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Sin, guilt, condemnation and the age of innocence

Discussion in 'Hamartiology' started by questionman, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. questionman

    questionman New Member Supporter

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    Assumptions:
    At the end of the age, God will judge mankind. If man is found guilty, he will be punished. We know that all men will be found guilty because all have sinned. In the gospel, Jesus assumes our guilt to himself and imputes his righteousness to us.

    It seems like there are at least two types of guilt:
    1. Judicial guilt (men are guilty because of original sin; see Romans 5)
    2. Practical guilt (guilt because of personal sin: by commission or omission; see most of the Bible)

    First, are these types fair and complete?

    Now I'll add another big assumption that many Christians believe:
    There is an age of innocence before which born & unborn babies and children will be saved and taken to heaven.

    Questions:
    1. Are these children included in the judgment?
    2. Do these children have judicial guilt (from original sin)?
    3. Do these children have any practical guilt?
    4. Do children commit sin?
    5. If yes, are children guilty because of that sin?

    But my ultimate question is: on what basis does a just God forgive and not condemn these people? These people have not placed any faith in Christ. The typical response is that God is merciful to these children and will save them as a way of consoling grieving parents.

    But did Christ die for these people? Was his atonement efficacious for these people? Did he die for people who would never place their faith in him? This seems like an inescapable conclusion if you believe in the age of innocence.

    If God can forgive these people, why can't he forgive someone one minute or one year older than the age of innocence, who hasn't put her faith in Jesus? Why not someone ten or twenty years older? Why not someone from another faith or someone with no faith?

    Thanks for your thoughts.
     
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  2. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Just on this one piece: In the 51rst Psalm, David is repenting of very grave sins of murder and adultery, and uses a phrasing which I think many take to be hyperbole, and before we get caught up hearing assertions on its meaning, we should read the entire 51rst Psalm, fully, before trying to assert an isolated verse means A or B or C.

    Here's this wonderful, powerful Psalm of repentance:

    1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
    according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.

    2 Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

    3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.

    4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
    so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

    5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

    6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

    7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

    8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

    9 Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

    10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

    11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.

    12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

    13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.

    14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

    15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.

    16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

    17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

    18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

    19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

    Psalm 51 NIV


    In the same spirit of seeking to truly hear, listen, here's Romans chapter 5:
    Romans 5 NIV

    Notice though what Romans 5:13 says, and 4:15 in the chapter before -- sins are not counted against those unaware in all ways they are doing any wrong. Especially decisive in my view is the surprising messages of Romans 2:6-16 (best to read that in the NIV!)
     
  3. Silverback

    Silverback Well-Known Member

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    I don't know for sure, with the exception of David's Child that died, and David implying he would go to the child, the scriptures are somewhat silent.

    I believe in original sin, humanities total depravity, and inability to cooperate in our salvation, as well as God's unconditional election.

    However, God is love, mercy, and goodness, and he is righteous, just, and holy.

    The scripture speaks of an age of accountability in earthly matters, I don't know if that follows humanity into the next life.

    The primary consequence of the fall, and thus sin entering all of creation, is death. Since infants, children, and the developmentally disabled die, they are personally affected by sin.

    I would just commend them to God's mercy, God is always just, right, and fair.
     
  4. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    We trust in God, in His Grace and Mercy and Justice. Justice according to the scriptures, meaning not only a verse here or there, but all the scripture, altogether. In Romans 2:6-16, and supplemented with 4:15 and 5:13, we can read that God will judge fairly, according to deeds, in the light of conscience, done by all, but also from 4:15 and 5:13 we see that people are not held guilty for what they don't know on any level (don't have any access to at all, not even by conscience). From this we can infer (deduce) that just as Romans 2:6-16 says, the unbaptized young will only be held to account for what they sense or know in some manner of feeling/conscience is wrong, but not for what they cannot even sense is wrong, due to age. (the significant problem later in life, as we get older past childhood is that sin is in the world, after the Fall, and all need redeeming from it, because the power of sin on it's own before counteracted is too strong) The theology question is deep, some would say a mystery, but it's possible from 1rst Peter chapter 3 that when Christ went to make proclamation to the spirits in prison, it could be those from before the flood are only an illustrative instance of the general situation: that perhaps there the gospel was proclaimed (throughout time?) to even all who never heard the gospel in their living life. I suppose if I were trying to speak to a grieving parent though, I would stick to the Romans 2,4, and 5 verses, as they say enough on their own, and are simply true, and that's enough. People are not held accountable for what they cannot know on any level, not even in feeling based inarticulate conscience.
     
  5. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    No ... they are not.

    Original sin

    We are not responsible for our fallen sinful nature, but sin. Since we are accountable for the sins we committed, therefore, we ought to live a life without sin by God's divine power - 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Corinthians 10:13. Our fallen sinful nature will remain with us until death, but we are not going to be condemned for having it since that does not make us sinners naturally.

    What makes us sinners is when we transgress the law of God - 1 John 3:4. If we continue to sin until death, we will reap the wages of sin which is eternal death - Romans 6:23.

    Is having a fallen sinful nature by choice or without a choice?

    Since we inherited a fallen sinful nature, we do not have a choice. But to commit sin, it is a choice. That is why we are responsible for sin. We can choose not to sin by choosing the power of God to help us overcome all temptations - 1 Corinthians 10:13. The bottom line is - sinful nature in itself is NOT sin.

    Mental capability

    If one does not have the physical mental capability to know what sin is (transgression of Gods Law) then they can not be held accountable.

    It's not a "age thing" ... rather ... does one have the mental capability to know what sin is? (Transgression of the Law)

    Jesus died for everyone for all time (once for all) ... all authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth and only His judgement is perfect. That is why He tells us not to judge others. Judgement unto salvation is totally up to Him.

    Only God knows the heart and mind .... and only He can judge and will do so perfectly.

    1 Corinthians 4:5

    Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
     
  6. questionman

    questionman New Member Supporter

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    Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. I am still processing what you have said but very helpful so far.
     
  7. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here are some of my thoughts to your assumptions & questions. Thanks for asking for input & taking the time to form questions.

    It is legitimate to ask questions of God & the Scriptures when we don't understand. It is not good to speculate, presume or question God Himself or the truth of His Holy Scriptures concerning what He says is just, right, holy & the truth.

    First, I see some flaws in your beginning assumptions, based on Scripture, concerning omissions & error. Assumptions are made & conclusions are made BASED on those assumptions. If the assumptions are flawed, the conclusions will be as well, especially your last one, which it appears to me, everything before it is funneling down to it.

    The first omission has to do with their being two resurrections, one of the believers, those loving & obeying & trusting in Christ to save them & then the later resurrection of the unbelieving & those in rebellion against God. Judgment is both of the LIVING AND THE DEAD.

    Christians are FIRST judged concerning rewards before the 'Bema seat of Christ (I Cor 3:5-13)

    What Is the Judgment Seat of Christ? (The Bema)

    Greek, like English, uses the word "judge" in two senses. One sense in condemnation, while the other sense is the giving out of rewards. The Bible says unbelievers will be judged in the first sense - condemnation, while believers will be judged in the other sense - rewards.

