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The "age Of Accountability"

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Genesis 2
16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis3
6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Adam and Eve were very much alive, and were definitely given a "law" when God commanded them not to eat the fruit. But when they disobeyed and ate the fruit anyway, the Bible says that they died; they died spiritually. They knew good and evil from then on, and were no longer innocent. Paul attests that he, too, was once alive but died when the "law came".

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. Romans 7:9

Was he not speaking of his former innocence as a child?

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I looked at ten different commentaries. None of them say he was speaking of his time as a child. One referred to him looking back to a time when he had "childlike innocence".

The commentators say Paul is looking back to the time before his heart or conscience understood the reality or meaning of the law. At that point Paul was fully aware of his sinfulness.

Many here like the Scofield Bible so I will post his notes on this:

Scofield Reference Notes
[2] when the commandment
The passage (vs 7-25) is autobiographical. Paul's religious experience was in three strongly marked phases:
(1) He was a godly Jew under the law. That the passage does not refer to that period is clear from his own explicit statements elsewhere. At that time he held himself to be "blameless" as concerned the law Phil 3:6. He had "lived in all good conscience" Acts 23:1.
(2) With his conversion came new light upon the law itself. He now perceived it to be "spiritual" (Rom 7:14). He now saw that, Song far from having kept it, he was condemned by it. He had supposed himself to be "alive," but now the commandment really "came" (Rom 7:9) and he "died." Just when the apostle passed through the experience of Rom 7:7-25 we are not told. Perhaps during the days of physical blindness at Damascus Acts 9:9, perhaps in Arabia Gal 1:17.
It is the experience of a renewed man, under the law, and still ignorant of the delivering power of the Holy Spirit Rom 8:2.
(3) With the great revelations afterward embodied in Galatians and Romans, the apostle's experience entered it third phase. He now knew himself to be "dead to the law by the body of Christ," and, in the power of the indwelling Spirit, "free from the law of sin and death" Rom 8:2 while "the righteousness of the law" was wrought in him (not by him) while he walked after the Spirit Rom 8:4, Romans 7. is the record of past conflicts and defeats experience as a renewed man under law.
Margin sin
Sin. See Scofield Note: "Rom 5:21".

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Commentators or "common taters",


I looked at ten different commentaries. None of them say he was speaking of his time as a child. One referred to him looking back to a time when he had "childlike innocence".

The commentators say Paul is looking back to the time before his heart or conscience understood the reality or meaning of the law. At that point Paul was fully aware of his sinfulness.

Many here like the Scofield Bible so I will post his notes on this:

Scofield Reference Notes
[2] when the commandment
The passage (vs 7-25) is autobiographical. Paul's religious experience was in three strongly marked phases:
(1) He was a godly Jew under the law. That the passage does not refer to that period is clear from his own explicit statements elsewhere. At that time he held himself to be "blameless" as concerned the law Phil 3:6. He had "lived in all good conscience" Acts 23:1.
(2) With his conversion came new light upon the law itself. He now perceived it to be "spiritual" (Rom 7:14). He now saw that, Song far from having kept it, he was condemned by it. He had supposed himself to be "alive," but now the commandment really "came" (Rom 7:9) and he "died." Just when the apostle passed through the experience of Rom 7:7-25 we are not told. Perhaps during the days of physical blindness at Damascus Acts 9:9, perhaps in Arabia Gal 1:17.
It is the experience of a renewed man, under the law, and still ignorant of the delivering power of the Holy Spirit Rom 8:2.
(3) With the great revelations afterward embodied in Galatians and Romans, the apostle's experience entered it third phase. He now knew himself to be "dead to the law by the body of Christ," and, in the power of the indwelling Spirit, "free from the law of sin and death" Rom 8:2 while "the righteousness of the law" was wrought in him (not by him) while he walked after the Spirit Rom 8:4, Romans 7. is the record of past conflicts and defeats experience as a renewed man under law.
Margin sin
Sin. See Scofield Note: "Rom 5:21".


