People often question when God begins His judgement of them and want to know if children who die before reaching an age of accountability will still be saved by Him.
The Bible does not set an age of accountability, yet salvation depends solely on faith in Christ alone. Furthermore, according to Scripture we should judge and point out sin in others gently.
Age of Reason
Scripture does not specify an age of accountability for sinful behaviors in children. Most believers, however, tend to hold that children do not become accountable until they reach an age when they can grasp concepts like right and wrong and understand that actions have consequences – typically around adolescence. This viewpoint has been informed by a theological belief called the “free will doctrine”, which asserts that salvation depends upon an individual accepting God’s offer of salvation as soon as they have the option to accept it on their own vol.
Problematic with this theory is its misinterpretation of Scripture. Adam’s sin caused his sinful nature to pass down to us all – yet not make us guilty for Adam’s original sin – since sin itself violates God’s holiness rather than coming from within ourselves.
Bible doctrine states that God is Lord over everything and He judges nations and individuals based on their actions; this differs from the Great White Throne Judgment event which will focus solely on individuals.
The Bible does not specify an age of accountability because God sees people through their hearts rather than birth certificates. He knows when someone’s soul becomes accountable, as well as knowing the difference between children’s comprehension levels and those of adults. Therefore, our imperfect and often capricious system of justice takes into account maturity level when adjudicating cases involving juveniles or adults who commit crimes.
An Age of Accountability is a human invention to address an unbiblical free will teaching. No pastor wants to have to give a funeral service and tell parents of infants lost for eternity, so they came up with this solution as an attempt at lessening pain caused by this teaching. But God alone can judge, according to His ultimate plan.
Age of Conscience
The age of conscience refers to the moment when one becomes aware that they are sinners, usually during pre-adolescence years. Children will start distinguishing right from wrong and begin feeling guilt over their transgressions during this period. While infants or small children might not yet recognize their sinful actions, scripture says “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory”.
Sin is not imputed to anyone when they do not recognize it, which means if a child dies before reaching this age, he or she will be saved by Christ’s finished work on the cross; if they reach this age and do not repent of their sins and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior then they will be sent straight to hell at the Great White Throne Judgment according to Revelation chapters 20-21.
To comprehend this truth, it’s essential to remember that unbelief lies at the core of all sin. Unbelief leads to rebellion and thus immorality – this pattern was seen clearly in Cain and Abel’s lives: Cain did not believe what God told him regarding how to approach Him correctly, so he disobeyed and committed murder against Abel out of jealousy – an example of negative immoral acts committed by him against another individual.
People often assume that young children cannot be held responsible for their actions since they do not yet understand any better. Thus was born the doctrine of an age of accountability: an idea which postulates that all infants or young children will go directly to heaven upon becoming adults without being born again, leading many parents to put their child through baptism immediately upon turning twelve years old. Unfortunately this doctrine was created not from Scripture but as an attempt at comforting grieving parents that their child will remain lost forever.
Age of Repentance
While there is no set age of accountability in Scripture, most people reach a point in their pre-teen or teenage years where they realize they have fallen into sinful behavior that distances themselves from God and begin repentance and seeking forgiveness for it. Children may die before reaching this stage of repentance; in such instances salvation depends on their spiritual maturity as well as how quickly they accept Jesus as Savior.
The concept of an age of accountability isn’t explicitly taught in the Bible, but many Christians accept its idea. According to this view, people must reach an age where they understand salvation is through Jesus and breaking God’s laws is sin. While such understanding may not be required for salvation itself, it should allow individuals to decide if they want to believe or reject him as Savior.
Some Christians contend that one must reach adulthood before being eligible to be saved because children do not comprehend or make decisions based on the Gospel. But this argument is flawed, since it assumes all children are born unable to comprehend its message – contrary to what the Bible teaches about how men were created in God’s image and possess free will.
At the same time, an age of accountability obscures the reality that children can still be saved. Jesus explains in Matthew 18 that He does not wish for any of His little ones to perish and it would be better for them to be cast into a large millstone than be lost eternally.
Repentant individuals seeking God’s mercy may encounter persecution from those who do not share their beliefs, which while unpleasant can still provide an opportunity to witness for Christ. One such instance can be seen in the Book of Mormon where Joseph Smith experienced persecution due to those who disagreed with his message of repentance and baptism. Ultimately, however, to overcome persecution it’s best to repent relentlessly while helping others do the same.
Age of Faith
Many people believe that children won’t be judged for their sins until they reach a certain age, a concept known as the age of accountability. Though popular belief, it’s unfounded and based on false teachings.
There is no evidence in Scripture to support this doctrine, yet church leaders fabricated this idea of an age of accountability in order to provide comforting words at funeral services for young children who died before reaching maturity. Preachers would otherwise need to deliver funeral sermons telling grieving families their loved one will never reach heaven – church leaders came up with an age of accountability as an umbrella term to accommodate all babies entering heaven after their deaths.
Scholars and theologians have debated for centuries over what age a person becomes accountable. Some think this age should be set at twelve, based on Jesus going to temple with His family when He was twelve, while others adhere to Jewish custom of bar mitzvahs which mark boy’s transition into manhood.
No one knows with absolute certainty the age of accountability, but it is vital to remember that God’s grace is available to everyone no matter their age. Furthermore, all humans are born with sinful tendencies stemming from Adam and Eve’s disobedience in Genesis 3, so everyone has the potential to sin no matter their age.
But the Bible clearly shows us that faith can either save or condemn us; therefore it is crucial that people begin their spiritual search early in life. According to scripture, those saved will have their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life while those not saved will end up in hellfire.
Warnings such as these should serve as a reminder that God’s wrath will soon be unleashed upon the earth, with its distribution divided among those who have accepted His grace versus those who have not (Revelation 20:11-15). It should be noted, however, that using such methods of judgment during the Church Age are contrary to Scripture.