    Romans 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your BROTHER OR SISTER? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

    2 Corinthians 5:10 For WE must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what we have done whether good or bad.

    Afterwards, the rest of unregenerate mankind is judged before the Great White Throne of God. (Matt 25 too)

    Revelation 20:5,6 The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years were complete. This is the first resurrection. Blessed AND HOLY are those who share in the first resurrection! The SECOND DEATH has no power over them, but they will be priests of God & of Christ & will reign with Him for 1000 years.

    Rev 20:7-14 When the thousand years are complete, Satan will be released from his prison, 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to assemble them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the seashore.

    9And they marched across the broad expanse of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from heavena and consumed them. 10And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, into which the beast and the false prophet had already been thrown. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

    11THEN...
    I saw a great White Throne & the One seated on it. Earth & heaven fled from His presence & no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great & small, standing before the throne.

    And there were open books & one of them was the Book of Life. And the dead were judged ACCORDING TO THEIR DEEDS, AS RECORDED IN THE BOOKS. The sea gave up its dead & Death & Hades gave up their dead & each one was JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR DEEDS.

    14Then Death & Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. And if anyone was found whose name was NOT WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Psalm 139:16 1 'Your eyes saw my unformed body; ALL MY DAYS were written in Your book.' Each of us has a book about our lives, every day of them recorded.

    Judgment FIRST begins with the household of God, so that we would not be included in the judgment of the unbelieving, those not trusting in Christ & obeying Him.

    I Corinthians 11:31,32 Now if we judged ourselves properly, we would not come under judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

    I Peter 4:16-18 But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God & if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly & the sinner?

    The second flaw of error: "We know that all men will be FOUND GUILTY because all have sinned."

    At the end of the age, Christians will be found blameless & will not be guilty before God & Christ's return for His own will not be based on sin nor condemnation. Christians no longer have sin IMPUTED to their account; they have righteousness IMPUTED to their account.

    Psalm 32:2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count (impute) against them & in whose spirit is no deceit.

    Romans 8:1,2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, or in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

    Romans 5:8,9 But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore, much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

    Hebrew 9:27,28 Just as man is appointed to die once & after that to face judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with OUR sins, but to bring salvation TO ALL WHO ARE EAGERLY WAITING FOR HIM.

    The third flaw I see as an omission, but I may be wrong in how you intended it as I am reading it. If I am, please clarify. This is the next assumption you mentioned: "In the gospel, Jesus assumes our guilt to himself & imputes his righteousness to us."

    On the surface, it seems true. However, as I understand Scripture, Christ imputes His righteousness TO THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH & BELIEVE IN THE PROMISES OF CHRIST TO SAVE US. It is only to those whose faith is placed in Christ that have that imputation done & obey the gospel message. It is the good news UNLESS you reject it. There is no one else, no other Name under heaven by which man MUST be saved.

    There is only one GATE, ONE NARROW WAY through which a person may be saved. It is narrow & difficult, the way to life. Jesus is THAT GATE. One must enter the kingdom of God through Him only. 'You shall have no other gods besides Me.' God makes it plain, clear, unmistakably final. Jesus did, too.

    John 8:21,24 Again He said to them, "I am going away & you will look for Me, but you will DIE IN YOUR SIN. Where I am going, you CANNOT COME. That is why I told you that you would die in your sins. For unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.”

    John 10:1-20 Truly ('Amen'), truly ('Amen'), I tell you, whoever does NOT enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in SOME OTHER WAY, IS A THIEF & A ROBBER. But the one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him & the sheep listen for HIS VOICE. He calls HIS OWN SHEEP BY NAME & leads them out.

    4When he has brought out ALL HIS OWN, he goes on ahead of them & his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will NEVER follow a stranger; in fact, they will FLEE FROM HIM because they do not recognize his voice.”

    6Jesus spoke to them using this illustration, but they did NOT understand what He was telling them. So He said to them AGAIN--“Truly, truly, I tell you, I AM the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before Me were thieves & robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.

    9I am the gate. If anyone enters THROUGH ME, he will be saved. He will come in & go out & find pasture. The thief comes only to steal & kill & destroy. I have come that they may have life & have it in all its fullness.

    Luke 13:1-5 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered & said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

    Romans 1:16,17 I am not ashamed of the gospel of God, because it is the power of God for salvation TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES, first to the Jew, then to the Greek. For IN the gospel is revealed the righteousness of God THAT COMES BY FAITH FROM START TO FINISH, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith."

    Romans 3:21-28 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, as attested by the Law & the Prophets. And this righteousness from God COMES THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST TO ALL WHO BELIEVE. There is no distinction, for all have sinned & fall short of the glory of God & are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    25God presented Him as the atoning sacrifice THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just AND TO JUSTIFY THE ONE WHO HAS FAITH IN JESUS.

    27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of works? No, but ON THAT OF FAITH. For we maintain that a man is justified BY FAITH apart from works of the law.

    Romans 10:1-4 Brothers, my heart’s desire & prayer to God for the Israelites is FOR their salvation. For I testify about them that they are zealous for God, but not on the basis of knowledge. 3Because they were IGNORANT of God’s righteousness & sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, TO BRING RIGHTEOUSNESS TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES.

    Man will forever try to justify himself before God on the basis that he is not that bad & boast about his works. He will excuse his sins & rationalize his own righteousness apart from Christ & his rebellion against God. Who is God to tell him what to do or judge him. Can't God just forgive & let bygones be bygones & let a sinner go his own way? He seeks to establish his own righteousness (in God's eyes like stinking & filthy menstrual rags--Isaiah 64:5,6)

    John 3:18-21,36 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does NOT BELIEVE HAS ALREADY BEEN CONDEMNED, because he has not believed in the name of God’s only begotten Son.

    19And this is THE VERDICT: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light, because THEIR DEEDS WERE EVIL. Everyone who does evil hates the Light & does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be EXPOSED. But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished IN GOD.” Whoever believes in the Son has ETERNAL LIFE. Whoever REJECTS (DISOBEYS) the Son will NOT see life. Instead, the wrath of God REMAINS ON HIM.”

    Rom 7:4-6 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be MARRIED TO ANOTHER—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should BEAR FRUIT FOR GOD.

    5For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear FRUIT FOR DEATH. 6But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve IN THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT & not in the oldness of the letter.

    I will address more as I have time.
     
  8. questionman

    questionman New Member Supporter

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    Mathetes66- thanks so much for taking the time to respond and engage with me on this topic.

    As far as your first and second points, I completely agree with you and for the purpose of brevity passed over those nuances in my original post, getting to what you point out in your third point which is exactly the crux of the issue for me.

    You made it very clear to add "those who have faith & believe in the promises of Christ to save us. It is only to those... that have that imputation" to my assumption. You go on to argue that well from Scripture.