If he already had sin before that point, he was ALREADY dead. But Paul said "sin revived and I died" Got to be alive before you can "die"

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I've got too much of a headache at the moment to give this deep thought, which is why I referenced the commentators. No doubt, commentaries are not perfect, but they can serve as a point of reference or study. That said, it often means something when so many different commentaries say the same thing. Even so, they are not Scripture and we can always choose to probe further ourselves or determine we are not certain what something means.

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We are born into sin. The age of accountability is only based on the passage where David said that he would see his child again.

There are many passages that can be tied together to come to the conclusion that there is an age of accountability, but it is based on principle, not actual Scripture.

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We are born into sin. The age of accountability is only based on the passage where David said that he would see his child again.

There are many passages that can be tied together to come to the conclusion that there is an age of accountability, but it is based on principle, not actual Scripture.

Good points.

Unfortunately, over the years many have tried to establish a specific age to this concept. Some suggest the age Jews celebrate a child becoming an adult. Some suggest it must be based upon the age of those Jews who didn't die in the Wilderness. Other theories abound.

If the age of accountability concept is true, it would seem such would vary from individual to individual rather than being a set age. We each mature at different rates and our understanding varies in this. One child may be able to understand and articulate the Gospel at age 9 while another child might not grasp it until they are 14.

Thankfully God knows our capacity for understanding at all ages of our lives.

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Yes, we are all born with a sin nature, 'the old man', or 'the flesh', The Bible says that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" Obviously, if a baby has not yet "sinnethed", he hasn't "died" yet.

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) Romans 9:11


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Good points.

Unfortunately, over the years many have tried to establish a specific age to this concept. Some suggest the age Jews celebrate a child becoming an adult. Some suggest it must be based upon the age of those Jews who didn't die in the Wilderness. Other theories abound.

If the age of accountability concept is true, it would seem such would vary from individual to individual rather than being a set age. We each mature at different rates and our understanding varies in this. One child may be able to understand and articulate the Gospel at age 9 while another child might not grasp it until they are 14.

Thankfully God knows our capacity for understanding at all ages of our lives.


I'm not saying there is a certain "age" like, "as soon as a kid reaches his 3rd birthday" and I don't think anyone with any discernment would either. I'm saying that there comes a point in time that every child makes that 'transition' ,if you will, from innocence to actively sinning. The "age" that this happens undoubtedly would vary widely between individuals.

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I'm not saying there is a certain "age" like, "as soon as a kid reaches his 3rd birthday" and I don't think anyone with any discernment would either. I'm saying that there comes a point in time that every child makes that 'transition' ,if you will, from innocence to actively sinning. The "age" that this happens undoubtedly would vary widely between individuals.

Children at a very young age choose to do wrong but most probably don't understand that as sin. At a fairly young age I was taught in Sunday school that doing wrong was sin. From that time onward, when I would do wrong and actually thing about I would wonder if God was going to "get me" for that. Even so, I didn't have an understand of what sin actually is and means, nor did I know what the Gospel is. (I was in a Methodist Sunday school in my childhood and they mostly stressed the need to be "good enough" to get to heaven and so God wouldn't "get us")

I get what you are saying, in the other post I was just talking about how some take this concept and try to make it something ironclad.

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I've never heard, nor read, of anyone trying to establish an age for the age of accountability, but I have heard men say, & read many, say, they do not know what that age is, that only God can answer that.

And I presume it is a different age in different children, Some may understand it earlier in their young age, others may understand it later in their young age.

Study out David, & its very clear that he firmly believed that he would go to Heaven, & in Heaven he would see his baby.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Edited to add.

I feel sure some out there have set an age, not saying they haven't, yet anyone doing so is being quite foolish.

Edited by Jerry80871852

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I've never heard, nor read, of anyone trying to establish an age for the age of accountability, but I have heard men say, & read many, say, they do not know what that age is, that only God can answer that.

And I presume it is a different age in different children, Some may understand it earlier in their young age, others may understand it later in their young age.

Study out David, & its very clear that he firmly believed that he would go to Heaven, & in Heaven he would see his baby.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Edited to add.

I feel sure some out there have set an age, not saying they haven't, yet anyone doing so is being quite foolish.

That's the way I understand it too.

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Heartstrings - From the moment of conception, the child is a sinner by nature and condemned to Hell. Now, I do believe in the theory of the "age of accountability", but there is not enough scriptural basis to say it is a Biblical doctrine.

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PastorJ, My Wifge had a couple of miscarriages and I doubt very seriously either went to Hell. The child is truly condemned to Hell if he lives beyond the point of accountability. Before that he is innocent because a baby has "done neither good nor evil" like the Bible says. Comprende?

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Heartstrings - From the moment of conception, the child is a sinner by nature and condemned to Hell. Now, I do believe in the theory of the "age of accountability", but there is not enough scriptural basis to say it is a Biblical doctrine.


You know, when I hear people saying something isn't "clear enough" and that there isn't enough biblical basis to build some doctrine on sometimes I think of what Christ said in this passage:

"Mark 12;26-27 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err."

"Luke 20:37-38 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him."

We see in these passages Christ uses the fact that God said "I AM" the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob to prove the future resurrection from the dead. He states that they are in great error because they were not able to recognize that fact. That is building a major doctrine on a pretty small piece of evidence yet Christ seemed to think that they should have done just that. Also, although Christ states it as an unarguable fact, to "prove" that God is a God of the living from OT passages would take a few more similarly indirect verses unless there is some clear one that isn't coming to mind right now.

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Heartstring. My wife lost a child also. As stated, I believe in the age of Accountability, but I would never stand behind a pulpit and say "Thus sayeth the Lord" as there is not a Biblical basis to prove they are in Heaven.

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Heartstring. My wife lost a child also. As stated, I believe in the age of Accountability, but I would never stand behind a pulpit and say "Thus sayeth the Lord" as there is not a Biblical basis to prove they are in Heaven.


You are of course entitled to an opinion, but the case for that is at least as strong as the case against rock music, smoking, or any number of similar things where there are no direct biblical statements but there are biblical principles to go by. It would not bother me in the least to say according to the scriptures unborn babies or anyone who was not capable of recognizing sin for what it is and dies without knowledge of sin is not condemned to hell. There are a great many indirect bible verses that can be used to show this and if Christ used such indirect scriptures as I mentioned to "prove" the resurrection of the dead then surely it is not wrong for us to do so on other issues.

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You are of course entitled to an opinion, but the case for that is at least as strong as the case against rock music, smoking, or any number of similar things where there are no direct biblical statements but there are biblical principles to go by. It would not bother me in the least to say according to the scriptures unborn babies or anyone who was not capable of recognizing sin for what it is and dies without knowledge of sin is not condemned to hell. There are a great many indirect bible verses that can be used to show this and if Christ used such indirect scriptures as I mentioned to "prove" the resurrection of the dead then surely it is not wrong for us to do so on other issues.


Correct.

I stand amazed at what many reject, & what some will add to.

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You are of course entitled to an opinion, but the case for that is at least as strong as the case against rock music, smoking, or any number of similar things where there are no direct biblical statements but there are biblical principles to go by. It would not bother me in the least to say according to the scriptures unborn babies or anyone who was not capable of recognizing sin for what it is and dies without knowledge of sin is not condemned to hell. There are a great many indirect bible verses that can be used to show this and if Christ used such indirect scriptures as I mentioned to "prove" the resurrection of the dead then surely it is not wrong for us to do so on other issues.


100% well said and some of us get so stuck on obscure biblical passages and the need to "protect" some doctrines that we forget the bible as a whole is there to reveal to man the character of God. I sometimes think that a lot of us worship doctrine more than we worship God - that we place our understanding of doctrine above God.

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A question to consider: What about the flood? Babies died in the flood, seemingly according to the choices their parents made. Like Pastorj, I see no clear answer to the accountability issue. I like to think that infants have a "free pass" to heaven, since we also lost a child before he was born, but that is something I may wonder about until I get there myself.

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My understanding of sin and accountability is this:

By being born in sin our soul which is eternal is spiritually attached to the body and is thus accountable for any and all of our sins. We are not born guilty of Adam's sin. No where does the bible say this as far as I know. It however does say that the consequences of Adam's sin has passed onto all mankind. This consequence being the spiritual death and separation from God.

Now the Law was brought into affect to make man aware of sin as Paul says and when we are aware of the Law any breaking of it is sin. This accountability of this sin in the flesh is passed onto the eternal soul that is separated from God because of Adam's sin.

When we are born again in Christ we are Spiritually circumcised through Him and our eternal soul is no longer accountable for all past, present and future sins of the flesh as it is now seated with Christ in heavenly places - eternal salvation/security.

Now for the age of accountability - we know that the Law is there to reveal sin. We also know that in Romans Paul proves all are guilty, that all know God and have an "instinctive" and built in moral law so that none may say they didn't know even if they never heard the gospel preached. I believe that all children know right from wrong at a very early age and are mostly taught by their parents the difference between the two - yet - there is a big difference between knowing and understanding. I know atoms and protons exist but I have no idea how nor why, does that make me accountable for the A bomb?

So when does a child become aware of sin as revealed to them through inherent moral law or the spiritual Law? I think it varies per child and it is at that moment when they become guilty of sin, otherwise the Law would be to no affect.

This is how I see it at this point until the Word shows me otherwise.

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Prove the doctrine then. Give enough Scriptural support to prove that unborn babies and children of a young age who die are in Heaven.

Again, I believe that the Righteous God of the Earth does the right thing here, but there is 1 verse in the OT that gives us this belief. Did David's unborn child go to "paradise". That is what David believed, but again that does not prove the child went to Heaven.

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Prove the doctrine then. Give enough Scriptural support to prove that unborn babies and children of a young age who die are in Heaven.

Again, I believe that the Righteous God of the Earth does the right thing here, but there is 1 verse in the OT that gives us this belief. Did David's unborn child go to "paradise". That is what David believed, but again that does not prove the child went to Heaven.



"Job:3:11-14 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck? For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, With kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light. There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.

Jeremiah 20:15-18 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad. And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide; Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me. Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?"

It can be inferred from a number of passages. For example in the above passages would Job and Jeremiah really be saying they would rather have died and gone to hell rather than suffer what they suffered no matter how miserable they were?

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Then there is this NT passage where Paul states that God does not impute sin without some type of Law. Sin exists without knowledge of the law but God does not generally impute sin that was done in ignorance. This principle is throughout scripture starting with the fall of man, biblically sin entered the world through Adam rather than through Eve, because Eve was deceived and Adam was not, he knew what he was doing.

Then there is this OT passage: "Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

We can see from this passage God's principle is that men are "put to death" for their own sin, this is of course speaking physically, but I have no doubt it applies spiritually as well. As I said, the indirect biblical evidence that God does not send the unborn or otherwise innocent to hell is at least as strong as the indirect OT evidence Christ used for the Resurrection from the dead. Edited by Seth-Doty

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I still believe that babies go to heaven, but only because I want to believe it. If it is true that they are "innocent" from day one because the law had not condemned them, or they had no knowledge of it, what can we say for the primitive tribes in New Guinea, or South America, or anywhere where they have not yet heard the Gospel?

Many believe the flood to be spiritualized, and represent the rapture, if so, I still wonder about the "innocent ones" who suffered the same earthly judgment as the guilty?

As far as I am concerned, it is still a mystery.

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