that is sets us apart from the unbelievers, that is sets us apart for Salvation. It is by individual belief in Jesus that we are saved. For the infant who has not the ability to make such a choice, there is no choice to make for Jesus said, "suffer the little ones to come unto me". The implication is they are already acceptable. For the rest of us who have cognazance, we are commanded to repent from our sins, to turn from our evil ways. which means that we have evil ways that an infant has not learned as yet.

    The Apostle Paul makes the connection that Atonement is Justification. Jesus died to atone, therefore his death JUSTIFIES US!
    [ July 03, 2003, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: Yelsew ]
     
  16. Carson Weber

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    Hi Yelsew,

    You wrote, "For the infant who has not the ability to make such a choice, there is no choice to make for Jesus said, "suffer the little ones to come unto me". The implication is they are already acceptable."

    According to your soteriology, at one point in time, both you and I were justified as infants. We lost this justification through "our sins" due to our "cognazance", and then we are re-justified once again by faith.

    The Apostle Paul makes the connection that Atonement is Justification. Jesus died to atone, therefore his death JUSTIFIES US!

    You are incorrect. Paul does not say that Atonement is Justification. Paul says that "Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8) and that the consequence is "being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Rom 5:9). The "we" spoken of is Paul and his audience, who are Christians, who "have now received the atonement" (Rom 5:11). Christians are individuals to whom the atonement ("Christ died for us") has been applied. This application is justification. To equate the atonement with justification is to say that Christ has justified all of mankind when he atoned for all of mankind's sin. The obvious implication would be that nobody goes to hell, for all are justified.
     
  17. Yelsew

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    I do not see your interpretation in the words of Paul!
    </font>
    • Paul said that Christ died for us</font>
    • Prophesy tells us that His death shall Atone for the sins of the world</font>
    • Scripture says that His death atones for not only our sins but the sins of the world</font>
    • Paul says that His blood Justifies us</font>
    • It seems that in the Old Testament, sacrificial blood atoned for sins and that Justified the offerer of the sacrifice</font>
    • In the New testament, the once for all sacrifice of the Christ, atones for sin, and Justifies those for whom the sacrifice was made.</font>
    • Scripture does not say that Justification is by any other means than by the blood of Jesus Christ, That is, it is not by acceptance of atonement, or acceptance of Grace.</font>
    • ATONEMENT = JUSTIFICATION</font>
    • Belief in Jesus = Sanctification</font>
    • For by grace are ye saved through FAITH and not of yourselves, it ("ye are saved") is a Gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.</font>
    Think Carson, let the Holy Spirit be you guide,in the place of the pope!
     
  18. Yelsew

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    That is not what I said Carson. Yes, we were justified before we became infants, we were justified 2000 years ago. If either of us had died as infants we would be in the arms of Jesus in spite of our inherent sin nature which we had no opportunity to exercise.
     
  19. BobRyan

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    By the Blood of the Lamb. Christ is their savior by default - until such time as they TOO can CHOOSE rebellion or choose to submit to Christ.

    This is TRUE of believers - but NOT in the sense that the "magic water touches them" rather as Pope Peter said "Baptism now SAVES you - NOT the magic sacramental water touching the flesh but the APPEAL to God for a clean consience" 1Peter 3:21.

    That WHOSoever BELIEVES on Him might have everlasting LIFE - as Christ said in John 3.

    Not true. And EVEN the RCC admits this is not true. (thankfully).

    Rather the error of infant Baptism "evolved" over time.

    Even the RCC admits that salvation must be CHOSEN - received - accepted.

    Even the RCC admits that the EARLY practice of Baptism was to "process the candidate for YEARS" and they had to "have a sponsor". All this "due to the risk" of being identified as a Christian.

    According to RC historians when the error of infant baptism evolved THEN - and only THEN did the presbyter's role CHANGE from primarily Bible teaching - to one of "administering magic sacraments". And the rift developed by creating two classes - the sacred clergy vs the profane laity.

    Confessions "aplenty" from our RC bretheren on this point.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. Yelsew

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    John the Baptist made it clear that he baptises with water, but the one for whom he, John, is the forerunner will baptise by spirit. So what power is there in water baptism? NONE whatever.

    Why baptise infants with water since there is no power in it?

    When one is emmersed (baptised) in the Spirit, one is reborn in the spirit, one is a new creature in the spirit, and one stays dry, except for tears of Joy and relief from guilt.

    When we make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are we not assisting them in emmersion in the spirit?
     

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