Salvation outside of personal faith?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by peteyo69, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. peteyo69

    peteyo69
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    A friend proposed this to me: there's such a thing as an "age of accountability" right? The age at which a child becomes formally aware that he's sinning against a Holy God? Well, there seems to be, at least (for instance, when David knew that his illegitimate child was waiting for him in heaven - 2 Sam. 12:23, "I go to him".)
    Now...if there IS such an age, and dead babies and young children automatically go to Heaven, this would be in spite of the N.T.'s repeated assertions that personal faith is the instrument of our salvation (John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.)
    So, what Biblical basis is there for the belief that we become "accountable" at a certain age? In other words, if personal faith is not necessary for young children who have died, is it totally necessary for anyone in order to be saved? (Yes, it's commanded, and it's the ordinary way we're saved, but why can there not be exceptions for adults as there are for children?
    Thank you!! [​IMG]
     
  2. gb93433

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    Then explain how a child can even understand a message when they do not know language. How do they have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel unless they can comprehend the message of the gospel.
     
  3. peteyo69

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    So you believe that babies and young children who die before they're old enough to be saved automatically go to Hell? :confused:
     
  4. Precepts

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    I'll let him answer for himself, but to say that children who have never come to the point of understanding, accountability, that God sends them to hell would cause anyone to have a pivture of an unjust god. (littlle "g" intentional)

    God is just and a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

    There is not a specific age which represents the age of accountability, only a time of understanding that one has sinned and the punishement for sin, which for the Glory of God ends in the repenting of that sin and receiving the gift of eternal life in Christ.

    It might sound a little ridiculous, but sometimes I think we all should have died as innocent little children, but then that is what we become if we're saved. Besides, I sort of like the idea the Lord sticks me right in front of the face of satan and says, "Look, devil, see what I've done for him!?! You thought you had him, now he's Mine, and you can't have him back!" But then the Lord can stick a little child in his face and say, "Even though you thought you would, You never had this one in the first place!"
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Trotter

    Trotter
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    12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
    13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
    15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) Romans 2:12-15

    Correct me if I am wrong, but does not the aforementioned verses not mean that those who have never heard the Law will be judged according to the Law written in their hearts? If so, explain to me how a baby, or a small child, or even a retarded adult (depending on the retardation) has ever violated this Law? Unless you want to try to say that they haven't kept the feasts and sacrifices...

    My point is this: God WILL judge each and every person who has ever been conceived (some die in the womb, but are people just the same). Those who grow old enough to learn right and wrong will stand guilty before God, even if they have never heard the name of Jesus because of the verses above, because they have violated the Law the God has put in their hearts (I see this as the conscience). A baby, young child, or a retarded adult has not reached the maturity level to understand right and wrong (knowing that Mom will spank you if you do it is not the same as understanding right and wrong!!!).

    Sin is a choice. True, we are all born sinners, in that you do not have to teach a child how to misbehave, be selfish, lie, steal, etc. It is what humanists call "human instinct". But God has drawn a line in how man is to be judged. Those who have heard of Jesus and rejected Him will be judged accordingly. Those who have never heard the name of Jesus will be judged by the Law written in their hearts.

    I have two sons waiting for me in heaven with my Lord. I know this because of what God's word has told me. Without that assurance, it would be hard for me to follow the Lord. But I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are with Jesus, and I am able to continue onward, knowing my reward is growing sweeter all the time.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  6. Michael Wrenn

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    Trotter,

    Well, I guess we might as well continue on this thread. [​IMG]

    These are the very verses which prove that those who have never heard of Christ have a chance to be saved.
     
  7. Watchman

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    Hi guys, I must interject here and say that, without a doubt, Trotter's position here is the correct one.
    Romans 2:12, that Trotter pointed, out is quite clear: "...shall also PERISH without..." Now this says LAW, but the implication is that it is clearly speaking of ignorance.
    To say that there is another way to be saved, that is, ignorance, is a violation of John 3:36:
    He that hath the son, hath life, he that hath not the son, hath not the life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. You will be saying that he that hath not the son can be saved because of ignorance. Ignorance an excuse? No, Romans 1:20 makes this very clear, man is without excuse.