    This exact issue is behind my questions about born & unborn babies and children and the age of innocence/accountability. These people never did that that. They never acknowledged their sin or put their faith in Christ. Will God save them anyway? If so, Christ's atonement was efficacious for people who never put their faith in him and so to damn anyone seems arbitrary and cruel if he can save a single person who didn't put their faith in him. At that point salvation has nothing to do with anyone's faith but only to do with God's choice. If he does save these people, based on abortion, miscarriage & childhood mortality statistics, there are literally billions of souls in heaven that never put their faith in Jesus.

    Thoughts?
     
  9. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for responding back, questionman. And yes, your 'agenda' of universalism is plainly evident to me from the beginning, the first part simply being a distraction to what you wanted to try & justify despite what the whole counsel of Scripture shows contrary to this.

    One of the key issues is choice.
    Another key issue is the Law of God.
    Another key issue is the nature of childlike behavior that Jesus highly values & points to repeatedly: humility, trust, gratefulness/thankfulness & love & obedience; the key qualities of faith. That is why the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

    Another key issue is how an infant/baby responds & their understanding in those responses even while in the womb or shortly after birth, even before they can talk.

    Another key issue is that God is going to hold people accountable for what they DID know & didn't act on or their rejection of what they did know.

    Each person has within them, when knit together in their mother's womb, an innate understanding of who God is, they know He is God & recognize His Deity & eternal power. They know God, that He is real, from the beginning of their cognitive existence. God already knows them & everything about them & what would happen in their lives, whether short or long. He lovingly knits each person together in their mother's womb.

    Romans 1:18-22 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness & unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, BECAUSE WHAT MAY BE KNOWN OF GOD IS MANIFEST IN THEM, BECAUSE God has SHOWN IT TO THEM.

    20For since the CREATION of the world His INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES ARE CLEARLY SEEN, being UNDERSTOOD by the things that are made, even His eternal power & Godhead (Deity), so that THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE--

    2BECAUSE, although they KNEW GOD, they did not glorify Him AS God, nor were THANKFUL, but became futile in their thoughts & their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools & changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds & four-footed animals & creeping things.

    One of the first questions a child has at night is a question about the stars & who made them, knowing that it had to be Someone far beyond a human being.

    I will come back to these. I will finish my response from your first post.

    No. There is also a violation of conscience (whether weak or strong--Romans 14; Acts 24:16). There is also the conviction of the Holy Spirit concerning sin, righteousness & judgment (John 16:7-15)

    When you say it 'seems like' above, thanks for your honesty. I may see original sin a little differently than you, more like the Orthodox view of 'ancestral' sin, as I understand Romans 5:12-14.

    "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through 1 man & death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, BECAUSE all sinned. For sin was in the world before the law was given; but it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had NOT SINNED in the LIKENESS of Adam's transgression. (resemblance--'homoíōma') He is a type of the One to come."

    The Greek word, 'homoíōma' (G3667) refers to a basic analogy, not an exact copy. We were not given the specific command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil in Eden. The rest of mankind was kept from the garden. I agree with your second point.

    We now come to your 'real agenda'--why God doesn't save all persons, irregardless if don't believe in Christ or worship false gods or their deeds are evil or they malign, hurt & do violence to others. How could a loving God allow these people to perish? Didn't Christ die for their sins, too?

    The greater & more serious question is how could a holy, just & loving God NOT judge, condemn & punish such wicked, evil doers, who rebel against everything He tries to do in reconciling them back to Himself--rejecting His offer of forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation & the very righteousness of God & instead worship other gods/idols (not to mention the hurt/violence done to other people--Rev 6:10)?

    It is one thing to offer someone a pardon; it is an entirely different thing to reject that pardon & continue to live whatever way they want. Israelites coming out of the bondage of Egypt, who perished in the wilderness, wanted to go back into bondage again. What was the result?

    Hebrews 4:1-3,6 Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest STILL STANDS, let us be careful that none of you be deemed to have fallen short of it. For we also received the GOOD NEWS just as they did; but the message they heard was of NO VALUE to them, since they did not share the FAITH of those who comprehended it. Now we WHO HAVE BELIEVED ENTER that rest.

    As for the others, it is just as God has said: “So I SWORE ON OATH in My anger, ‘They shall NEVER enter My rest.’ Since, then, it remains for some to enter His rest & since those who formerly heard the GOSPEL did NOT enter because of their DISOBEDIENCE, God again designated a certain day as “Today,” when a long time later He spoke through David as was just stated: “Today, if you hear His voice, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”

    What you are going to find is that people will be divided on this one rather than 'many'-- based on their theology & church teaching.

    Also the actual teaching is usually called the 'age of accountability' rather than the age of innocence. No one is innocent. That is why Christ was incarnated & died on the cross. All die; all fall short; there is not one righteous, no not one. So your choice of the word 'innocence' is also a red flag to me.

    Gen 5:1-3 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made HIM IN HIS OWN LIKENESS. Male & female He created them & He blessed them. And in the day they were created, He called them “man.” When Adam was 130 years old, he had a son IN HIS OWN LIKENESS, AFTER HIS OWN IMAGE & he named him Seth.

    Infants dying in the womb (aborted or otherwise) are still under the law of sin & death. They have a physical body that dies & decays & will be resurrected. Infants soon show a will of their own, contrary to their parents will.

    When a very young child crosses the disobedient command line just once, they have reached the age of accountability. This can differ from child to child & the age can vary.

    A friend of mine's son, barely three years old, was watching the neighbors pulling a goat across their field, to butcher it. No one had said that was the intent, but suddenly this little boy started jumping up & down & crying in his little voice, "Don't kill it, don't kill it."

    Another friend's 4 year old daughter was helping me pull weeds. She was quiet for awhile, then asked me, "Do you have Jesus in your heart?" She understood what it meant. I told her yes & briefly shared my testimony.

    We talked about wrongdoing & she understood she had done so. Then she got quiet again. Soon she stopped, looked at me & said in simple faith, "I don't have Jesus in my heart right now but He will be one day." I told her mother. About 2 months later, she gave her heart to the Lord. She is happily married today, several children & writes poetry & Christian articles.

    *Are these children included in the judgment? Yes. All are resurrected & face judgment after death, like the rest of us. (Heb 9:27)

    *Do these children have judicial guilt (from original sin)? *Do these children have any practical guilt? *Do children commit sin? *If yes, are children guilty because of that sin? Yes & No. People are divided on this one.

    Yes: Psalm 51:5; Job 14:4; Ps 58:3; Job 15:14; Eccl 9:3; Rom 3:23; Eph 2:3; 5:6; Prov 22:15; Eph 2:3; Gen 6:5; Eph 5:8; Mark 7:20-23; Jer 17:9; Rom 7:18,19;

    No: Psalm 22:9,10; Jn 9:1-3; Gen 8:21; Matt 19:14; Rom 7:9; Job 31:18; Isaiah 7:15,16; 2 Sam 12:22,23

    I am not sure the 'typical' response is what you assert, at least biblically. Yet this is a difficult issue.

