Friday, October 4, 2013

Bathed in Light: The Innocence of Children

My sister took this incredible picture of Kevin
There is a doctrine believed by many churches, but it is NOT taught by mine.  This doctrine states that children are born evil and if they were to die unbaptized, they are damned.

Kevin was not born evil.  There is not an evil bone in his body.  My boy was born pure and perfect.  He'd never sinned, nor was he capable of doing so.  He was a beautiful, innocent angel.

All babies are born without sin.  Many churches believe that because of the sins of Adam, children are born with his stain upon them.  However, how does that make any sense?  God only judges me on what I decide to do, not on what my parents did.

I do agree that there were consequences from the fall of Adam.  His and Eve's transgression led us to be capable of sin and to be separated from God.  We became able to sin and die, and both are forms of death.  Sin is a spiritual death, and the actual dying of the body is a physical death. 

Christ however rectified that.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22
 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I love those versus.  They show that if one man's decision was able to cause an entire people's death, it was only just that one man's decision could save everyone as well.  Adam caused death to occur, so Christ is able to save everyone, if they will only let him.

Christ is called the Savior and Redeemer.  He is called the Savior, because everyone without exception will be saved from physical death.  We believe that every single person who has ever lived will be resurrected, regardless of what kind of person they were.  That's because the decision that everyone would die has no merit on who they were or what they did.  If you are a bad or a good person, you still die.  So, if you are a bad or a good person, Christ will raise you from the dead.  

However, He is called the Redeemer because he also redeems his people.  We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.   In order to redeem a coupon, you must make some kind of action.  You have to take it to the store and use it.  Everyone can be given a coupon, but if it just sits in your home, it never does you any good.  

So it is with Christ's atonement.  Christ's atonement is for everyone without exception.  However, it is our choice whether or not we use it.  God has given us commandments and asked us to do certain things.  The greatest gift that he has given us is the power of choice.  God will NEVER make us do something.  He will ask us and command us, but ultimately it is our decision.  Thus, God will not save us unless we want to be saved.  Our own sins are our choices.  We can be forgiven of our sins and become clean enough to return to the presence of God if we are willing to do all that he has asked us to do. That includes baptism.  

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Baptism is essential to our entering of the kingdom of God.  

So what does that mean for young children?  Does that mean that if they are not baptized, they are damned?


In the Book of Mormon, we learn this wonderful truth.  A prophet named Moroni had a similar question arise in his day, and this is the answer that he gained from the Lord.

Moroni 8:5-15

 For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.
 And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle.
 For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying:
 8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.
 And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.
 10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.
 11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.
 12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!
 13 Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.
 14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.
 15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

Christ's atonement covers those who are incapable of committing sin. As children become accountable, around the age of 8, then they become responsible for their sins.  Then they are asked to be baptized.  

Children are whole and perfect.  They haven't yet learned the difference between good and evil.  When Kevin smiles at me, it is a smile of perfect joy.  There is no deception, no sadness, and no uncertainty.  He is a perfect being.  If he were to die now, he would go straight to heaven, there is no doubt in my mind.  However, as I raise him and teach him what is right and wrong, he will begin to understand.  With that understanding comes a responsibility for his actions. 

There is hope for us all.  We all have the choice to come unto Christ and be redeemed from our sins.  Little children though are bathed in the light of Christ.  They have no need of repentance.  They are already in the arms of God.

So fear not for those children who have died before baptism.  God has made provisions for them, for He loves them so much more than we can possibly understand.  

And, if we live our lives as we should, we'll be able to be reunited with those children when we leave this life.  I know this is true.  I can feel the truth of it with my soul.  I know the Book of Mormon is scripture that works along with the Bible to bring us to truth and salvation.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, I want a coupon. That analogy is awesome. Yes babys are so precious. They are pure beings. I believe they are closer to God than any of us.