    To say there is another way to be saved, that is, ignorance, is a violation of the words of The Lord in John 1:10 He that climbeth up another way is a robber and a thief. Surely, ignorance is ANOTHER way.

    To say there is another way to be saved, that is, ignorance, is a violation of Hebrews 11:6:
    "He that cometh to God MUST believe that He is..." You are saying then, "No he doesn't have to believe."
     
  8. HankD

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    How about John the Baptist who was "filled with the Holy Ghost" from his mother's womb?

    HankD
     
  9. Michael Wrenn

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    Verse 13 says "...the doers of the law shall be justified." Then the very next verse says, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, DO BY NATURE THE THINGS CONTAINED IN THE LAW, THESE, HAVING NOT THE LAW, ARE A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES." Verse fifteen elaborates further and reinforces this truth.

    This proves that those who have never heard will be judged by their deeds. If they have been doers of the law, they will be justified. It can't get any clearer than that.
     
  10. peteyo69

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    Thanks guys, I hear y'all. Regarding this "age of accountability" thing, though - I don't think the Bible ever mentions it! :confused: Or is there a place? It says we're all conceived as sinners (Ps 51:5), which makes me think that there's not really a dividing line between children and adults regarding accountability for sin.

    But David knew his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23). And his son was obviously too young to have faith or anything, really. Now most explanations I've heard for this say that his son was saved because he couldn't understand. But I don't see where this is supported elsewhere in Scripture! 1 Cor. 2:14 says that all unsaved people can't understand, whether children or adults. It doesn't make a distinction.

    So if there isn't an "age of accountability" (since I can't find one in the Bible), and David's baby could still be saved without faith, couldn't even adults be saved without personal faith?
     
  11. HankD

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    with God all things are possible?

    HankD
     
  12. rstrats

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    peteyo69,

    re: “...David knew his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23).”

    That passage doesn’t say that David’s son is in heaven. You might assume this, but you could just as easily assume that David is saying that he is simply going into the grave like his son.
     
  13. peteyo69

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    OK, here's the verse (KJV): But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
    I dunno though... :confused: I was wondering this myself. I checked up on some of the classic commentaries, and they all say he meant heaven as well as the dead:
    - John Gill
    - Matthew Henry
    - John Wesley
    and others!! So I dunno... :confused:
     
  14. Trotter

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    This proves that those who have never heard will be judged by their deeds. If they have been doers of the law, they will be justified. It can't get any clearer than that.

    Very true. But there is one flaw to your thinking.

    The Law was given to man for one purpose, and that was not so that man could try to earn his way into heaven. The Law was given as a measuring stick, not to show how man can come to God, but to show that only absolute holiness was acceptable to God. The various rules and regulations all served that purpose. Even the various sacrifices were to show that God took sin seriously, that only through substitutionary death was there any remission of sin.

    There has only ever been, or ever will be, one Man who was able to keep the whole Law, and that was because He was without sin. It wasn't that He didn't know what sin is, it was that He never committed a sinful act or thought.

    Only Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, can make that claim. Only Jesus Christ fulfilled all the obligations of the Law, because He kept them perfectly. Anyone trying to get into heaven without personal faith in the work and person of Jesus must measure up to this standard.

    Now, how does a baby measure up? What commandment has he broken? What sacrifice has she not given that she was supposed to? Where has he broken one of the statutes? What sin is she guilty of? Only an baby, small child, or severely retarded person can meet the criteria set forth in Romans 2:12-15.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  15. EPH 1:4

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    A person can only have faith after he or she has been regenerated first. I know, I know, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God....but to whom? Paul was speaking to the brethren, not the unregenerated sinner. A person can be born again in the womb (John the baptist) or on the death bed (thief on the cross). God gives faith after He does the saving. Faith is a gift that can increase by hearing, studying, and reading the word of God. Unregenerate man has no faith.
     
