The Gospel for Real Life

A Bruised Reed

Recently some friends of mine had a baby boy named Reed. I have not met him yet, but I look forward to doing so someday. Reed had many health complications in the womb and it got to a point to where an emergency C-section was performed in order to try to save this little boy’s life. Once out of the womb, Reed was poked and tested and tubed. In all of this, many people prayed for him – that God would be glorified in healing him. There were definite times where God intervened and brought about unexpected results; however, God brought Reed to Himself yesterday. We may have been praying for physical healing of Reed, but the Lord didn’t answer that way. The Bible is clear that one of the reasons this would happen is because God loves Reed more than we can imagine, and He chose what is best.

When I first heard of Reed’s name, I was reminded of a favorite verse of mine: “a bruised reed he will not break. . .” (Is. 42:3). Probably in all the poking and tests for Reed, he was bruised. He experienced some pain in the body. In a much more literal sense, he was a bruised Reed. In God’s great love, God fulfilled His promise in Reed’s life. He did not break him. Meaning, even though Reed died, God did not allow him to experience condemnation. Instead, He rescued him. He brought Reed to an everlasting rest.

God, the Father, knows the pain of searing loss. Jesus, the Son, knows what it is like to experience pain and death. And, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, Reed is worshiping in Heaven today. Can you imagine what that must be like to never really know what life on a sin-cursed earth is like? Can you imagine the joy that Reed is experiencing while our Heavenly Father is teaching him more about Himself? Can you imagine what Reed is thinking? Now, Reed is one of the great cloud of witnesses cheering all of us on. And, while he did not live on this earth for very long, he’s saying, “It’s worth it! Follow Jesus! Seek Him. He didn’t break me – this bruised Reed. He rescued me, and He can rescue you.”

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7 responses

  1. kingpoiuy

    What is your biblical evidence for infant salvation?

    August 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

  2. Obviously, in order for an infant to be saved, it cannot be on their own merits or innocence (because they bring no merit and they are dead in trespasses and sins). They can only be saved on the basis of Christ’s work and the regeneration of the Spirit.

    On the concept of God bringing regeneration into an unborn baby or even an infant, I think that is entirely feasible when you read about John the Baptist in Luke 1:15 – “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” Romans 8 makes it clear that if you have the Spirit, you have Christ. Also, in Psalm 22:9-10, David says he trusted God from infancy. Therefore, it is entirely feasible for an unborn and born baby to be regenerate.

    The next question is whether or not that is the norm. I fully admit that this issue is not dealt with in full clarity in the Scriptures; however, there are at least indicators that reveal God’s concern for the unborn, and there are many Scriptures that reveal that God’s frequent pattern is to (at a minimum) save children of those who believe in him (see Gen. 7:1; cf. Heb. 11:7; Josh. 2:18; Ps. 103:17; John 4:53; Acts 2:39; 11:14(?); 16:31; 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:15; 7:14; Titus 1:6; cf. Matt. 18:10, 14). Obviously this doesn’t mean that all children of believers are saved, but this seems to be a more normative pattern.

    So far we see that unborn children can be regenerated, but that may not be normative. Yet, we see that there is a normative pattern of children of believers coming to Christ.

    Now we move to the incident with David and the death of the child of Bathsheba, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:23). I know that there is debate as to what the real meaning of this verse is, but when seeking to understand Scriptures, we have to go with the clearest possible meaning. In this scenario, David is sorrowing over the loss of his son. He comforts himself with the words that he will go to him. Some say that this simply means that David is saying, “I’m going to the grave, too.” But, that doesn’t seem to fit the scenario of David seeking to comfort himself. How does it bring comfort to say, “I’m going to die, too, and my son is never coming back”?

    Either way, I admit that the Scriptures do not speak much on child salvation, but it does allude to some thing which, I believe, at least point in the direction of at least some (if not many, most or all infants) go to Heaven.

    That said, our ultimate hope is not in whether or not my child who died in my wife’s womb (or Reed who died outside of the womb) is in Heaven. My hope ultimately must rest in the Sovereign care and glory of God.

    Here are two articles that I would recommend you read. I may not agree with everything in it, but it does lead one to see certain passages relating to children and salvation: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/what-happens-to-infants-who-die and http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0411.htm

    August 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    • kingpoiuy

      Thank you for your thorough response. I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but your initial post seemed so definite and absolute that I had to find out more. It seems to me that there is no sure answer; as you have indicated. My thought is that God does what is necessary in all things, and this particular subject we simply don’t have much information on what God’s intention would be. The examples of infant salvation in scripture seem to be special cases (non-normative), and in my mind don’t indicate a set pattern for all; just like the resurrection of Lazarus doesn’t indicate that anyone can be resurrected.

      I guess my main question is going to be related to the method of salvation. As much as I want all babies to go to heaven it would require that they have a different path to salvation than adults. Unless a mental response in the human mind to God’s call is not required, then God can choose baby and adult just the same without any conflict in methods of salvation. In this latter situation babies would then fall into the same category as adults, so some would be saved and some would not. If this is the case then where does repentance come in for the infant?

      Even though I do respect Mr. Piper I have to say that his view seems to be rather twisted. Piper believes that infants are brought to heaven in order to mature in a deprived state until they can be glorified? I’m disappointed by his tendency to make up stories in order to please the mourning.

      I hope this subject is not too sensitive. I don’t wish to cause grief for anyone.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

      • I don’t think it requires a different path to salvation. Jesus is the path. Now, if you’re saying that everyone must give mental assent, then yes, that MAY be different. Also, I would encourage you to change your sentence which accuses Piper of making up stories in order to please the mourning. That assumes too much. While we can disagree, there is no need to bring up false accusations that assume Piper is just trying to please the mourning (instead of seeking to glorify God and understand the Scriptures).

        Also, keep in mind, it seems as though sound Christians throughout the centuries have believed that at least some infants go to Heaven. It’s an aberration when you hear of Christians who think all babies go to Hell.

        Also, one other note. You ask, “where does repentance come in for the infant?” If you tie in Piper’s arguments, don’t you think that God (on the basis of His mercy) could grant repentance and faith to any child who is going to die in infancy?

        August 23, 2011 at 10:31 am

  3. kingpoiuy

    As I said, I respect Piper on most subjects, but his theory of babies maturing in heaven has no basis that I can find, and he provides none. This is only one example. Another would be, “only those who have been chosen for salvation will be allowed to die in infancy” which he quotes from Spurgeon. Where is that found in the scriptures? If there is no basis for something being told – it is a fictional story.

    Has anyone said even once that all babies go to hell? I don’t know why you included that. I haven’t said it, you haven’t, and neither has Piper or Spurgeon. Is there somone else here?

    Can God give all infants salvation? Well, of course! Did He? If he did then He never said anything about it. I believe he chose us before the foundations of the earth, and we don’t know who he chooses – baby or not.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:58 am

    • kingpoiuy – I am sorry if I offended you or put you on the defensive. I think, at a base level, we agree even though I tend to lean more towards all babies going to Heaven due to many passages pointing that direction. However, I would not die for that position because of the lack of full clarity. Again, ultimately, I rest my case in the sovereignty, justice and goodness of God. Of that, I know we both agree and can leave it there.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm

  4. Pingback: It Is Not Death To Die « Xaris – How Firm A Foundation

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