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Hi Frank, God Bless you. Children are saved by our Lord even if they don't understand or hear about Jesus. It is written: "But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God." -Luke 18:16 NKJV
Jesus said, "If anyone causes one of these little ones - those who believe in me - to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6). Did these little children hear the gospel? Jesus Christ had not died and risen yet. The theology of the Christian faith had not been written in the New Testament yet. So how could they believe? God has consciously and deliberately brought every human being into existence. God saw our unformed bodies in the depths of the earth and all the days ordained for us have been written in his book before a single one came to pass (Psalm 139:13-16). It is God alone who is responsible for the eternal destiny of every human being. God predestines, chooses, calls, justifies, sanctifies and glorifies. God's sovereignty does not depend on our capacity to preach the gospel. But God is not willing that any should perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, God in his mercy and love, provides many opportunities, before their death, for every single human being to hear the good news of their salvation, to repent and to believe in Jesus. The people of Sodom heard the gospel preached from the prophet Lot for over 20 years before God destroyed the city (Genesis ch18). The bible says if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead we will be saved (Romans 10:9). Anyone can confess with their mouth their belief in Jesus, but is that confession genuine and authentic. Jesus said we can distinguish good and evil by the fruit they produce. A person who is still controlled by their sinful natures produces bad fruit from the evil stored up in their heart. But a person who is born again has a new heart and produces good fruit from the good stored up in their heart (Matthew 7:15-23). But human beings cannot create belief in our hearts. This authentic and genuine belief is called FAITH and this is a gift from God (Romans 10:14-21). We choose to believe as an act of our will, but it is God who enables us to trust our lives with what we have believed. God in his sovereign mercy and love looks after those who are too young to understand, those who have mental disabilities who are unable to understand, and those who we think have never heard the gospel message. God puts faith into the heart of every person he has ordained to receive his salvation. That is why little children can believe and demonstrate that belief with their good fruit. Our responsibility is to preach the gospel, first to our families (including the youngest children), then our friends, neighbours and co-workers, and then to our cities, countries and around the world. Why, because Jesus commanded us to. But if we don't do it, God will simply raise up someone else and we will lose our reward. God chooses to partner with us, through the Christian church, to bring his message of salvation to the whole world. But God doesn't need us. He is perfectly capable of saving every person he has predestined, chosen, called, justified, sanctified and glorified. All Glory to Him!
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