  16. Watchman

    Watchman
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    But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hbr. 11:6 NKJV
    Key phrase: "...he who comes MUST believe..."
    Now, I am not advocating that a person saves himself apart from God, that is, that he wills himself to be saved and, therefore, is saved. But somewhere, as he/she hears, is convicted by the Holy Spirit, that there is enough faith there to say, as it were, "Yes, this is true, Jesus Christ died for me..." Point being is that there must be enough faith there, while still unregenerated, to become regenerated. Now, it can be said that even THAT spark of faith can only come from God, and I'm not going there, there is a whole separate forum for that.
     
  17. DHK

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    No, this is quite impossible. The unregenerate needs faith in order to be saved.
    "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
    To believe is to have faith in. God gives every man choices. We were not made robots, but humans with wills that we might choose between good and evil, between receiving Christ and rejecting Christ. That involves faith.
    Faith in this respect is not a gift. Faith is something that every person exercises every day. It is confidence, specifically confidence in the word of another.
    As I sit and watch the news, how much faith (confidence) can I put in the word of the weatherman who says it will be minus 40 degrees tonight. I would like to be able to say not much, but my thermometer already says minus 36, so I am fairly confident that he is correct. I trust, or have some faith in his words. When my wife says she will make sure that I am awake in time to go to work in the morning, I am confident that she will keep her word. I can put far more confidence (faith) in her than in the weatherman. The reason: I have known my wife intimately for a long time. I know that she will keep her word. I have complete trust in her. However she is human. Sometimes even she makes mistakes, or her alarm doesn't go off, or something else happens. We are human.

    But I can put my faith in the words of a perfect God who never, never fails, whose promises are always, always true, and have complete confidence that what he says, he will do. Because:

    Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

    This faith is not a gift. It is a choice. I choose to put my faith in a God that does not lie, just as I choose to put my faith in my wife whom I can trust.
    The more I got to know my wife over the years, the more confidence (the more faith) I was able to have in her.
    God is the same way. How much time do we spend with Him. How intimate are we with God. That is precisely the meaning of:
    "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
    If you want more faith, then you need to get to know God. If you want to get to know God, then you need to get to know His Word. Faith comes by hearing His Word.
    DHK
     
  18. Jesus is Lord

    Jesus is Lord
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    Isaiah 7:14+15
    "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
    15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right." (NIV)

    This prophecy has been given concerning Jesus. But nevertheless it shows clearly that there is a time when a child does not know enough to understand right or wrong, good or evil. IMO that means that God deals with babes and children the same way he dealt with Adam and Eve in the first dispensation, the Age of Innocence, when they had no understanding of good or evil.
    But when they begin to get an understanding of right and wrong they are accountable...
     
  19. Michael Wrenn

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    Trotter,

    You said, "Only an baby, small child, or severely retarded person can meet the criteria set forth in Romans 2:12-15."

    There is one flaw in that: That is not what those scripture verses say.

    Either you believe that God is just and nerciful enough to provide a way for the billions who never heard of Christ, or who lived before Christ, to be saved, or you believe that He will send all of those billions to hell.

    I belive the former, and scripture such as Romans 2:12-15 bears that out.
     
  20. Trotter

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    Michael,

    I believe that God does have a way for those billions that you mentioned. But the problem is still the same.

    It only takes one sin to fall under the judgement of God. Just one. That is a universal rule that applies to all mankind. Those who do not know Jesus, who have never heard of Jesus, still have that condition to contend with.

    From what I can see, those OT saints that died looking forward in faith to the coming of the Messiah will be saved.

    But, outside of that particular situation, man must live a sinless life, not breaking the law that God puts in their heart. I only know of one Man who has ever done it. Only one who has never had the opportunity or the understanding to know would be able to stand before God blameless.

    I do not look at this and say, "God has no mercy, sending all those people to hell."

    I look at it and say, "God is holy, and just, and so far above our understanding that I cannot fathom His purposes. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     

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