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

HomeChristianity and the BibleDo infants go to Heaven if they’re not 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.


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2 responses to “Do infants go to Heaven if they’re not baptized?”

  1. Maria Rennier says:

    My son was molested as a child and had a long history of drug abuse. He died of suffocation after shooting heroin in the bathroom. His Bible was open on his dresser and his Mary Medal was in his pocket….do you
    think he is in heaven?

    • Tony says:

      Maria:

      First, my heart goes out to you. As a father, I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you. Please know that you have my deepest sympathy.

      I do not, and cannot, know the condition of your son’s heart. I will tell you what I do know.

      The open Bible
      This suggests that your son may have been seeking help from God before he died. Certainly it’s a good sign, but we don’t know what it means.

      The Mary medal
      We know that anyone can carry such things without believing, of course. That your son had his with him may suggest that he considered faith in God to be important…another good sign. Still, we can’t know.

      God is faithful and just.
      Neither you nor I can know with any certainty what your son thought and did before he died, but we do know that God is just. He knows all things, and is filled with compassion for each of us. He came to earth as a man to demonstrate His love for us by dying in our place. I do not doubt God’s love for your son. I also do not doubt that He will be just and merciful. As I understand things, the only thing that matters is whether your son surrendered himself to God before he died. We don’t have to be perfect to go to Heaven. Everyone there will have been a sinner, including your son. Nobody will be in Heaven because they were righteous enough…not you, not me. Our only hope is Jesus. If we accept God’s offer of salvation by surrendering our broken lives to Him, we will be with Him forever.

      We will all be judged – you and I, and your son and my son – and we will receive exactly the right reward or punishment. Nobody will be able to complain that God did the wrong thing. He will undoubtedly take everything into account before He judges…isn’t that what a good and fair and just judge will always do?

      I realize that this doesn’t answer your question, but I hope along with you. I can do nothing for your son, but I can ask you the most important question possible: have you surrendered your life to Christ? I don’t ask whether you attend church, or whether you read your Bible, or whether you believe in God. I’m asking whether you have been born again, as Jesus taught was required for eternal life. If not, please let me know how I can help you. I would like to meet you in Heaven, so you can introduce me to your son. My family will pray for you.

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