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Age Of Accountability In The Bible

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Age of Accountability: The Answer | Bible Questions & Answers

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The Age Of Accountability

We have consistently been told that all children who die before they reach an age where they can understand about personal salvation that they go to heaven. I have prayerfully searched the scripture, all references, for anything regarding children, infants, family, brother, sisters, mothers, fathers, salvation, etc. Nothing could I find to support the argument, even though it does refer to passages where the whole family was saved and Christ Himself says to His disciples not to stop children coming to Him. Though nowhere can I find these ideas where accountability and instant infant/child salvation have any relationships, though salvation tied to the family maybe classed as having some scriptural basis.

The destiny of babies and young children who die has troubled many people over the years. We know that they have been born with a sin nature and that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. On one hand, they must need a Saviour because of the sin nature. On the other hand, they cannot be saved because they have not believed in Christ. But, if this be so, does this condemn all babies who die to hell? Surely, this cannot be. There must be a better solution. I believe there is.

First, we must realize that the One in charge of our children’s destiny is God. As Abraham said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” . We can rest assured that our gracious God will have a just and loving solution to this problem. We need only look for it.

What The Bible Says About The Age Of Accountability

At what point does a child become personally responsible for his or her actions before God? This is not just an academic question as I see it, your answer will affect how I choose to discipline my children. I know that we’re all born with an inherited sin nature, but I’m not sure what the Bible teaches about the “age of accountability?” Is it right to think of childish selfishness or defiance as “sin” in the full sense of the word? Where can I find some scriptural guidance on this subject?

Biblical passages such as Isaiah 7:15 and 16 seem to indicate that there is such a thing as an age of accountability. Unfortunately, Scripture gives us no guidelines for determining exactly when a given child crosses that decisive threshold into adult life. Dr. John MacArthur comments:

There is no age of accountability identified in Scripture as such. There is nothing in the Bible that says, Here is the age and from here on you are responsible! I think the reason for that is because children mature at different paces. That would be true from culture to culture, and from age to age in history.

So the Lord in His wisdom didnt identify a specific moment. God knows when each soul is accountable. God knows when real rejection has taken place when the love of sin exists in the heart. When enmity with God is conscious and willful. God alone knows when that occurs.

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What Does The Bible Say About The Age Of Accountability

Accountability is not a term explicitly found in Scripture. Rather it is an implicit and abstract concept that is, of course, biblical. This is obvious because of the many references to the various judgments and because of passages like Acts 17:31 and Romans 14:12. The last passage uses the English term, give an account. But I know of no passage that specifically speaks of an age of accountability even in an abstract way. However, as with other doctrines like the trinity that are not specifically spelled out, many theologians and Bible students have come to the conclusion that there is an age of accountability, though it undoubtedly varies with individuals.

Some believe the age of accountability could have been around 20 years old because this was the age when young men in Israel became accountable to serve in the army of Israel.

Others believe the age of accountability to be around 12 or 13 due to this being the age when Jesus went up to Jerusalem with his parents and was found in the temple discussing the Law and asking questions. This was also the normal age for being received into Judaism as a son of the law, which would make him a full member of the religious community.

John 16:8-9. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me .

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on him.

Is There A Specific Age When We Are Accountable

A Biblical Age Of Accountability?

The one is easy enough. The Bible does not have a place to go where we can simply look up at what age we are, and our kids are accountable to God. Depending on someone’s denomination background, or even religion, there may be different takes on this .

The age of accountability is the idea that there is a certain “age” or time in a person’s life where they can understand the state they are in and how their actions reinforce this state. Notice that I’m framing this as a state of being rather than an action. Religion primarily focuses on the activity of individuals, but the Gospel focuses on the state or identity of the individual. Some point to the Jewish practice of becoming a man , and all the rights entailed to that status as sufficing for an age of accountability, but the New Testament never picks up this idea instead, the New Testament writers think of identity rather than some specific activity.

