Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Will Children Who Die Go To Heaven?

What Does It Mean By 'Age of Accountability'?

Question : What does it mean by 'age of accountability'? Where is it in the Bible? Will a child who dies before the age of accountability go to heaven? Thanks.

Answer : Age of accountability is a concept that says that a child who dies before the age of accountability which is usually considered thirteen, will automatically go to heaven because of God's mercy and grace applied divinely to let them in. Jesus in the only way to heaven and therefore no other way these children can be saved except through Jesus' sacrificial death. Because our God is merciful, gracious and a just God
(Exo 34:6-7; Psa 116:5), it is believed that God will apply His benevolence for the lives of these children to wash away their sins done in ignorance (John 14:6; 1 Tim 1:13-15). Our God is a righteous judge who sees the motive of the children's and will forgive them their sins done in ignorance (Psa 7:8-9, 10-11; Acts 17:30; 1 Cor 4:5; 1 Samuel 16:7). Though children are ignorant, they are not innocent, that is to be sinless no matter how young they are.

The gospel saved the sons of God who sinned and were in the hades prison under the earth to whom Jesus declared the gospel of salvation after His resurrection and took them with him to heaven because they never had the power to overcome sin without God's grace supplied to them
(1 Peter 3:18-22; Eph 4:8-9). The law of God was written in their hearts (Rom 2:14-16), but it only gave them the knowledge of sin which helped them to look to God inorder to take a good choice to get saved by faith, but it did not give them the power to overcome sin in their life (Rom 3:19-20; 6:14). It is God's mercy which made the sons of God to be judged in destruction with the world through the universal flood in flesh, so that their spirit were made to live in a just way with God supernaturally (1 Peter 4:5-6; 1 Cor 11:32). What is this? Did God save these unworthy vessels by giving them His mercy which they never deserved? Yes. The sons of God were ignorant of overcoming grace, but were not innocent and sinless. How much more God will show his mercy to children who die before the age of accountability?

Two times we indirectly see God speaking about this and revealing the blessed truth about the 'age of accountability' through his word. The first one is when God foresaw something good in a child and didn't want the child to experience the curseful evil of that wordly age through their family line, this is none other than the little son of Jeroboam who became sick and died because God took him
(1 Kings 14:1-4, 6, 12-13). Thus we know that God takes the children to heaven who die before their appointed time. This is allowed by God in many different situations because He wants these little children to be protected from the world of evil (Matt 10:29).

When David commited adultery with Bathsheba and conceived a child out of it, he wanted his evil to be covered and kept silently away from people, so David killed insidiously Uriah who was his truthful servant and the husband of Bathsheba
(2 Sam 11:1-2, 14-15, 26-27). God convicted David of his evil, and as a immediate effect of divine retribution, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and as a result of it, it became very ill (2 Sam 12:15). David pleaded for the life of this child with God, fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. But once he knew that the child died, he refreshed himself up knowing that it is of no more use to pray and said to those who were astonished and surprised by his behaviour, "22 ...“While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”" (2 Samuel 12:22-23). This shows that through divine revelation, David believed that he will one day see this baby in heaven who died because of his sin.

Though we see all these examples that show us about the reality about the truth of the 'age of accountability', yet there is no concise and explicit Scripture that says that there is a age of accountability. But we can clearly know from the Bible implicitly that God who is full of mercy, grace, truth and justice, always never fails to say and express that the kingdom of God belong to such people as children's who do not know how to live in continuous pride and unforgiveness, instead they trust people easily no matter whether they speak the truth or not
(Exo 34:6-7; Matt 19:14; 18:2-6; Mark 10:14). When Jesus spoke pointing to children saying, "for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 19:14), it clearly reveals that accoring to God all the children are considered to be part of His heavenly kingdom no matter what their background are, which supports the concept of the age of accountability so directly.

Definitely there is no other name is given among men by which we humans must be saved
(Acts 4:12), but at the same time we should never forget that the Jesus Christ the righteous is not only the propitiation for our sins but also for the whole world which includes all the children who die before the age of accountability (1 John 2:1-2). In other words, it is God who justify the ungodly, and who can ask this righteous God why he is doing it (Rom 8:30; 9:14-16, 20-21). "God is just and the justifier of the one" who has faith in Jesus when they are above the age of accountability, the same God can show His righteousness in justifying all the children of the world with in the age of accountability who are ignorant about the need of salvation and innocent when they are born (Rom 3:23, 26). In other words, God never demands anything from children who are not capable of knowing their need for salvation.

Sin means lawlessness
(1 John 3:4). In Psalm 51:5, David said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” In other words, David recognized that even at the time after he was conceived and before he was born, he had this sin nature influencing him to think apart from God's perfect will. Then he accepted the fact that he inherited this sin nature from his mother who also had the same influence while she conceived him. Thus David agrees that he was a sinner not just by action but by birth. We do not have sin by our action when we were born, but we had that sin nature which means an inclination or ability to act by our self independently apart from God, which is actually a sin. I believe that children's before the age of accountability are considered by God as someone innocent to know good or evil by their own conscious stable decisions. So the moment they die, they will go to heaven (Rom 7:9). What is the age of accountability? Generally it is around the age of 13 or above as believed in the Jewish tradition. But it has no biblical basis. It is likely to vary from child to child. A child has actually passed in to the age of accountability once he or she is capable of making a faith decision for or against Christ.



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