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Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Mark-in-Tx, May 14, 2002.
I have often wondered at what age a person becomes accountable for their sins. Have any thoughts?
Even tho' it's been nearly 50yrs ago, I remember the day of my accountability like it was only yesterday. We lived in Issaquah,Wash. & as I was heading up the stairs to the sanctuary, I sensed a great need to turn & ask my ss teacher what did it mean to be saved. It was like a lightbulb went off & as if something was pulling me back-I could not continue up those stairs until I learned the answer. She took me to a table, opened my little KingJamesBible & led me to the Lord showing me scriptures. I repented of my sins & know that the Lord saved me when I asked Him to right then & there-on the spot! I couldn't wait to get upstairs to tell everyone. I ran forward at the end of the service to tell what had happened & was baptized as soon as possible. And from that moment on, I have walked hand in hand with my Saviour, always seeking His true & perfect will for my life. Only once have I ever seriously doubted my salvation, but I figured that was a ploy of satan-because how can one doubt something he doesn't have? I think everyone's age is different, but I do believe there is an accountability time & point in each person's life; some just choose to ignore it.
[ May 14, 2002, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: GrannyGumbo ]
I think a person is born accountable for sin This is what being "by nature" an object of God's wrath means. This is what it means when it says that through the disobedience of one man, the many were counted (or reckoned) as sinners.
And then, the moment a child understands that they shouldn't do something and they go ahead and do it anyway, they add to the sin they are accountable for.
[ May 14, 2002, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
I would agree with it being at birth. It was the very fact that Jesus was born without sin that set him apart from us. If we are born with it, then we must be responsible for it since it is ours. But then it brings into question your fate if death occurs in infancy, no acceptance of Christ, no go to heaven?
Guy Vestal said:
What Bible is that from? It's not when is the birth but when is the life... That is question... When does life began? If I thought it was ok with what you just said makes"ABORTION"completely logical as the embryo is not going to heaven anyway! Christ accepted us before time began... And that is Bible!... Brother Glen
I wasn't throwing out scriptures, I was trying to say where does that leave a human unable to comprehend and communicate with other humans, if they were to perish before having the ability to accept Christ.
Let's go back to Scripture for age of accountability.
If anyone has noticed, when the Israelites were in the desert, the Lord said that all down to a certain age would die in the wilderness and it was only those younger than that age who would be allowed to enter the Promised Land.
At the same age military service began.
At the same age the tax rate on males went up.
20 years old.
Now that is what the Lord said. He evidently did not consider the age of accountability to be below 20. I personally think He knew teens' brains are well-scrambled for the most part and it takes awhile to get thoughts and ideas in order.
In Romans 7:7-11, Paul says that without the law sin is DEAD. That means although sin may still be part of the child's nature (and it is), it does not have the power to separate the infant or child from God, which is called spiritual death. Paul says he was alive before the law came and 'sin sprang to life.' Then he died. The meaning is very clear and absolutely against those who somehow think infants are accountable for their sin natures.
NNE is accountable for that which he was born with, only for what he knowingly does with it later. This is Paul's whole message in Romans 7:7-11. Children do what their parents do and believe what their parents believe. If and when they disobey, it is generally on impulse as a result of having a rebellious heart.
God did not hold the Israelites under 20 responsible for any rebellion they may have joined their parents in.
I think we should take note of that.
In the meantime, the infants and children are His and no one can take them out of His hand. That is something they themselves do with their own personal rebellion when it is a conscious (of the law of God) act. It is only after that time they can choose to repent or keep going.
Yes, many children do begin to feel the impact of their sin natures at an early age. And I am quite sure God works with that and with the child through his or her life. But, from what the Bible indicates, He does not hold them accountable until they are young adults. (Please understand I am not saying children should not be held accountable in a family/school/social situation. If we did not do that, they would have no idea of how or why God would hold them accountable later. It is imperative that we discipline our children so they will understand about God's discipline, if nothing else.)
At any rate, those are the two sections of the Bible that have a strong bearing on the concept of age of accountability.
Those who argue against it point out that we are conceived in sin and sinners all the way through. I don't argue that. I am simply pointing out when God seems to hold people accountable -- ACCOUNTABLE -- for their sins and rebellion. It does not seem to be before or during the teen years.
Age of accountability? Another false teaching. Sounds good but not true.
i agree that there is no such thing as age of accountability. God is the one that opens the heart for a person to recieve him(lydia-acts 16) and we have no choice when it comes to receiving Christ because we are chosen of him to enter his kingdom(Luke 1:15)but then again that brings up another issue.......
Psalm 58:3 The wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth, speaking lies.
Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
I had a baby in 99. His name was Chandler. He died while my wife was giving birth to Him. Your telling me that my infant sits in hell acountable for not his sins but Adam. Come on!
This is a question that the Bible only touches on very faintly. We have to believe that a loving God will do what is right with creation.
