MSG - 13 The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
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When you say 'children' I assume you mean those dying before they could be counted as believers. I'll keep 'heaven' out of it for now, but go with 'who gains eternal life?' The bible clearly states that believers are granted eternal life. (No problem so far). It also states no one can gain eternal life except through Jesus. Now, about 99.9% of Christians interpret this to mean 'only believers', but (dare I put it out there) non-believers can also be included. For such case, it will still be 'through Jesus' because Jesus is the judge! So there is a window for all those good-hearted people out there who, for whatever reason, did not know/follow Jesus...and before you jump on that, I am not saying they earn it through works, they (like us) are still not worthy of salvation, but are also granted it by the blood of Christ. But it is the works of their heart (not as man sees, but God), and so only through God's righteous judgment, they can also be gifted eternal life. What the benchmark is, is impossible to say. Only believers are guaranteed. But for all cases, it is a gift. None are worthy, so none can boast. Some examples.. Luk 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Luk 10:26 He said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it? Luk 10:27 And answering, he said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Luk 10:28 And He said to him, You have answered right; do this and you shall live. Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Mat 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn! For they shall be comforted. Mat 5:5 Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the earth. Mat 5:6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness! For they shall be filled. Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful! For they shall obtain mercy. Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God. Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called the sons of God. Mat 5:10 Blessed are they who have been persecuted for righteousness sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Mat 6:12 ..and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. Mat 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; Joh 5:28 ..for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, Joh 5:29 and shall come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil to the resurrection of condemnation. Rev 20:12 ..And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. There are more (OT and NT), but this is enough. R.
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