Ask Your Preacher
I don't understand this scripture: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5 NIV)
Was I born a sinner? I thought all children were born sinless?
The NIV reading of that text sure sounds like David is saying that he was born in sin, but the NIV isn’t a word-for-word translation and takes liberty in translating that verse (read “What’s The Best Translation” for more details on Bible translations). Other translations, such as the New American Standard and New King James (much more literal translations), simply say “I was brought forth in iniquity.” (NKJV) This is a much more generic statement than saying David was born sinful. Ps 51:5 could mean one of two things:
- David was born sinful.
- David was born into a sinful world.
We need to look at other verses to see what the Bible teaches about babies being born in sin. The sum teachings of the Bible say that babies are born without sin, and babies are perfect in God’s sight (even David, the writer of Psalm 51, recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]). Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15). Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.
The false teaching of ‘original sin’ is very common in today’s society. If a congregation teaches that you are born in sin, they are false teachers. Sin is a choice we make in life (Isa 7:15-16), and all humans are born upright and good (Eccl 7:29).
My dad has accepted Christ and was baptized (I’m almost positive he has). I know he was baptized a long time ago, but he doesn't show any christian-like behaviors. If he didn't say it, I wouldn't be so sure. He swears when he's mad (which is often). Also, once when my mom bought him this christian book for dads, he got all mad and said that he didn't need her to tell him what to do. He does pray at those big family affairs, but we don't eat together anymore, so he doesn't pray unless it's an event. So my main question is: would a person go to heaven if they accepted Christ long ago but didn't ever talk to Him or think of Him or even go to church? (We rarely go to church, but I go to a Christian school.) Thanks.
Dear Questioning Kid,
God is the final judge of where a person’s soul ends up (Heb 12:23), but there are a lot of reasons to be concerned with your father’s spiritual state. God tells us that it is possible for someone to fall away from the faith after being baptized (Heb 6:4-6). We are warned to not “drift” away from the Lord (Heb 2:1) or “backslide” (Pr 1:32) into old sinful ways. Once we are baptized, we are told to grow in the Lord and mature in our faith (1 Pet 2:2). Baptism is the beginning of a new life, but God calls us to be faithful until death (Rev 2:10).
It is obvious that you care deeply for your dad and are worried about his soul. The best thing you can do for him is to make sure your soul is safe and that you are living the right life, but in the end, he is responsible for his own choices.
I'm confused. You say when God kills innocent children that it is a blessing to them. I want my children to go to heaven. One way to guarantee that would be to kill them. I guess I could repent of that sin, quit having children, and live a life worthy of heaven from that point on and see them again one day? I don't get it.
Dear Morbid Mom,
You are referring to a comment we made in the article “Flood For Thought”, and in the context, we specifically said that there is a difference between God ending a life and murder. Your “plan” (we know it was hypothetical) to kill your children and later repent wouldn’t work because of one verse – Galatians 6:7. Gal 6:7 says that God cannot be mocked; there are no loopholes with our Creator. God isn’t like the IRS; we can’t just tweak the numbers and skirt justice. If you purposefully killed your children in order to fast track them to heaven in the hopes of eventually meeting up with them… God wouldn’t be tricked by your plan.
I don’t get it. So much of the Bible makes no sense to me. For example, the Flood… the Bible said God flooded the world but saved Noah and Noah's family only. The Bible says the reason this was done was because God saw too much wickedness in the world. But I just can’t imagine every child or baby living then in the world being wicked, but the Bible says God killed them all. But in another verse, I remember hearing it said children and babies are not accountable until, like, a certain age… maybe puberty? So all those kids and babies that were drowned in the flood were innocent, yet killed anyway. It makes no sense at all to me.
Too Tragic For Thought
Dear Too Tragic For Thought,
The Flood was a blessing to Noah and his family because they were saved from the sinful influences of that ever-violent generation (1 Pet 3:20)… but it was also a blessing to those innocent children. You are right; all children are born sinless, and they aren’t accountable for sin until they are old enough to be responsible for their own behavior. All children go to heaven. Read “What About The Children?” for further details on the fate of the young.
It is important to realize that when God ends a life, it is not the same as when another human snuffs a life out. God knows that when a child dies, it isn’t the end of their life but the beginning of a new one. When God ends a life, He also has a new life to offer them. All the innocent children that died in the Flood had no chance to grow up faithfully and turn to God because the generation was so wicked that there was no hope for their future. God redeemed those children from such a horrific fate, and He started the world anew with righteous Noah and his family.
Why do many preachers preach, and they say that when a son or daughter have drifted to the wrong path (meaning the worldly life), it is the parents’ fault? Yet, you see that in there own household, they have youth who aren't serving God and are roaming the world... why do many preachers say that?
Double-Checking Double Standards
Dear Double-Checking Double Standards,
We don’t pretend to represent all preachers; we can only tell you what the Bible says on the subject. When we preach on the topic of raising children, we talk about the fact that parents have a huge influence on the future of their children. God tells us that we should “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old they will not depart from it” (Pr 22:6). That is one of many verses that address a parent’s responsibility to instill the truth in their children. When kids grow up, they still have the freedom to choose right and wrong for themselves, but how their parents raise them sets them up for failure or success.
The fact that we preach on the responsibilities of parents doesn’t mean that all preachers are perfect parents – in fact, it is quite the opposite. We are always preaching Bible concepts that we personally fail at. Preachers fall short just like everyone else (Rom 3:23). We don’t preach on moral issues because we are perfect men; we preach on these issues because God has given us His Word to guide us (Ps 119:105). The message is perfect, not the messengers.