The clock says that it is "Monday"... but I'm still awake from Sunday, so it is still Sunday to me.
Pastor preached on hell today. Matt and I agreed that we were thankful for this message because 1) hell is an interesting topic/doctrine, 2) it reminds us to be thankful for all that we have and all that our children have the opportunity to have, and 3) it helps us know we chose the right church, one that isn't afraid to preach the entire truth of the Word.
On the car ride home Matt and I discussed the sermon and how we were thankful that hopefully Jack won't have to go through the eternal torture of hell. This discussion led to my realization that if Jack died prematurely (which in my mind means any time before I pass myself) and I knew he had not accepted Christ as his Savior, then I would feel like that was the greatest failure of my life. I am his mother. It is my job to lead and guide him through his life. While it is not my responsibility to "save" him, it is my responsibility to teach him the truth of Christ.
This portion of the discussion led to the ever controversial "age of accountability". Does the age of accountability mean when children understand the repercussions of their actions? Or does it ean that all children under this age go to heaven if the die? At the risk of sounding insensitive, I do not believe that all children under the age of 12 (which is what I have commonly heard as the age of accountability) go to heaven upon death. If we believe that life begins at conception, then we must also believe that upon conception those children have a sin nature. If those children have a sin nature, then according to Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death".
Without going too much into predestination (since that is a sticky subject of its own), I believe that the concept of predestination applies to the age of accountability. From the beginning of time God has known who would accept His mercy and who would reject Him. This is true of children under the age of 12 as well. God knows that individual's heart. God knows what that individual would have chosen had they grown up to make adult decisions. (Now, yes, the argument here is that the child never had the opportunity to make those decisions him/herself... we're not going into that argument right now though) Some think that a child going to hell for eternity when they didn't have the necessary knowledge to make a salvation decision isn't "fair". Well, "all fall short of the glory of God," including children. I don't necessarily like it, but it's the truth.
From this point the conversation steered to my views on predestination. It is by far the area of the faith that I struggle with the most. Matt asked how I would feel about predestination if Jack never came to a saving knowledge of Christ. That makes me very sad to think about. Makes me feel upset at the idea that Jack (or any future child of mine) wasn't one of the elect.
From here, what about mentally retarded individuals? Yes, they have a sin nature, but what if they are close to a vegetative state? What if they aren't quite that handicapped, but they are still unable to differentiate right from wrong? How does predestination work in that instance?
All we know is that God knows the heart.
That is a calming thought in all of these discussions.