Being Accountable to God
In this lesson we are going to be discussing what some people refer to as the age of accountability. The reason we are not using the term age of accountability is because it can be confusing. It makes one think that there is a specific age at which you are accountable to God for your sin. As you will see in this lesson there is not a specific age, but it has to do with understanding that you are a sinner before God.
When asked the question, where babies go when they die, everyone always answers heaven. But why do they go to heaven. The reason that babies die in the first place is sin (Romans 3:23 ; James 1:14-15). The reason that all of us die is sin (Romans 5:12). So, the question becomes then, do babies or young children sin? The answer is yes, we know that babies cry when nothing is wrong with them. We know that toddlers take things that don’t belong to them and then lie to cover it up. We know that all children disobey their parents. Does God simply overlook this sin in young children?
We know that God cannot overlook sin because he is both holy just and righteous. But if we say the children sin then would they not need to do something for their sin to be saved? But someone would say that a child is not capable of receiving Jesus Christ as his savior, so what can he possibly do?
Before we look at the solution from the word of God for babies or young children going to heaven when they die, we must first look at some things the word of God says concerning sin.
In Romans 3:20 the bible says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. Paul uses the illustration in Romans 7:7 that he would not have known lust except the law had said thou shalt not covet. Also in 1 John 3:4 we see that sin is the transgression of the law. Therefore, the law was given to show us that we are sinners and that Jesus Christ is the only way.
This is also where the knowledge of good and evil comes into play. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve knew that God had said to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So, they knew it was wrong. But it was not until after they had sinned that they had the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-7). Note also that the children of Israel who were allowed to go into the promise land entered because they did not have knowledge between good and evil. Therefore, babies and children can be taught what is right through punishment but they do not have an understanding that it is sin before God.
There are two key verses for this in the book of Romans. Before we look at these verses remember that the word impute means to charge something to someone. In Salvation our sins are imputed unto Jesus Christ and his righteousness is imputed unto us.
Romans 4:15 “Because the law worketh wrath; for where no law is, there is no transgression.”
Romans 5:13 “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
The solution to children or babies going to heaven when they die is because until they understand that they are sinners before the Lord, sin is not imputed where there is no law. God does not charge the sin to their account.
When a person understands that they have sinned before God, then they are accountable. By the law is the knowledge of sin. This doesn’t just happen at a certain age. For some children it happens early in life especially if they have saved parents that have taken them to church were the gospel has been preached and taught. For some it may take a longer time. Some may never come to this understanding like the mentally handicap. But if you have been showed and understand that sin is against God you are accountable and must therefore decide to receive or reject Jesus Christ.
Being Accountable to God
1) What is the main topic that is being discussed in this lesson?
2) What is the problem that we see regarding babies or young children being accountable to God?
3) What is God’s solution for this problem?
4) What is the conclusion of this matter?