Do infants go to Heaven if they’re not baptized?

Should infants be baptized? Is it okay to baptize a baby? Do I need to be baptized?

I love getting email from GodWords readers, and I always answer each message personally. Sometimes, the messages are intensely personal. While I try to be sensitive to those involved, I think that many private questions deserve to be published. I would never divulge anyone’s identity in a touchy situation, but here’s how I see it: if one person asks, chances are good that others struggle over the same issue. I’ve left out some of the details, of course…but here’s a recent question:

I lost my grandaughter to illness at the age of 4 months. I have been haunted by the fact she wasn’t baptised. I always wonder if she is in heaven and ok. What is your feeling about this?

A GodWords Reader

I’m very sorry to hear about your granddaughter. I can’t imagine how difficult that is for you, but I hope to help make things just a little better. Do not worry about her spiritual condition. =)

We are all born in sin, to be sure. However: we have no choice in that matter. Since it’s out of our control, God would not judge us for it. As Paul wrote in Romans 4, “where there is no law there is no transgression”. Your granddaughter couldn’t have known about any laws, rules, or even guidelines…much less break any of them, so she couldn’t be guilty of any sin. She was guiltless, of course.

According to 2 Corinthians 5, Jesus’ death on the cross covered ALL sins for ALL time for ALL people. That doesn’t mean that everybody will go to Heaven, of course…but that passage makes it clear that it’s not sin that sends people to Hell. Heaven is closed only to the people who reject God. Your precious little granddaughter could not have rejected God. There is no reason to worry, as God is always just. He loves your little one very much.

Baptism, of course, is not a spiritual act. It’s a social act. As I’ve written elsewhere, baptism is a sign to a believers that you share their faith and want to join their community. If you’re being baptized, you’re probably being obedient to God’s instructions to be baptized…and THAT is indeed a spiritual act. The process of getting wet has nothing at all to do with whether you end up in Heaven.

I hope that eases your mind. There is only one question left to ask. I don’t want to offend you by being very personal, but it’s important. Here’s the question: will you be joining your granddaughter in Heaven? If you trust God with your own life, you will be reunited with her. I hope, and I pray, that you trust God…not just to be reunited with your granddaughter, but to receive the grace and forgiveness and love and joy and – especially – the peace that He gives to all who trust Him. If you need to know more about that, please let me know.