Is faith required for salvation?

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satz

Puritan Board Senior
I am posting this mainly after all those threads on baptism and infants and if infants can have faith. However, this is something I have been considering for a long time now.

Do elect infants dying in infancy or even before birth have to have faith to be saved?

Please post your answer and verses to support it. I do not intend this to be a discussion on whether infants can have faith, I am more interested in seeing the support for the proposition that absolutely everyone, including infants and the mentally disabled must believe to be saved.

Thanks…
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Yes it is but you haven't defined faith. Let me define the faith that is necessary.

Faith as a vital connection is a gift from God, there is really nothing we can do to acquire it. Jesus says it this way - No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. John 6:44 We also see this kind of faith at work in Jesus healing the man with the withered hand - Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. John 12:13 It would be foolish to say the man in his own power stretched out his hand. Jesus commanded the man to stretch out his hand because Jesus supplied the healing and power to do so; a vital connection took place between Jesus and the mans’s hand and life flowed into it for the first time.

Faith as a vital connection is either on or off, it is there or it isn’t. Jesus refers to this aspect of faith when he says - For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Do elect infants dying in infancy or even before birth have to have faith to be saved?

Mark - honestly, I have to leave this question to God's mercy. I don't have an answer. I'm not brazen enough to deny that there are elect infants, but neither am I so confident not to doubt the opposite. I've banged my head against the wall so many times on this question that I have lumps, but no answers.

On the question of faith itself, I concur with Bob.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Ps. 71 is a good place to look at a life-long faith. The author is aged: "Cast me not off in the time of old age" (v.9); "Yea, even unto old age and grey hairs, O God, forsake me not" (v.18).

But he looks back at his hope from the moment he was born: "For thou, O Lord art my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth," yes, and from the earliest, "upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he that took me from my mother's womb" (vv.5-6).

Compare with the words of David, Ps. 22: "But thou art he that took me from my mother's womb; thou didst make me trust when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb; Thou art my God since my mother bare me" (vv.9-10).

And Is. 46:3: "Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, that have been borne by me from their birth, that have been carried from the womb..." Compare to the Messianic fulfillment, of which all others were only a type: "Jehovah hath called me from the womb" (49:1).

And of John the Baptist: "He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb" (Lk. 1:15); "The babe leaped in my womb for joy" (v.44).

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed they in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee."

Heb. 11:6: "Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God." Infants, as well as anyone else, have to have faith in their Redeemer, however simple and basic, in order to be with God.

And Jesus commended that very kind of faith, the faith of children, see Luke 18:15-17, even saying of the infants in arms: "of such is the kingdom of heaven."
 

caddy

Puritan Board Senior
Salvation creates Faith.

We are not saved because we have Faith, we Have Faith because we are saved.
 

Jimmy the Greek

Puritan Board Senior
It seems to me that the Reformed are in a much better position to allow for the salvation of those dying in infancy, since God regenerates as he pleases based on election, and regeneration manifests faith.

Those coming from a rather Arminian perspective think they must prove the infant is innocent and therefore does not need faith for salvation. From this view I have heard it said that Christ's atonement has offset the effects of the fall (and original sin, guilt, etc) for every person -- therefore all dying in infancy are de facto saved. The Reformed can more consistently allow for the salvation of infants without undermining the biblical concepts of total depravity and original sin/guilt.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
It seems to me that the Reformed are in a much better position to allow for the salvation of those dying in infancy, since God regenerates as he pleases based on election, and regeneration manifests faith.

Those coming from a rather Arminian perspective think they must prove the infant is innocent and therefore does not need faith for salvation. From this view I have heard it said that Christ's atonement has offset the effects of the fall (and original sin, guilt, etc) for every person -- therefore all dying in infancy are de facto saved. The Reformed can more consistently allow for the salvation of infants without undermining the biblical concepts of total depravity and original sin/guilt.

:up: :up: Very, very well said Jim. You nailed it.
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
From Chapter 10 on Effectual Calling:

III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit,[12] who works when, and where, and how He pleases:[13] so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.[14]

Scripture:

[12] LUK 18:15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. ACT 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. JOH 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 1JO 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. ROM 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

[13] JOH 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

[14] 1JO 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. ACT 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As others have pointed out, faith is a gift from God. Though it is necessary for one to believe in God to be saved, it flows out of God's decree to save His elect.

For a child or infant to be saved, the same conditions for the adult must be met. Therefore, in the context of election the Canons of Dordrecht (1.17) proclaim the following. You will notice that it says nothing about the infant's faith but rather focuses on God's decree:

ARTICLE 17 CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS WHO DIE IN INFANCY

We must judge concerning the will of God from His Word, which declares that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they are included with their parents. Therefore, God-fearing parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in their infancy.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Salvation creates Faith.

We are not saved because we have Faith, we Have Faith because we are saved.

Presumably, the second of those sentences is speaking of the fact that saving faith is not something produced in a man independently of and prior to the work of God. No one disputes that. But Faith is still BOTH a product of one part of salvation, AND a cause of further aspects of salvation.

Faith is properly the "instrumental cause" of salvation. "By grace you have been saved, through faith" (Eph. 2:8). Faith is internal to the process of salvation, but it is part of the process, and makes a material contribution to it once it has been granted.

"Salvation" is a macro-category. It is all-encompassing. We break it down in what we call "the Ordo Salutis" or the order of salvation. Salvation begins in election and is complete in glorification.

We have faith because it is granted to us to believe; we are enabled both to see spiritually and to look upon Christ as the object of our hope. We receive this ability to have saving faith in the divine act of regeneration, the impartation of spiritual life. Faith is opposed to works because instead of doing for salvation, it trusts what someone else has done. But without that trust, salvation isn't possible.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Bruce, I don't have the certainty that you possess, but I like your explanation. You backed up your position scripturally. I'm not sure I see it your way but I appreciate it.
 
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