Blog Archive

Friday, May 14, 2010

Question of the Week:
Default Destination

"Whoever be our people here—God's people or the devil's—
death will gather our souls to them."
~ Thomas Boston

If a child is sanctified by their believing parent, what about the children of the unbelieving?
~ Anonymous

This question was posed in response to the following statement from last week's Q&A about baptizing infants:

If infants are not baptized, are their souls in jeopardy? The Bible indicates that children are "sanctified" (made holy) by the believing parent (1 Corinthians 7:14). There is no indication of up to what age such sanctification continues. It might be: until an unspecified age of accountability; until a specific age of recognized maturity such as twelve or twenty; or for as long as the child remains in the believing parent’s house, under their "covering" of authority.

There is an ancient principle observed to this day in some cultures which offers protection to someone brought under the covering offered by another person. When Paul's ship faced destruction, God told him that all who sailed with him would be protected, and Paul warned the centurion: "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved." (Acts 27:31 NKJV) Ruth asked Boaz to bring her under his covering: "Spread the corner of your garment over me." (Ruth 3:9 NIV) The principle was explicit when Lot brought two men into his home in evil Sodom: "Do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof." (Genesis 19:8 NKJV)

In numerous biblical examples, a person entering the walls of a city not only received the covering of protection from that city, but the entire city might be either spared or destroyed due to that person's presence—unless that person left the city. This is why the Lord did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until righteous Lot (whose name means "covering") had departed from those cities. When Lot's wife looked back, she was displaying continuing alliance to Sodom and its wickedness rather than to her husband and his righteousness, so she was also destroyed.

I believe this principle is employed in the Scripture which speaks of children being sanctified by the faith of just one parent. The word "sanctified" means "made holy," which indicates a change from another condition.

We all start out evil.

Although humanity wants to see itself as basically good, we are inherently evil. We want to see infants as innocent, but they are born with the parents' DNA for evil. If at least one parent has been sanctified by the blood of Jesus and made holy, children are brought under the covering of the parent's faith and protected. If neither parent has been sanctified, then children have no spiritual protection from condemnation until they obtain sanctification on their own. (It cannot be obtained by baptizing them, because baptism is a personal testimony—see last week's post.)

My guess would be that this spiritual covering extends until children separate themselves from the parent spiritually in some way. Each individual must make a decision to turn from evil toward God, and obtain sanctification for oneself. If this occurs while still under the parent's covering, then there is no "lapse in coverage."

If it seems harsh for an infant to suffer condemnation, it might help to shift our perspective from an entitlement mentality which thinks Heaven is our right. Heaven is not the destiny for everyone who doesn't opt out, but the destiny of those who choose to be reconciled with their Creator and opt in. Heaven would be no better than Earth if filled with unsanctified, unholy, evil people.

God does not force people to dwell with Him for eternity who are united to those who oppose Him. Earth is the place to determine our alliance.

© 2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies. To see additional comments, click here.


  1. You've certainly piqued my interest ...

  2. Susan ~ I pray I also satisfied a thirst for truth.

  3. Very sensitive area which many try to avoid.

  4. Natasa ~ Agreed! This is an area I've tried to avoid, because I don't look for topics of discussion with high potential for unnecessary conflict between Christians. But I'm also willing to answer whatever questions are posed. I have highest regard for the quest for truth.


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