My friend Jane and I nearly always greet each other with an axiom of our mutual faith, “It’s a good time to be a Calvinist.” And if it isn’t in our greeting, it inevitably comes up within our conversation. It’s a comprehensive axiom: it avers the sovereignty of God over all things, and His promise that the gates of hell will not prevail. At least not forever.
I see my granddaughter on Skype every week, and I regularly see other babies, either in person or in pictures. And I can tell you that my candid Calvinist response to these babies would not be a hit in non-Calvinist circles. It just would not go over well to say, “Oh, what a cute, adorable, precious, beautiful, perfect little sinner!”
Babies cry and fuss for lots of reasons. Their tummies hurt, they’re tired, they want things, they want to be someplace else, they are hungry, etc. But they really cry because of Adam’s sin, and my sin, and the sin of the world, and yes, because of their own sin. Of course they haven’t consciously done something harmful. They are not sinners because they have sinned; they sin simply because they are sinners.
We can despond over this; it would be natural to find it depressing to contemplate how sin ruins everything. Someone without a belief in the sovereign God of the Bible would find it absurd or unfair. But it is an inevitable fact of creation, and all that we can do about it is to pray for the redemption of our baby sinners. Nor is there any point in praying for their perfection in this life. It’s not going to happen. We pray for their ultimate perfection.
With the One Exception of the Lord Jesus Christ, every single human being ever born has sinned since birth and will continue to sin until death. Comely or not, rich or poor, ambitious or indolent, pleasant or monstrous, the only hope of defeating the consequences of our sin is salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is a given. It’s the consequences — eternal death or eternal life — that are up for grabs. And it’s God who grabs — God grabs those He will save from the consequences of sin. And that is the very simple gospel that the Calvinist sees in the face of every baby he or she meets.