Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Our earthly lives are now far less sweet following the loss of our son. Our earthly lives will be less joyful now than they were while Micah was still alive. But our grief is not infinite in depth—I look to the future (perhaps the distant future) with the assurance that at my death, or when Christ returns, I will see our son again.

I believe that Jesus has saved Micah, eternally, despite the fact that Micah has done nothing to earn his salvation. And yet, according to scriptures, that is the very same amount of works required of me to get into heaven. Ephesians 2:19 states the central theme of the gospel: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Micah is now in heaven because salvation is a gift.

Micah is not saved because of infant baptism, because he was dedicated or because his parents are believers or members of a particular church. If any of these things were true, then Micah’s salvation would be the result of works, not faith. He is saved because of Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus has claimed all children as members of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus clearly goes out of his way to love little children. Jesus rebuked the disciples when the disciples tried to turn children away. Jesus wants all of us to develop the same sense of humility and dependence demonstrated by little children. Mathew 18:3-5 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

In Matthew 18, Jesus likens new believers to natural children. In that chapter, Jesus cautions adults against doing anything that would harm a young believer. If a man who owns 100 sheep (children) loses 1 of his 100 sheep, according to Jesus, the man will leave his 99 sheep and go looking for his 1 lost sheep. Why? “…It is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:14.

This passage is more than just an analogy about protecting young believers from harm. As pointed out by John MacArthur in “Safe in the Arms of God,” Jesus states that “God no more wants a spiritual child to perish eternally than God wants a natural child to perish eternally. The analogy works…only because the underlying premise is that God protects and preserves the little ones who enter His presence.” MacArthur, p. 58. If we are to become dependent on God, like our children are dependent upon us, doesn’t it follow that God will look with favor upon a child’s humility and dependence?

If God seeks humility and dependence, my son was ready for heaven. My son was totally dependent upon us. He loved to be held and fed by his parents. He loved to cuddle with his mom and dad. He placed his trust in us and was dependent upon us. Micah is now dependent upon the one on whom all of life depends. Micah is now safe in the arms of Jesus, and I look forward to the day when I can join him.

1 comment: