Bible Question:

I work with mentally challenged persons. Are they saved in the spirit of Christ Jesus since their minds are challenged throughout their lives?

Bible Answer:

Every person begins life at the point of conception. Each one of us is here because our mothers did not abort us. Those of us who are alive as “challenged persons” can thank our mothers for bringing us into this world. Aborted babies cannot. But God shows mercy to those who die some time after conception and shortly after their entry into this world. He has shown mercy by giving them eternal life. This truth is revealed in King David’s comments about the child that Bathsheba bore for him who then died (2 Samuel 12:18-23). King David said that the child could not come to him but he would go to him (the baby). The child had died shortly after leaving his mother’s womb.

Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” And he said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ “But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (NASB) 2 Samuel 12:21-23

King David reveals that God has mercy on those who are too young to realize that they are sinners, to understand that God is holy, to understand that they have a need for Jesus Christ’s forgiveness, and to seek His forgiveness. God tells us in Psalm 51:5 that we are sinful living beings at conception. We are people who are sinners. Everyone is a sinner.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB) Ps. 51:5

This is a truth that babies who die because of abortion will never understand, yet God will take them to heaven.

Does God show the same mercy to those who are mentally challenged persons? Unfortunately, the scriptures do not tell us, so we cannot be completely certain. However, it would appear, based on the fact that God is merciful and saves the babies who die shortly after birth, that He will also save those who are mentally challenged if they cannot understand that they are sinners and perceive that God exists. The same is true of babies before they leave their mothers’ wombs.

Conclusion:

God is not a cosmic “kill-joy” who seeks to hurt people and send them to hell. But He is also not a big, lovable teddy bear just waiting to be squeezed. God is the Creator who shows us love, rescues those who see themselves as sinners from an eternal punishment, who seek God’s forgiveness, and believe that Jesus is their God and Savior. If God will save a baby who dies shortly after leaving his or her mother’s womb, then surely God will save the mentally challenged person who cannot understand God’s plan of salvation. God understands our frailty.

Reference Links:

What happens to the souls of babies who die unbaptized?
At what age is a child responsible for his/her sins?