    "Adults who do not have access to the gospel (special revelation), still have access to nature where they can see God's glory (general revelation). Therefore, God holds them accountable. Paul says they are "without excuse" (Rom 1:20; Rom 2:1-5).

    "Even if one does not have access to the gospel, they still do to the gospel of nature, which reveals God's glory. However, a baby, dying in infancy has access to neither special or general revelation, therefore Paul by implication says they would have "an excuse" at the judgment." Dr. Joseph R Nally Jr

    It is NOT an inescapable conclusion even if you believe in an age of accountability. There is only ONE INNOCENT & that is Jesus Christ.

    Heb 7:26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, SEPARATED FROM SINNERS & exalted above the heavens.

    Christ died for the sins of the whole world, not just for infants in the womb because God is holy & just. (John 1:29,36; I John 2:2) Christ the Just & Righteous One died for the unrighteous. (I Pet 3:18)

    What Happens to Infants Who Die?
    Matt Perman gives more thoughts.

    "This is a difficult & sensitive issue. Any answer must take into account that all of us are born sinful & thus worthy of judgment. The consistent NT emphasis upon the need for a 2nd birth indicates that our natural state is that of sin NOT innocence (John 3:1-12; Eph 2:1-5; cf. Psalm 51:5). We are "by nature children of wrath (like the rest of mankind)" (Eph 2:3).

    There are apparent examples in Scripture of infants who were saved. John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit while yet in his mother's womb (Luke 1:15). In Luke's theology, being filled with the Spirit is consistently seen as an aspect of the Spirit's work among those who are regenerate (Luke 1:41, 67; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3, 5; 9:17; 11:24).

    Hundreds of years before John the Baptist, David wrote: "Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breasts. On you was I cast from my birth & from my mother's womb you have been my God." (Psalm 22:9-10).

    Because of David's mention of having faith in God while still an infant, some have concluded God saves infants, giving them a "primitive" form of faith. That conclusion, however, is not necessary to our point; the main thing to see is David was in a saving relationship with God from his mother's womb.



    God is sovereign. He is able to make Himself known--to John the Baptist, David, Jeremiah, Samuel & Saul also. (Jer 1:4-8; I Sam 3:7-9; Gal 1:14-16)

    Rom 9:6ff It is not as though God’s word has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are Abraham’s descendants are they ALL His children. So it is NOT the children of the flesh who are God’s children, but it is the children of the PROMISE who are regarded as offspring.

    Not only that, but Rebecca’s children were conceived by one man, our father Isaac. Yet before the twins were born or had DONE ANYTHING GOOD OR BAD, in order that God’s plan of election might stand, not by works but BY HIM WHO CALLS, she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” So it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Certainly not! For He says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy & I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

    16So then, it does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy AND He hardens whom He wants to harden. One of you will say to me, “Then why does God still find fault? For who can resist His will?”

    But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for honorable use & another for dishonorable use?

    22What if God, intending to show His wrath & make His power known, bore with great patience the VESSELS OF HIS WRATH, prepared for destruction? What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the vessels of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory— including us...

    Why can't He?
    Because He is holy & they are not--BY CHOICE.
    Because He is just & they are unjust, under condemnation & in rebellion against their Creator BY CHOICE.

    Because He is Life & they are unregenerate, refusing the offer of life in Christ BY CHOICE.

    Because He is spiritually alive & they are spiritually dead BY CHOICE & have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, exchanging the truth of God for a lie & worshiping the creation rather than the Creator.

    Because: Heb 10:26-30 "If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, no further sacrifice for sins remains, but ONLY a fearful expectation of judgment & of raging fire that will consume all ADVERSARIES. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses.

    29How much more severely do you think one deserves to be punished who has TRAMPLED on the Son of God, TREATED AS UNHOLY the blood of the covenant that sanctified him & insulted (outraged, mocked) the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay...

    Matt 7:6,13-23 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate &broad is the way that leads to DESTRUCTION & MANY enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life & ONLY A FEW FIND IT.

    15Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are RAVENOUS WOLVES. By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, & A BAD TREE CANNOT BEAR GOOD FRUIT. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down & THROWN INTO THE FIRE.

    21Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY he who does the will of My Father in heaven. MANY will say to Me ON THAT DAY, ‘Lord, Lord, in Your Name, did we not prophesy & drive out demons & perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU; depart from Me, you workers of LAWLESSNESS!"

    Obadiah 1:15 “For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your deeds will return on your own head.

    Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! For the Day of the LORD is near & it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

    Jesus Christ made propitiation--satisfied the righteous demands of God's holy Law--through the once for all time sacrifice of Himself & shedding His atoning blood to make possible forgiveness of sins. The legal demand was met. But in order for that to be made EFFECTIVE for each person & applied, one needs to repent & trust in Christ & His sacrifice & follow Him as Lord.

    I say that because Jesus HIMSELF said that if one does NOT believe that He is the great I AM, YHWH, they will die STILL IN THEIR SINS. He is the One who will judge the living & the dead.

    Those in the flesh cannot please God; in fact they are His enemies! (Heb 10:27; Jame 4:4) Unregenerate & the unbelieving do not have the life of God. They are spiritually dead. Only the book of their deeds is what they are judged by & their deeds are evil, not done or wrought in God.

    Those who rebel follow Satan, just as Adam & Eve did, rather than God, disobeying Him. They will suffer the same end that he will, with his demons, unless they have repentance toward God & faith in Jesus. (Acts 20:21)

    Matt 25:31-33,41,46 When the Son of Man comes in His glory & all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him & He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right & the goats on His left.

    Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are CURSED, into the ETERNAL FIRE PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL & HIS ANGELS...And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
     
  10. questionman

    questionman New Member Supporter

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    Thanks again for your response. I am still processing it but want to clarify a couple things:

    1. I meant "the age of accountability" by the "age of innocence" and just used the wrong term. In my original post I said all people are guilty because of sin (and before Christ) so obviously I don't think anyone is innocent.

    2. More importantly, I do not have an agenda of universalism. I only have questions and I find your accusation slightly rude. I do not consider myself a universalist, and although I don't really care for labels I would consider myself in the same camp on this issue as Origen, Lewis, and many others through church history that believe there will be people in heaven who did not affirmatively place their faith in Christ. Babies being one such group.

    Thanks and I will continue to consider and process your other comments.
     
  11. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the clarifications.

    I do apologize if I have offended you by my labeling you a universalist.

    You now state that YOU would not consider yourself a universalist. I accept that is what you believe.

    But you have me confused then by your prior comments & questions & this new assertion. Perhaps you don't consider yourself one but some of your statements & the questions appear to point to or definitely agree with that persuasion of belief. Further discussion as to what you further believe is needed to clear up confusion.

    But please don't try to portray yourself or be disingenuous that you ONLY have questions. Behind questions is a personal belief system. I will show just two brief examples of your own statements & move on.