The Bible makes it clear that we are born with a sin nature as a number of posts have indicated. However, it is not "original sin" which sents a person to hell, but the chosen, willful rebellion of unbelief which results in eternal damnation. An infant though possessing a sin nature does not have the ability to reject Christ. Until that child is able to know their own self awareness, know right and wrong and choose to reject Christ they will be kept by God's power and mercy and will be in heaven. I believe two OT examples suport this truth:
* Mentally deficient individuals were provided for under the law
* David would see his dead child again - II Sam 12:23
While there is not an "age of accountability" as such, an infant who cannot choose to accept or reject Christ will be in heaven if they die in infancy.
No way, Mark, and I want to make sure you know that for sure. Remember in Matthew 18:10 when Jesus said, "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."
Chandler is with the Lord and it will be a most exciting and wonderful introduction when you arrive. That's ONE kid you don't have to worry about!
Sure he had a sin nature, but he was never separated from God. He was covered by Jesus completely and is with Him now.
Are you and your wife OK now? That kind of pain can be pretty devastating. Please feel free to email me anytime.
Well, I am one of the people who said that we are born accountable to God, and I base that largely on Eph. 2 where Paul says that we were "by nature children of wrath." In other words, I think Paul is saying that it is not only what we do that makes us deserving of God's wrath, but what we are underneath the actual sinful things that we do.
But being born accountable doesn't necessarily mean infants who die don't go to heaven. I believe they are born accountable, but their accountability is placed on Christ, and He is accountable in their place.
To just say they are not accountable makes it seem as if God can just choose to overlook an estrangement problem we are born with, without any provision being made that enables Him to reconcile them to himself.
As several have already said, it is because of His mercy that infants go to heaven. And by using the word mercy, there is the suggestion that these infants are getting more from a loving God than they rightly deserve. In other words, they do have something they are rightly accountable for, even though God in his mercy transfers their accountability to Christ.
[ May 16, 2002, 07:09 PM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
How can you be accountable for something you have never done?
Can I be held accountable for the color of my hair? I was born with it. It's mapped into my genes. I can't help the color of my hair!
My sin nature is the same. I may have been saddled with it from conception on, and I'm sure I was, and I know for sure I expressed it rather thoroughly as a child, but I was at no time responsible for it!
But if God did not hold the teens in Israel accountable, why would He hold a baby accountable? That makes absolutely no sense at all.
If you read the OT, you will find that there was a sacrifice for unknown and unwitting sins. In Hebrews it is clearly stated that Christ was the one sacrifice for all -- and that then would include those unknown and unwitting sins, or sins done without knowledge of the law. That means that infants and children -- and possibly all those under the age of 20 (I'm NOT God and I don't know about this or about exceptions; I only know what the Bible says here) -- are not held eternally accountable for their sins. They are covered by the blood of Christ the same way those who have died spiritually and been born again are.
You are one of the ones who said that it is because God is merciful that children go to heaven (which I agree with, BTW). The word merciful implies accountability, an accountability which God mercifully removes.
Yes, and the fact that there was a sacrifice for them means people were accountable for committing them. No need to make a sacrifice unless there is accountability.
Once again, I agree, although like you, I am unsure of exactly who is covered--but I trust God to do right. But that they must be covered argues for accountability. If there was no problem between them and God, if there was nothing they were accountable for, why do they have to be covered by the blood of Christ?
If sin is seperation from God and it first entered the world by a choice that Adam and Eve made to rebel, than How is it that sin is no longer a choice to rebel? Has God changed since then?
It is not that God has changed since Adam and Eve, but that human beings have changed. The sin of Adam and Eve caused every human being after them to be born worse off than A and E were when they were created.
The separation from God that we are born into is also a state of rebellion. We are born rebels. We are "estranged from the womb", we are naturally ''at enmity with God." We make choices to rebel, and yes, those are sins; but our problem runs deeper than our individual sins to the root cause of all those sins: the rebellious nature we are born with. We are born with an innate desire to please the flesh rather than please God.
[ May 18, 2002, 12:34 AM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
Why were Cain, Abel, Seth, etc born outside the garden, away from the tree of life, separated from God, and cursed to return to dust just like their parents? Applying your same question, How could God hold them accountable for something they never did?
I notice you want us to go back to the Bible for this issue but which part? You use the 20 year age of those who did not die in wilderness and say, "At any rate, those are the two sections of the Bible that have a strong bearing on the concept of age of accountability." I notice that you take a little bit of the account that fits your point you are trying to prove and leave the rest unmentioned.
Who was God ready to destroy at this event (Num. 14:11-16)? Just those over 20 or all of them other than Moses?
Did you see what Moses said in verses 18,19 about God visiting the iniquity of the father upon the children to the third and fourth generation? No wonder you left this part out.
What did Moses ask pardon and mercy for in verse 19 if those under twenty were not deserving of God's wrath?
Since Caleb and Joshua were included in this mercy, could we not likewise make a case that the "age" is a generation older than 20 in some cases?
So what bearing does the age 20 have from this account? God has spared people from deserved wrath at all sorts of ages in history. He likewise righteously judged sinners at all sorts of ages including those under the age of twenty. You can’t just grab the number 20 from this account and run with it. Take the whole account into consideration, especially verses 18,19.