Think about it this way: If someone were to break out of prison and be on the run from the law, no matter what action they take, they would still be a fugitive. Even if they were to help someone in need, tell the truth to someone who asked them a question, or were morally helpful to others, it wouldn’t change what state they are in – they are a fugitive. Most likely, they would continue to do what fugitives do – break the law, hide, and flee from their justice. But even if they didn’t, their identity is that of a fugitive.

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What Does The Age Of Accountability Mean

In respect to Christianity, age of accountability is the concept that children are only held accountable for their sins at death once they reach a certain age. If a child dies before this appointed age, Gods grace and mercy will reign and they will be ushered into the gates of heaven.

Throughout history, there has been the idea that at a certain age, we become responsible for our actions. Before we reach that age, we are not held responsible for our sin. The most popular argument regarding the age of accountability comes from the teachings of John Calvin. His teachings claim that all humans have a corrupt spiritual nature. Our sin nature is a consequence of Adam and Eves actions in the Garden of Eden.

Calvin further taught that due to the sin of Adam, even babies are born with a corrupt nature. The only way a baby could be saved is if they are a member of the elect which is a predetermined number of people God decided to save.

Of course, Calvin is not the only person teaching about the age of accountability. Today churches like the Roman Catholic Church, Episcopalian, Methodists, and others practice infant baptism. Baptizing a baby is a way of protecting them if they die young. Other denominations such as Southern Baptists and Mennonites practice believers baptism, which means only those who have made the conscious choice to follow Christ are baptized.

Age Of Accountability In The Bible

This article has been written with caution and with the acknowledgement that there are things only God knows: the age of accountability of every child is one of them.

What do we mean by the age of accountability? In essence, it is the age at which a child becomes accountable to God and answerable to Him for his or her sin – Matthew 12:36.

We may draw conclusions from the Bible and, based on those, come to some understanding of the factors that come into play, but there are no absolutes to indicate at which point during the formative years of a child the transition to spiritual accountability takes place.

The concept of the age of accountability is based on the belief that a young child is covered by Gods grace until he becomes spiritually aware that he is defying or resisting God, as stated in Romans 8:7.

This means that children will not be judged for their sin until they reach an age where their conscience has developed to the extent that they have a conviction of being sinful. Children get to know right from wrong by being taught . Consequently, they start to understand the difference between being obedient and disobedientbeing good or naughty. But that understanding is different from being aware that they are sinful and spiritually separated from God. A general sense of guilt and conviction of sin only starts to develop in the pre-adolescent years.

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What Would A Just And Loving God Do

The Old Testament teaches the importance of raising children to love and worship God . We are reminded that children are a treasured heritage from the Lord .

But it is from the gospels the words and actions of Jesus that we discover the true nature of Gods attitude toward children. We learn how gentle, kind and loving he is, as well as how passionate he is about protecting them.

And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me .

But Jesus called the children to him and said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it .

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven .

What Happens To Babies And Young Children When They Die

Age of Accountability The Answer Bible Questions & Answers

According to the notion of age of accountability, children are not held accountable to God for their sin until they reach a certain age. If a child dies before reaching the age of accountability, then Because of the grace and mercy of God, that child is granted entry into heaven. Is the concept of the age of accountability biblical? Does such a thing as an age of ignorance even exist.

Often lost in discussions about the age of accountability lies in the fact that children, no matter how young, are not ignorant in the sense of sinlessness. The Bible tells us that even if a child or infant has not committed any personal sin, all people, including infants and children, are guilty before God because they have inherited or imputed sin in them. Has done. An inherited sin would signify that our parents have inherited it from us.

In Psalm 51:5, David writes, Behold, I was born with iniquity, and with sin, I was conceived in my mothers womb. David knew that it was still a sin to conceive. Unfortunately, the truth is that babies sometimes die, demonstrating that even babies are affected by Adams sin because physical and spiritual death is the result of Adams original sin.