    This is a classic statement of a person who believes universalist teaching. Now do you see why I am confused?

    It is not just that some might be cast into hell, but not one single person should be if one single person is saved who didn't put their faith in Him--that is arbitrary & cruel--implying only a cruel & arbitrary God could cast ANYONE into hell--& whoever believes that believes in a false God, not the God of the Bible. I have dealt with that line of thinking & reasoning for years.

    It appears you believe in the age of accountability. Do you? And if you do then do you believe it is an 'inescapable conclusion?'

    You claim to believe (not only just asking questions) as 'Origen, Lewis AND MANY OTHERS...

    My question would be who these 'many others' are down through history & what they believed about people not needing faith in Christ to save them. You seem to have knowledge of many, not just some here or there down through all of recorded Christian history. Then I would be interested in comparing that with what you believe & what I understand to be the truth, in the Holy Scriptures.

    Origen was shown to be a heretic, though a very intelligent man. C.S. Lewis continually affirmed in his writings his biblical belief in the Scriptural doctrines of heaven & hell, although he didn't like the idea of hell. He gave some insights about it & heaven that are revealing. I know of only one short passage in 'The Chronicles of Narnia,' a fictional book, that may be questionable, as another Christian author has shown in his book about C.S. Lewis.

    I will get back to the topic as I have time. As to babies not having faith, I will address that, in my understanding of Scripture. Thanks for the discussion so far.
     
  12. questionman

    questionman New Member Supporter

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    Thanks for your response, Mathetes66.

    You might find it informative to read my introduction as it gives some background on where I'm coming from (Hello and why I'm here).

    I wouldn't call it disingenuous to say that I only have questions. Indeed I do, and I am struggling with what my "personal belief system" and convictions should be. I am not convinced of universalism. I do not have an agenda to make anyone else here a Universalist or anything else. Here I am struggling with the idea that God may save some without explicit faith in Christ (i.e. babies) and how that can be understood in regards to others in the same category but may be adults.

    I said I don't like labels, but the label would be Inclusivism, not Universalism. I do not believe that God could not cast anyone into hell. I think there will be people sent to hell. My comments in that regard reflect an emotional plea to understand the justice of God, not to make an accusation against him or to make a doctrinal statement. I apologize for the confusion if I have led you to believe that.

    I think I do believe in the age of accountability, or rather, perhaps I should say that I do believe that God, the judge of all the earth will do right, and philosophically and morally it seems right to save babies, children, mentally retarded, etc. My only contention then is that it also seems right that others will be saved as well who do not put affirmative faith in Christ, including some of those who have never even heard of Christianity. It is not an illogical (or perhaps even unbiblical) leap.

    You may find it helpful to read Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World (https://www.amazon.com/Four-Views-Salvation-Pluralistic-World-dp-0310212766/dp/0310212766) to understand some of the biblical, philosophical, and moral arguments for the Inclusivist position.

    As far as the many others you're asking me to list out for you, you'll find a few referenced in that book. For lack of a better comprehensive log of supporters at hand, I refer you to the Wikipedia page on the topic that lists several (Inclusivism - Wikipedia).

    I hope I have satisfied your requests.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
  13. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks so much, questionman, for seeking to clear up a number of confusions I have with your questions & statements. Your intro revealed much to me concerning your quest for seeking the truth & 'a man on a journey to find his way & his own convictions.'

    I commend you on seeing that the TEACHINGS of Christianity explain the 'meaning & purpose of life & give one a hope for the future.' And that Christianity is the 'best comprehensive explanation of life for me.' The TEACHINGS indeed do just that.

    You remind me of me in my search for answers in life before I became a Christian, before I CHOSE to confess Jesus Christ as LORD & Master of my life & lovingly obey & FOLLOW Him. It was that day back in 1971 that I repented of seeking & trying to find my own way & turning away from & giving up all that I wanted.

    I gave up trying to live the Christian life because I couldn't do it. The harder I tried, the more miserable I became because I was missing THE ONE THING that was absolutely essential: the Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

    It wasn't until I realized that I was lost & without Christ in the world, that I was separated from Jesus because of my sins & my rebellion to not follow Him as Lord, that I knew I needed Christ to save me & to forgive me & reconcile me to Himself. That is when I cried out to Him to save me.

    That day I was born a second time in this life, spiritually, by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. At that time I was made alive spiritually, given eternal life by Jesus & suddenly I KNEW Jesus, not just about Him or about what He taught. I knew the living God! My life has never been the same since.


    Martin Luther: 'Born once, die twice; born twice, die only once.'


    I Cor 2:9-14 Rather, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

    For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may UNDERSTAND what God has freely given us. 13And this is what we speak, NOT in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught BY THE SPIRIT, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

    14The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him & he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    You mentioned 19 times what you wanted. Not once did you mention in those 19 things (as wonderful as they were as ideals) the Lord Jesus Christ & wanting HIM! When you sought to quote Peter at the beginning of your intro, It made me stop because it didn't sound right. So I looked up what you wrote & could find no translation of any Bible with the words that you used.

    "In many ways I feel like Peter when he said "to whom [else] shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." Christianity has ideas that make my heart sing. Ideas that calm the inner turmoil of my soul...I want eternal life OFFERED BY CHRISTIANITY."

    What was missing? LORD. Peter & the apostles confessed Him as their LORD & MASTER & as every person does who becomes saved, confessing with his/her lips, that Jesus is Lord.

    Peter said, 'LORD--to Whom shall we go? YOU have the words of eternal life.' It isn't Christianity that offers eternal life, it is the Lord & Master, Jesus Christ. It isn't Christianity that saves us, it is the Savior & King of kings & Lord of lords.

    It isn't Christianity that makes someone a better husband or wife or father or mother, it is the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died for His own Bride, His Body, His sheep--& nourishes & cherishes His dwelling place in the Spirit, His church. It isn't Christianity that grants us resurrection from the dead & able to enter life in His kingdom--it is those who believe in Him as 'the Resurrection & the Life' & follow Him. He will return for His own.

    Christianity isn't a set of rules & teachings that we follow on our own efforts, as good & as sincere as we might be; we follow the one true Messiah of Scripture, we follow one Lord, One Teacher--who does have the very words of eternal life & makes available the power & grace TO live IN HIM. (See Galatians 2:20,21)

    Without Christ, Christianity is just another religion with rules we must try to follow on our own power & effort, to which we continually fail & continually fall short of the glory of God. We must not miss the Master in the midst of the words or we have lost all! We aren't persecuted for following Christianity, we are persecuted for following the Lord Jesus Christ.

    John 5:37-40 And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified about Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, nor does His word abide in you, because you do not believe the One He sent. You pore over (search diligently) the Scriptures because you presume that by them (keeping them) you possess eternal life. These are the very words that testify ABOUT Me, yet you refuse to come TO Me that you may have life.

    Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way & the truth & the life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.

    Acts 4:8-12 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers & elders of the people! If we are being examined today about a kind service to a man who was lame, to determine HOW he was healed, then let this be known to all of you & to all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

    11He is ‘the stone you builders REJECTED, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation exists IN NO ONE ELSE, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven GIVEN TO MEN by which we MUST be saved.”

    The Apostle Paul says the same thing concerning the nation of Israel. The nation, as a whole, rejected Jesus as the Messiah & would not confess Him as Master--as Lord. They did not submit to God's righteousness, found only in Jesus. He gives the gift of life & righteousness to those who believe in Him, confessing Him as Lord & following Him. Yet--they were zealous for God but not according to the right knowledge of how one is righteous before God. The Jew," said Josephus, "knows the Law better than his own name...The sacred rules were punctually observed."

    Romans 10:1-17 Brothers, my heart’s desire & prayer to God for the Israelites is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they are ZEALOUS for God, but NOT on the basis of knowledge. 3Because they were ignorant of God’s righteousness & sought to establish their own, they did NOT SUBMIT to God’s righteousness. 4For CHRIST IS the end of the law, to bring righteousness TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES.

    5For concerning the righteousness that is BY THE LAW, Moses writes: “The man who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is BY FAITH says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or, ‘Who will descend into the Abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”

    8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth & IN YOUR HEART,” that is, THE WORD OF FAITH we are proclaiming: that if you CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH, “Jesus is Lord” & believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe & are justified & with your mouth you confess & are saved.

    11It is just as the Scripture says: “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” For there is NO difference between Jew & Greek: The same Lord is LORD OF ALL & gives richly to all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD will be saved.”

    14How then can they call on the One in whom they have NOT believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have NOT heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those whog bring good news (the gospel)!”

    16But not all of them obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes by hearing & hearing by the word of Christ. But I ask, DID THEY NOT HEAR. INDEED THEY DID: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

    Paul Himself describes his journey, as a devout orthodox Jew, from being zealous for God & even passing up many of His contemporaries, even consenting to the murder of many Christians & persecuting them. That was his misguided zeal, under another religion. But when He met Jesus Christ Himself, whom he was persecuting his response was, 'Lord, what would you have me to do?' (See also Philippians 3:3-15)

    He thought (wrong knowledge) that this is what God wanted by Law--even as many Christians are murdered & persecuted today by Muslims, thinking this is what God wants if they REFUSE TO CONFESS the 'Shahadah.' ("There is no God but Allah & Muhammad is his messenger" one of the 5 pillars of Islam) You see Muslims have those who believe in Islam also make a CONFESSION--but it is to confess & follow Muhammed & the false god, Allah--not to the Lord Jesus Christ, who IS THE ONE TRUE GOD (I John 5:20; John 8:58, etc.)

    The same is true for Hindu's--of yet another religion--who persecute & murder Christians & the number is growing in India today.

    I met a Christian pastor in India when I traveled in the country with my brother. He had been beaten a number of times by Hindu's, to whom he was preaching the gospel & the last time left for dead. But just as Paul was beaten that way, yet the Lord raised him up, so too, this pastor came to life & continued to preach Christ as Lord & salvation in no one else. When i saw him, his face literally glowed with the glory of Christ, as he approached us.

    He had billboards all around his house (I have a slide of it) with Scripture passages. He was finally left alone, being considered a 'holy man of God.' He had built an addition onto his house for a meeting place for those Hindu's he had led to the Lord, establishing a local church, a body of believers in Jesus. Amazing! Humbling to me, who has not yet faced such persecution for my faith in following the Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Paul & Barnabas had to face being named as the false gods of the Lycaonian cities (Zeus & Hermes) & they were going to offer sacrifices to them, saying, 'The gods have come down to us in human form.' They had to be corrected by Paul & Barnabas & taught the 'true knowledge of salvation & righteousness' in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. (see Acts 14:1-23).

    To persecute a Christian is to persecute Christ! (Acts 9:1-6; Acts 22:1-22)

    From the abundant Scriptures above, salvation cannot be given to those who don't put their faith & trust in the Lord. There is no one else, there is no other Name by which people are saved. Jesus Himself taught that plainly & truthfully: NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME. You can't get any clearer than that--all of Christianity is based on what Christ taught with authority. You can't accept one thing He says & reject another thing He taught.

    One of your assumptions is that babies, infants who die in the womb naturally or by abortions, as terribly sad as that is, don't have faith. That is not a correct assumption per Scripture as I understand it. That is one of the things I was going to further elaborate on & on your emotional appeal to understand the justice of God. It will be addressed in my next post.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  14. questionman

    questionman New Member Supporter

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    Yes, I have had exactly this experience. I grew up in a Christian family going to church all the time, so I have had knowledge of Christianity for my whole life. It wasn't in college, however, until I truly saw my need and repented for the first time. Since then, I'd say my life is one ongoing prayer for forgiveness and reconciliation and hope for eternal life.

    I recognize the absence of those specific words in my post, although it's hard to read the paragraph and not assume an intimate, personal relationship with God.

    The passage I'm quoting here is John 6:68.

    I look forward to reading more about this.

    Thanks!
     
  15. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks again for responding back, questionman. I appreciate that. Yet your answers continue to deeply concern me, again not even mentioning Jesus by name once.

    In your further answers to my questions, you still have not acknowledged Him by Name nor by His being your Lord & Master! Your belief in inclusivism has in my respectful opinion, blinded you to the truth of the exclusive gospel message, as taught by Jesus Himself.

    Again my sincere concern is that in your testimony, you still have not confessed Jesus as YOUR Lord & Master, exclusively, nor again even mentioning His Name on your lips.

    You mention you saw a need in college? What need? You don't clarify. You mention you repented for the first time in college. Repented from what? Toward whom? These are crucial in whether one is truly saved or not.

    On the contrary, the very reading of the paragraph, according to Jesus' own words & what Scripture teaches, shows me a lack of an intimate personal relationship with JESUS. That is the very reason why I voiced my concern. These are wants, not speaking them as though reality. I do not know hearts, only God does unless He reveals them nor who is saved. But Scripture abundantly gives us many EVIDENCES for those who are saved.

    I was deceived BECAUSE of my pride in thinking I knew about Christianity & the Bible & growing up hearing about it. But I didn't know Christ personally nor would openly confess Him as Lord. I was still going my own way according to my own understanding & will--that I was the Lord in my life.

    I Corinthians 12:1-3 Now concerning what comes from the Spirit, brothers, I do not want you to misunderstand this. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute (unable to even speak--Psalm 115:1-8) idols, however you were led.

    2Therefore I declare to you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed" ('anathema') AND no one can say, "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.

    I Cor 8:1ff Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes one proud, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know--

    Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world & that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods & many lords),

    6yet FOR US there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, & we for Him & {there is} ONE LORD Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things & through whom we LIVE. However, there is not in everyone that knowledge...

    I, myself, was lost, spiritually dead in my trespasses & sins & separated from Christ, even though I knew about these things. I 'thought' I was saved & sincerely 'hoped' I was saved, but I didn't KNOW I was saved because I hadn't confessed Him as Lord, my Lord.

