The Age of Accountability
Once Upon a Time
|1) Early one Thursday afternoon an automobile rammed into a telephone pole. The driver, 17 year old Maria Ramiriz, was killed instantly. Her 3 year old sister, Tricia, died on the way to the hospital.
|3) But what about Maria? With a deep ache in his heart, Jaime remembered Maria's words as she firmly rejected the reality of Jesus Christ.
2) That same day the heartbroken parents, Jaime and Consuela, met with their Pastor...
Good News and Bad News
|Did 3-year-old Tricia go to heaven? Did 17-year-old Maria?
To arrive at Biblical answers to these questions, we must look at some good news and some bad news.
news comes later in this essay. It may surprise you!
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Cor 6.9a)
Bad news about who can go to heaven
1 Cor 6.9 says that unrighteous people will not inherit God's kingdom. Putting it bluntly, *unredeemed* sinners do NOT go to heaven.
But was little Tricia a sinner? After all, she was only 3 years old. And what about Maria? For that matter, what about you and what about me? Are we sinners?
Bad news about human nature
Were teen-ager Maria and little Tricia sinners when they died? Bad news -- the Bible says, "Yes!"
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (Ps 51:5)
Bad news about human responsibility
Does God hold each of us responsible for our sins? More bad news -- the Bible again says, "Yes!"
But will God judge the sins of little kids who are as young or even younger than little Tricia? I'm glad you asked because now (at last!) we can begin to set the stage for some good news.
|Against You (God), You only, have I sinned, and done this evil
in Your sight that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. (Ps 51.4)
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Rom 14.12)
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Heb 9.27)
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Rev 20.12)
Setting the stage for good news
There is a theory known as "the age of accountability."
Take the example of an infant who dies within minutes after being born.
The remaining paragraphs of this essay will seek Biblical answers to those questions.
|(God said:) "Moreover
your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them
I will give it, and they shall possess it." (Deu 1.39)
For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. (Isa 7.16)
Good news -- the Bible recognizes a difference
At last dawn breaks over the gloom of all the bad news we have looked at thus far...
Prelude to More Good News
A Bit of Bible History
The books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers tell us about ancient days when the Jews were enslaved in Egypt and prayed to God to free them.
The basis for God's exception forms the basis for the rest of the good news.
God sets a precedent!
As summarized above, the Jews rebelled against God at the border of Canaan.
|(God said:) "The carcasses
of you who have murmured against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your
entire number, from twenty years old and above." (Num 14.29)
Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there [to the Promised Land]; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. (Deu 1.39)
Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the Lord. (Exod 30.14)
The Age of Accountability
|...those who do not know God, and... those
who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ... shall
be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thes
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved... (Acts 16.31a)
...the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6.23b)
Significance of the age of accountability
A person attains the "age of accountability" on his or her 20th birthday.
A Message for Those Who Have Lost a Beloved Child
|1) Those of you who have lost a child will be comforted by the Bible passages set forth in preceeding paragraphs.
2) Yes, your child is truly with the Lord in heaven.
3) You may have a question...
By the same token...
4)The Bible does not answer these questions. However, consider this. When God created Adam and Eve they were neither infants nor "senior citizens."
A Message for Those with Living Children
Parents with living children might take the preceeding paragraphs to mean that your child cannot be saved until he or she attains 20 years of age or older. Such a view would be absolutely INCORRECT.
God has exempted children from judgment, NOT from blessing.
There are many Bible verses which prove that children CAN receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. I have listed just a few in the panel alongside.
|In Mt 18.6 the Lord Jesus Himself spoke of little children who believe in Him.
Matthew 21:15 speaks of children who worshiped Jesus, crying out to Him, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"
2 Tim 3.15 says, "...from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
Eph 6:4 commands parents to raise children "in the training and admonition of the Lord."
Prov 22.6 says, " Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
1 Sam 2.18 shows that, even as a small child, Samuel ministered unto God in His temple. In fact, Samuel served God from the time he was weaned from breast feeding. In those days, a child was weaned at around 3 to 4 years of age.
A Message for Those Aged 19 and Younger
Youngster, please listen to the words of an old man, for I once was young as you are.
To read Biblebell's reply to a Visitor's questions as to why
God did not spare the children who died when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah ---