What is Age of Accountability?

The full question that was emailed to us is: “What is your view on the age of accountability for being saved? Are children accountable as soon as they understand right from wrong?”

Little children are safe and go to heaven when they die (Mk 10:14 says, “for of such is the kingdom of God,” referring to the spiritual kingdom into which we are born again [Jn 3:3-6]).

The reason they go to heaven is that, though they are born in Adam’s image [Adam’s image is the image of sin and death — Rom 5:12], they are not accounted sinners until they are old enough to realize that their sins transgress the law [Rom 5:13].

You see, little children have no knowledge between good and evil according to Deut 1:39 — they know the difference between right and wrong but not between good and evil. Remember that the sin Adam and Eve committed was disobedience against God’s command concerning the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”. For example, the child in Is 7:15-16 would not know to choose the good and refuse the evil until he had grown up some.

Therefore, sin is not imputed to a little child because he doesn’t know the law [Rom 4:15]. According to 1 Jn 3:4, sin is the transgression of the law. The law not only makes a person guilty of his sin [Rom 3:19] but it is also a schoolmaster to bring him to Christ [Gal 3:24]. A little child is too young for either of these.

There is no specific age of accountability at which children are no longer safe. Their accountability all depends upon their knowledge of good and evil. Some children have gotten saved at 5 years old because they knew that without Christ they were headed for hell. Typically, children are a little older than that when they are ready to get saved.

Essentially, children’s safety comes from the fact that they have a live spirit during their early years which dies once they have knowledge of the law. In Rom 7:7-9, Paul said that he was alive without the law once. Therefore, during these early years there is no need for little children to be born again. But after they are accountable, they must be born again by the Spirit of God (Jn 3:3-7).

Babies don’t need infant baptism to accomplish their safety, since infant baptism does not wash away “original sin”. The only way to get rid of the sins is to get saved [2 Cor 5:21].

Hope this helps,

Pastor Bevans Welder