    A 'mathetes' or disciple & follower of the Lord Jesus Christ BELIEVES what He taught & teaches others to do the same.

    Luke 6:46 "Why do you keep calling Me LORD, LORD & not do what I tell you?

    Matt 7:13ff Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate & broad is the way that leads to DESTRUCTION & there are MANY who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate & difficult is the way which leads to life & there are FEW who find it.

    Not everyone who says to Me, ‘LORD, LORD,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY he who does THE WILL of My Father in heaven.

    22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘LORD, LORD, have we not prophesied IN YOUR NAME, cast out demons IN YOUR NAME & done many wonders IN YOUR NAME?’ And then I will DECLARE to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    I was lost DESPITE knowing the content of the gospel message & asserting it was true. I prayed a lot but did not know the One to which I was praying. I only 'hoped' I did. He certainly didn't know me as one of His sheep.

    Luke 13:23-30 Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there FEW who are saved?" And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for MANY, I say to you, will SEEK to enter & WILL NOT BE ABLE. {see Hebrews 12:17)

    25When once the Master of the house has risen up & shut the door & you begin to stand outside & knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us’ & He will answer & say to you, ‘I do NOT know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate & drank in Your presence & You taught in our streets.’

    But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. DEPART from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be
    weeping & gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac & Jacob & all the prophets in the kingdom of God & yourselves thrust out.

    Matt 22:10-14 And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend (comrade)*, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand & foot, take him away & cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping & gnashing of teeth.’

    For many are called, but few are chosen.” *(Greek 2083 in Strong's Concordance: hetaíros – properly, a companion (normally an imposter), posing to be a comrade but in reality only has his own interests in mind.)

    The point I was making on John 6:68, which again you seem to have missed, is you misquoted it, because you left out Peter's confession, calling Jesus his LORD!

    Thomas was in unbelief in John 20 until Jesus appeared & personally told him, 'Stop unbelieving & believe.' And what was Thomas' confession to Jesus after seeing His hands & side? 'MY LORD & MY GOD!' It literally means, 'the Lord of me & the God of me.'

    Moving on. The reason I say that infants & aborted babies are saved is that they have faith, not an absence of faith in knowing the Lord. One must plainly understand these Scriptures:

    Hebrews 11:1ff Now faith is the assurance (conviction) of what we hope for & the certainty of what we do not see. This is WHY the ANCIENTS were commended...These were all commended FOR THEIR FAITH, yet they did not receive what was promised. God had planned something better for us, so that TOGETHER WITH US they would be made perfect.

    All those in the past who were saved, were saved by faith in the one true & only God (please read through Hebrews 11).

    'Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.' (Heb 11:6)

    Scripture says what it means & means what it says. Without faith in the one true God of Scripture (not in false gods of other religions) NO ONE can please God. We are found to be teaching & believing 'ANOTHER GOSPEL BY ANOTHER SPIRIT & BELIEVING IN A DIFFERENT JESUS.'

    2 Cor 11:3,4 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin TO CHRIST. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be LED ASTRAY FROM a sincere & pure devotion TO CHRIST.

    4For if someone comes & proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you tolerate it too easily.

    Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting HIM--who called you in the grace of Christ & are turning to a DIFFERENT gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you & want to DISTORT the gospel of Christ.

    8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be ACCURSED. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel CONTRARY to the one you received, let him be accursed.

    So if someone is teaching that people can please God apart from faith in the Scriptural 'good news,' that teaching is distorting the one true Gospel message taught by Christ Himself & then His apostles & writers of Scripture & has continued to be taught as the orthodox teaching of Christianity all down through history.

    It hasn't changed. It remains the same message & 'the faith once for all delivered to the saints.' (Jude 1:3--please read rest of Jude)

    So why do I believe from Scripture that these infants have faith, even from within the womb of a mother, even if they never live beyond the womb or live a short time outside the womb, as far as life expectancy is measured today?

    First of all they couldn't please God or be accepted by Him without faith. It is impossible for anyone to do so. Jesus & the Scriptures teach the following concerning infants & babies.

    Psalm 139:13ff "For You formed my INNERMOST BEING; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully & wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your work & I know this very well. My frame was not hidden from You--

    Your eyes saw my unformed body; EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

    Babies are in the womb up to 9 months or even longer; up to 270 days or longer. What occurs with a baby in the womb during those 270 days? God has it all recorded in the book for each person's life.

    Job 31:13-18 If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me, what then shall I do when God rises up? When He makes inquiry, what shall I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make him? And did not One fashion us in the womb?

    16“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone & the fatherless has not eaten of it (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father & from my mother’s womb I guided the widow)...then let...

    Psalm 22:9,10 Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts. Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother's womb.

    Isaiah 44:2 Thus says the LORD who made & formed you from the womb, who will help you, 'Do not fear, O Jacob My servant.

    Psalm 71:6 By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother's womb; my praise is continually of You.

    Luke 1:14,15,41 He will be a joy & delight to you & many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He shall never take wine or strong drink & he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s WOMB.

    When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb & Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Matt 11:25 At that time Jesus made answer & said, I give praise to you, O Father, LORD of heaven & earth, because you have kept these things secret from the wise & the men of learning & have made them clear to little children (babies).

    Matt 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be CONVERTED & BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN, you will NOT enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    Matt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these LITTLE ONES WHICH BELIEVE IN ME, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck & that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    Matt 18:10 "Be careful not to look with scorn on a single one of these little children, for I tell you that in heaven their angels have uninterrupted access to my Father in heaven.

    Matt 19:13,14 (Mark 10:13,14) Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put His hands on them & pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Permit these little children & do not forbid them to COME TO ME; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

    Mark 10:16 Then He took the little children into His arms & as He laid His hands upon them ONE BY ONE, He tenderly blessed them.

    Matt 21:16 "Do you hear what they are saying?" Jesus answered them, "Yes. Have you never READ THIS, 'Out of the mouths of little children, yea, of infants, You have perfect praise'?"

    Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such little children in My Name, receives Me & whosoever receives Me, receives not Me, but Him that sent Me.

    Luke 7:32 They are LIKE little children sitting in the marketplace, calling to one another & saying, We piped to you [playing wedding], & you did not dance; we sang dirges & wailed [playing funeral] & you did not weep.

    Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto Him & said, Suffer little children to come unto Me & forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

    Romans 2:20 ...An educator of the senseless, a teacher of LITTLE CHILDREN, because you have in the law the essential features of knowledge & of the truth --

    I Cor 14:20 My brothers, do not be children in mind: in evil be AS LITTLE CHILDREN, but in mind be of full growth.

    Eph 4:14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves & blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of DECEIT.

    I Thess 2:7 although we could have imposed our weight as apostles of Christ; instead we became LITTLE CHILDREN among you. Like a nursing mother caring for her own children...

