SALVATION – FOR THE MENTALLY INFIRMED – DISTRESSED
The Bible does not specifically say whether or not mentally ill, or distressed people go to heaven. However, there is some biblical evidence that anyone who is not able to make a decision for salvation is covered by Christ’s death and resurrection for he is just. This is similar to how it is commonly believed that children are automatically taken to heaven when they die until they reach the point in which they are able to make a decision for or against Christ. Remember that King David had a child that died. David knew that he would see his child in heaven one day. From that statement, we can assume that babies and young children were, by God's grace, covered for salvation by Christ’s death and resurrection.
2 Samuel 12:19
David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied, "he is dead."
2 Samuel 12:20
Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
2 Samuel 12:21
His attendants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"
2 Samuel 12:22
He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept.” I thought, who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.
2 Samuel 12:23
But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
We can speculate from this that mentally disabled, distressed people are covered by this principle as well. However, the Word of God does not specifically say this. Knowing the love, grace, and mercy of God, this would seem consistent with His character and very nature. Any person, who is mentally challenged to the extent that he or she could not be aware of their sinful state and believe in Christ for salvation, is in the same category as a child. It is not unreasonable to believe that person is saved by the grace and mercy of the same God who saves babies and small children.
It may even be possible that these people may be resurrected to physical flesh during the 1,000-year reign of Christ where all disease, pain and suffering will be eliminated. At this time they would be able to live their lives to an age of accountability, understand their sin and repent of it and then accept Jesus Christ as their atoning sacrifice through His life, death, burial and resurrection. At that time they will be baptized into the Holy Spirit and receive a Divine Nature in place of the previous sin nature. Their salvation is now secure. This too is speculation but fits with the Sovereign generosity of God our Father.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Another opportunity for the mentally challenged and distressed could lie with the prayers of the faithful, especially the family members. There are many examples in scripture where Jesus healed people having various infirmities or even being near death and yet He was not present. These healings took place based upon the faith of the believer in what Jesus Christ could do. That He was the Son of God, the Messiah. Let’s look at three instances recorded in scripture.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
"Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly."
Jesus said to him, "Shall I come and heal him?"
The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, Go, and he goes; and that one, Come, and he comes. I say to my servant, do this, and he does it.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that moment.
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly."
The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
Then Jesus said to her, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Once more he visited Canaan in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.
When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
"Go," Jesus replied, "your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.
When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him."
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and his whole household believed.
It is easy to say, but by faith we must believe that our God has a plan for these special people whether they are children or adults. Faith is a powerful tool emanating from ones’ heart. I believe that James 5:15 may offer a key regarding salvation for the mentally handicapped or distressed. The key is the prayer of faith. It is Gods will whether or not a sick person is healed based upon prayer offered in faith. This includes physical or mental. If not, the person may die in their sickness, but God guarantees that He will raise them up and that if they have sinned, their sins will be forgiven. These people have not been condemned but have been forgiven. The strength of this forgiveness is in the prayer of the faithful.
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
I pray that this will help those with loved ones that are mentally handicapped or distressed. Although, no proof can be offered, there is ample scriptural evidence that our loving Sovereign God has made provision for those who cannot reach out to Him. Go, and pray to the Father in faith.
Your questions and comments are always appreciated.
2015 – 2016