Every grieving parent, having lost a pre-born, an infant or a young child, wrestles with the issue of the eternal destiny of their little one. They hope that the premature death of their babies does not preclude the possibility that these babies are in heaven awaiting a glorious reunion.
The Scriptures do not unequivocally state that babies go to heaven when they die. But there is some evidence that suggests we can trust God’s grace for their eternal destiny. A number of biblical references support this view.
King David’s first son with Bathsheba died just after birth as a judgment from God due to David’s sin of murder and adultery. Although grieved, David accepted God’s judgment and said that one day he would join his son. Since we have confidence that David enjoys God’s presence as he awaits his resurrection body, we can have confidence that his newborn is also there (II Samuel 13:21-23).
In fact Jesus described the trusting mind-set of little children as a prerequisite for entering the Kingdom of God. He even said that whoever welcomed a little child in his name welcomed Him (Matthew 18:1-5). Jesus loved little children and scolded the disciples for squelching their requests to be with Him, saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14). These are wonderful affirmations of the Father’s love for little ones, whose guardian angels behold the face of God continually (Matthew 18:10) and who is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost (Matthew 18:14).
Babies that go to heaven are not accepted because they are innocent. Even babies are born in sin (Psalm 51:5; 58:3) and inherit both Adam’s guilt and his sinful nature (Romans 5:12). Their entrance into heaven is purchased by the blood of Jesus applied on their behalf. For there is salvation only in Christ; no one, no matter what age, can be saved apart from the merits of the Savior’s atoning work.
Every believing parent can be encouraged as they trust their Heavenly Father to secure a place for their little ones who preceded them in death.
Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.