Every person, whether infant or adult, has stood guilty before God Everyone has hurt the holiness of God. The only way God can justly declare a person righteous is for that person to receive forgiveness through faith in Christ. Christ is the only way. John 14:6 records these words of Jesus:

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Does Isaiah : 15

Does the Bible teach an age of accountability? This phrase refers to the belief that before a certain age, children are not held accountable by God to their sinful nature since they do not yet have the ability to understand their need to place their faith in Jesus as their Savior. Usually, discussion on the age of accountability relates to God allowing children who die under this age to go to Heaven even though they have not actually accepted Christ personally.

Before looking at how Isaiah 7 informs this discussion, we must understand at the outset that the question of accountability is not a question of sin nature. The Bible is clear: we are born in iniquity . Children do not need to be taught to sin. It is in their nature as little sinners, from the moment of conception. Therefore, if God allows any child into Heaven who has not yet reached an age where they are morally responsible, it must be entirely because of his grace that they enter, not because they are innocent.

But Isaiah links the phrase with he shall eat curds and honey. This likely refers to the child being weaned from his mothers milk, which typically happened between 2-3 years old back then. So whatever Deuteronomy and Numbers says about a specific age of maturation, Isaiah speaks of children as young as two to three having an ability to discern right from wrong.


Baptism Of The Infant Vs Believer

We view toddlers and infants as innocent. However, the Bible states that everyone is born into a sinful character inherited from Adams disobedience toward God during Adams disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden.

The Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and other denominations baptize infants. The belief is that the child will be protected before accountability is reached.

In contrast, Southern Baptists, Calvary Chapel, the Assembly of God, Mennonites, Disciples of Christ, and many other Christian denominations practice believers baptism. A person must reach the age of accountability before being baptized. Some churches that do not believe in infant baptism practice child dedication, a ceremony in which a parent or family member vows to raise the child in Gods ways until he reaches the age of accountability.

Regardless of baptismal practices, nearly every church conducts religious instruction or Sunday school classes for children very early. Children are taught the Ten Commandments to know what sin is and why they should avoid it as they mature. Also, they learn of the sacrifice Christ made at the Cross, which gives them knowledge of Gods plan for salvation.

It helps them make an informed decision when they reach the age of accountability.

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At What Age Are We Accountable

Let me preface this discussion by stating that there is no definitive age written in Scripture. The ages that are mentioned are born out of verses that insinuate them and tradition. Most people will say the age of accountability is at 12 or 13. Their reasoning for this is twofold.

The first reason is that Jesus was twelve when he went to the Temple with his family at the Feast of the Passover . While he was there, he began teaching proving his understanding of right and wrong. The second reason is that according to Jewish custom, at the age of 13 a male enters manhood. This is celebrated with a Bar Mitzvah.

Other inquiries have led some to believe that twenty is the poignant number. At this age, males are enlisted in the Israeli army. Still, others believe the age of accountability is when a child recognizes their own nakedness. This thought would refer to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3.

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A Biblical Age Of Accountability?

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Where Did You Come Up With The Belief That The Age Of Accountability Is 20

Where did you come up with the belief that the age of accountability is 20?

The age of accountability is a Biblical concept. There has to be some point when Yahweh decides that a young person is mature enough to be held responsible for his or her actions. From Yahwehs dealing with Israel that age is 20. Note:

  • A person was considered an adult in Israel by age 20, Num. 14:29 32:11.· At the age of 20 a person was considered worthy to serve in the temple, Ezra 3:8, Lev. 27:3.· A man was old enough to fight in war by age 20, Num. 26:2.· The cut-off age to be considered an adult in the census was 20, Num. 1:3.· The age of Levites who served in the temple was lowered to 20, 1Chron. 23:24.· Those who were 20 and older had to pay ½ shekel atonement offering, Ex. 30:14.· No one 20 years of age and older was allowed into the Promised Land except for Joshua and Caleb, Num. 32:11. This shows that Yahweh did not hold those under 20 accountable for the sins that kept the adults barred from the land that represented salvation. Generally, adolescents do not have a complete grasp of the consequences of sin. This also shows that baptism should not take place among children, who have not matured enough to fully realize the seriousness of repentance and a changed life.


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