“SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME” AND THE DOCTRINE OF “ORIGINAL SIN”
God’s Elect should understand, know and be established in the fact that ‘Doctrine’ is not built on a stray verse here and there, but by the PREPONDERANCE OF SCRIPTURE. What is the overall, dominating teaching of the Scriptures on a given subject? And if a verse or two seem to teach the opposite, we don’t pit Scripture against Scripture but harmonize the seemingly opposing verse or wait till God gives us further light.
God wrote the Bible with one purpose in mind – to SAVE HIS ELECT AND TO CONFUSE AND DAMN THE REPROBATE. (see Mark 4:11, 12)
Now in the Scripture under consideration Christ said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven!” [Matt 19:14]
The key word in the above passage is “of such”! i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven is made up of such as these little children! So did Christ suffer these children to come to Him because of their ‘innocence’ or because of their ‘guilt’?
WHOM does Christ receive and for WHOM did He come? The Pharisees and scribes answered that question when they murmured, saying, “This man receiveth SINNERS!” [Luke 15:2] And the Master Himself said, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17]
“If Christ suffered or atoned for infants, (and who will question this truth,) it was either for their guilt or their innocence. Where there is no guilt, there is no exposure to forfeiture or other penalty; and a perfect innocent being could not suffer eternal torment, nor even be punished at all.
If infants be in a state of justification or perfect innocence, it will follow that the sufferings of Christ, as to THEM, were USELESS. The truth, however, is, they not only come into the world with polluted natures, but are exposed to punishment, and are therefore guilty in view of the Law and Government of God, as a consequence of original sin visited upon them from Adam. This view of the subject is stated in the New Testament, “that every mouth may be stopped, and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God”; for ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3: 23.)” [George Johnson 1837]
This doctrine is also evident from facts. By Adam’s sin infants are not only polluted, or bring into the world with them depraved natures, but they are liable to pain, suffering, disease, sickness and death. these, we presume, could not be inflicted upon infants if they were perfectly innocent or pure, and in no way involved in Adam’s transgression. That they thus suffer is PROOF SUFFICIENT that God does not view them as INNOCENT, SPOTLESS AND PURE, BUT AS FALLEN, DEPRAVED AND GUILTY, in view of His law and Government, in consequence of original sin being visited upon them. “By one man,” Adam, “sin entered into the world,” — (Rom. 5:12,) his transgression and its consequences, including actual sin, and a sinful nature, which he conveyed to all his posterity.
Man then does not come into the world, as some have erroneously asserted, with a nature so pure, or in such a state, that he is equally willing and able to receive either good or evil. He is not a mere passive thing, without any bias or inclination to good or evil. His nature is fallen and polluted, and he is, as an inevitable consequence, disposed to evil and not to good. Or as the Scripture asserts – “they are estranged from the womb: they go astray AS SOON AS THEY BE BORN, speaking lies!” [Psalm 58:3]
He is wholly corrupt, and naturally averse to God and divine things. He is sunk into pride and self-will, the very image of Satan ; and into sensual appetites, desires and passions, the image of the beasts that perish. HE IS NOT ONLY DESTITUTE OF INNATE RIGHTEOUSNESS, BUT HE IS GOVERNED BY INHERENT DEPRAVITY!
The doctrine of the perfect innocence of infants, which has been the source of pernicious heresies in the church, is encumbered with irreconcilable difficulties:
1. It avows the principle that the stream is more perfect than the fountain whence it emanates. Adam’s nature was sinful and guilty : if he imparted a pure and innocent nature to his posterity, the stream must rise in perfection above its fountain ; but this is both absurd and unscriptural. For “Who can bring a CLEAN THING OUT OF AN UNCLEAN? Not one!” [Job 14:4] And again, “HOW CAN HE BE CLEAN THAT IS BORN OF A WOMAN?; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?” [Job 25:4-6]
2. It destroys, “the connection between cause and effect, and thus saps the foundation of all philosophy and reason. That death is the effect of sin and guilt, the scriptures plainly declare. Now, if all guilt is taken away in infants, the effect of guilt exists, in their case, WITHOUT A CAUSE ; nor can it, on Bible principles, be accounted for.
3. It overturns a radical and essential principle in the Divine Government; which is that the GUILTY, and not the innocent, are the proper subjects of punishment. Now if infants are perfectly innocent it follows, as they are punished with death, that the just principles of government are destroyed.
4. It strikes at the foundation of the doctrine of Redemption. For if infants are innocent, Christ came not to save them ; for He came to save sinners.
The perfect innocence of infants cannot be proved from the words : ” Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3.) In the context mention is made of “this little child,” “such little child,” and “these little ones.” These expressions, as found in this Chapter, DO NOT REFER TO INFANTS OR YOUNG CHILDREN, but only to young believers, or persons young in faith, knowledge and experience.