    1 John 2:13,14 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

    2 Chron 20:13 And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives & their children.

    Gen 47:24 When you gather in the crop, give one-fifth of it to Pharaoh & the rest will be yours for seed for the fields & for you to eat, including those in your households AND YOUR LITTLE CHILDREN."

    Deut 1:39 And your little children, who you thought shall become plunder & your sons, who do NOT today know good or bad, will themselves go there & I will give it to them & they will take possession of it.

    Isaiah 7:15 By the time he knows enough to reject evil & choose good, He will be eating curds & honey.

    Rom 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls)

    Deut 31:12 Assemble the people, the men & the women & THE LITTLE CHILDREN & your aliens that are in your towns, so that they may hear & so that they may learn & they may revere Yahweh your God & {they shall diligently observe} all the words of this law.

    Joshua 8:35 There was not a word from all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before the assembly of all Israel & the women, the LITTLE CHILDREN & the traveling foreigners among them.

    Proverbs 30:24 Four are little ones of earth & they are made wiser than the wise...
     
  16. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    (continued)

    2 Tim 3:13-15 ...Evil men & imposters go from bad to worse, deceiving & being deceived. But as for you, continue in the things you have learned & firmly believed, since you know from whom you have learned them & how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

    I Cor 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did NOT know Him...

    I Sam 2:18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a CHILD

    Psalm 19:7 The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

    Modern scientists have proven that it is possible to communicate with your baby while it is in the womb. They are still catching up to the truth of that as taught in Scripture. My brother-in-law read the Bible to his oldest son while he was still in the womb, & he & my sister prayed he would be a godly man when he grows up.

    Today he is a pastor, has two children & married to a lovely Christian woman & rightly divides the word of truth.

    Newborns can recognize the voices they’ve been hearing for the last trimester in the womb, especially the sounds that come from their mothers, and prefer those voices to the voices of strangers.

    John 10:4,5 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them & his sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

    Romans 1:18ff For the WRATH OF GOD is revealed from heaven AGAINST all ungodliness & unrighteousness of men, who SUPPRESS (HOLD DOWN) THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS,

    19because what may be KNOWN OF GOD IS MANIFEST (REVEALED) IN THEM--for God has shown it to them.

    20For SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by things that are made, even His eternal power & Godhead, so that they are WITHOUT EXCUSE

    21because, although THEY KNEW GOD, they did NOT glorify Him AS GOD NOR WERE THANKFUL, but became futile in their thoughts, & their foolish hearts were darkened...who exchanged the truth of God for the lie & WORSHIPED & SERVED THE CREATION RATHER THAN THE CREATOR, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    Infants, babies & children, in the womb or out of it, are like sponges & always learning, from people & their environment, even long before they can communicate verbally. They listen & respond, even though they cannot yet speak.

    Babies in the womb have WITHIN them, the knowledge of God. God puts it there in every human heart. They have yet to refuse that belief within or time to suppress that truth in unrighteousness. Although they have not yet done anything good or evil, they do know God from within, from their innermost being, when God knit them together, body, soul & spirit, in their mother's womb.

    Jesus repeatedly taught (as seen in verses above) that we all must become LIKE infants, babies & little children, with a childlike faith & unhypocritical trust, if any of us are to enter the kingdom of God.

    Again without faith it is impossible to please the Lord.

    Where the problem comes in & when we become children of wrath, like the rest of mankind, is when children no longer trust & choose to do evil rather than good & learn how to suppress the truth about God He put within them & choose to seek things of this world rather than seek God.

    I spearheaded a Christian outreach one summer, ministering to people in nursing homes. I remember talking to one severely mentally challenged person there & at one point, simply asked him, "Do you know Jesus?" His immediate response was to break out in a big smile, with joy & said, "I know Jesus Christ, God's Son!"

    I know a number of parents with similar children & all of them know the Lord, in their simple lives. I remember my niece's daughter, barely able to communicate with words, bow her head on her own & pray to the Lord, even though one could not fully understand her words...BUT the Lord did!

    Simple faith from within the innermost being, put there by God, simply waiting for the seed to grow & produce fruit. But those, even from a young age, who change the truth & knowledge of God from within, for a lie & serve the creation rather than the Creator--HAVE NO EXCUSE.

    That is why we Christians pray in the spiritual battle for the souls of people all over the globe & preach the good news of the Savior of the world, telling each person we come in contact with, as Jesus did: Jesus went into Galilee & proclaimed the gospel of God. “The time is fulfilled,” He said, “& the kingdom of God is near. Repent & believe in the gospel!” (Mark 1:15,16)

    Much more can be said, but I will stop there.
     
  17. questionman

    questionman New Member Supporter

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    Mathetes66, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    I am sorry that my shorthand, summarization and desire not to be theologically verbose has concerned or offended you.

    To be explicit, in college I came under the conviction of the holy spirit as to the nature of my sin and my need for a savior. That I was filled with pride and self worship and wanted to replace God in his rightful place. God opened my eyes that I was a sinner without hope and that I can do nothing to save myself. There is no inherent goodness and there is no work that I can accomplish that would cause God to save me. I came to the conviction that there is no salvation for me except through the blood of Jesus and his atonement on the cross. I have no other hope but to throw myself upon his mercy and trust in no righteousness other than that which he imputed to my account when he justified me. Were I to stand in front of the Judge this day and asked to give an account, I would say something to the effect of "I am a sinner, guilty on all charges. I have no other hope than Jesus Christ who shed his blood for me." As far as what I repented from, specific sins, sure, but also the fundamental reality of self love and self worship above the true worship of God. I made the decision to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. I do not remember a day, but there was a season of time during college where these convictions took hold.

    As far as my inclusivist leanings, I would say that based on my definition of inclusivism, I would think that you too would be an inclusivist, and that it is the normative understanding of the history of God's working. Please take no offense because I know you'll disagree, but what I mean is that I believe we both believe there are many people in heaven who have not explicitly or affirmatively put their faith in a God-Man named Jesus Christ who died on a cross on their behalf, imputing righteousness or any of the other rich theological doctrines we now believe about Jesus.

    Here is a short list:

    Adam
    Enoch
    Noah
    Abraham
    Melchizedek
    Isaac
    Jacob
    Joseph
    Moses
    Joshua
    David
    Solomon
    Isaiah
    Jeremiah
    Etc.

    Hebrews 11 (especially v39-40) is clear that these people died in faith without explicit knowledge of or faith in Jesus Christ and the grace of the gospel and yet that the salvation of Christ was applied to them.

    Besides the biblical evidence of these believers being "saved" apart from the doctrinal requirements you have put forth, here are some Bible passages to consider since you have at least once appealed to the whole counsel of Scripture. I acknowledge many of these are argued as biblical support for universalism.

    1 Cor 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."

    Col 1:19-20 "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

    Rom 5:18 "Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men."

    Rom 11:32 "For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all."

    1 Tim 4:9-10 "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe."

    Heb 2:9 "But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

    Phil 2:9-11 "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

    Luke 2:10 "And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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