Such persons are designated “babes in Christ,” “children,” “little children,” and “little ones.” In the sixth verse they are termed, “these little ones, which believe in Me.” This clearly proves that these little ones, were young Christian believers. The fact that they ‘believed’ in Christ evidently shows that these passages must be applied to adults, and not to infants, who are INCAPABLE OF THE EXERCISE OF FAITH.
Most standard and reliable commentators are of the same opinion. By “one such little child,” Dr. Clarke says, Our Lord “means a disciple only.” Again : “Whosoever shall cause one of the least of these, “the little ones,” who believe in Me to be stumbled, — to go into the spirit of the world, or give way to sin, — such an one shall meet with most exemplary punishment.” Benson : “Any one of my humble and meek followers.” Watson; “The little ones were the true servants of and Apostles of Our Lord.”
See “that ye despise not one of these little ones.” Benson : “Be careful to receive, and not offend, the very weakest believer in Christ.” Clarke : “One of my simple, loving, humble disciples.” These and such expressions cannot be applied here to infants or little children, but to the humble, pious, sincere believers in Christ, who are young in Christian experience and knowledge.
If there ever was a truth where faith in the naked word of God is required as opposed to our feelings, reasoning and logic it is that men (including BABIES) are ALREADY JUDGED AND CONDEMNED IN ADAM. Man comes into the world not as an ‘INNOCENT’ baby until the ‘AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY’ but he COMES INTO THE WORLD AS A CONDEMNED SINNER.
This is another subject where great faith is required to believe God when he says – “The LORD seeth NOT AS MAN SEETH; for man looketh on the OUTWARD APPEARANCE, but the LORD looketh on the HEART”. [1Sam 16:7]
We see a cute baby smiling in the cradle and say, “how innocent”! But God sees it differently.
Even the most outspoken preachers shy away from speaking on this subject because nothing stirs and provokes the ire of fallen men and even some saints than setting forth this truth. Simply said, preaching this truth is not the way to win friends and influence people!
Weigh the following very prayerfully, – The Scriptures tell us that, “By one man’s disobedience the MANY WERE MADE SINNERS,” Romans 5:19. “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that ALL SINNED,” Romans 5:12.
Abraham pleaded – “Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure TEN (righteous) shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for TEN’S sake”. [Gen 18:32]
Are you going to tell me that there were not at even ten babies in Sodom for the Lord to spare it? People may reason that those of Sodom were homosexuals so obviously they were no babies. But what about all the babies in Noah’s day?
Suffering and death are declared to be the consequence of sin; and the reason that all die is that “all sinned.” Now we know that many suffer and die in infancy, before they have committed any sin themselves. It follows that either God is unjust in punishing the innocent, or that those infants are in some way guilty creatures. And if guilty, how have they sinned? It is impossible to explain it on any other supposition than that they sinned in Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12, 18); and they could not have sinned in him in any other way than by representation.
ALL babies are born guilty of the Original Sin! Fallen man beholds and judges babies to be innocent and angelic. But God seeth not see as man seeth! AS FAR AS GOD IS CONCERNED THERE IS NO SO CALLED ‘AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY’! According to Him the children of Adam are estranged from the WOMB! They go astray AS SOON AS THEY BE BORN SPEAKING LIES! [ Psa 58:3]
If babies are innocent as many suppose, then the Lord would not have required Saul to slay both infant and suckling when He sent him to destroy the Amalekites!
Neither would it be written concerning God – “Happy shall He be, that taketh and dasheth THY LITTLE ONES against the stones”! [Psa 137:9]
We fully understand that this is a hard saying and not all will receive it. But it is Scriptural truth that babies are not born innocent! They are born GUILTY OF THE ORIGINAL SIN! And THIS IS WHY many babies are born with deformities and many die in infancy.
Bear in mind, that death hath no power over the INNOCENT but the sinner! It is the wages of SIN which is death!
IF AN INFANT BECOMES GUILTY ONLY AT THE AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY, THEN NO INFANT SHOULD DIE BEFORE THAT AGE! FAIR ENOUGH?!
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that ALL have sinned”! [Rom 5:12]
No babies are not born innocent as many ignorantly suppose, but are born in sin and are in need of Christ’s redemption!
In Adam ALL die! [1Cor 15:22]
So before we attempt to build a doctrine on a single verse that ALL babies are born INNOCENT and are headed for Heaven, we need to take out our concordance and study all the verses on babies and children and what the Scripture declares concerning them!
So are billions of babies burning in hell? The Scripture is silent on this matter! Neither does it affirm that billions of ‘BABIES’ are around the throne of God singing His praises!
But the Scripture does affirm that at least one ‘baby’ was ‘born-again’ in the womb (The Baptist) and that some children like Samuel ‘knew the Lord’ even as a child!
But to take this and conclude that ALL BABIES and ALL CHILDREN are going to Heaven only betrays our ignorance and blindness!
Soli de Gloria!