The Age Of Accountability, One More Time

Q. Is there anywhere in the bible that specifically says “age of accountability”. The Baptist claim 12 years old but I cannot find biblical proof of 12 and the Presbyterians say there is no age of accountability. I’m in discussion now regarding children being saved “by default”. There are arguments that children are saved because they do not know better. Others say that they are saved because of Gods covenant with the parents. If the 12 year old daughter of the Jehovah Witness parents dies in an automobile accident whats the fate of the child?

A. There is an age in everyone’s life when we become accountable to God for our behavior. Before reaching that age children are not held responsible for their sins and have eternal life. This what Paul meant when he said, “Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died” (Romans 7:9). Since Paul was physically alive when he made that statement he had to have been speaking in terms of eternal life.

But the Bible doesn’t reveal the specific age when that happens. I think this is because it depends on having sufficient intellectual maturity to understand the sin/salvation issue and the ability to make an informed choice about it. This is different for every person. The Baptists probably took the 12 year age from the Jews for whom it’s a tradition not a Biblical mandate.

I wouldn’t even hazard a guess about the spiritual state of a 12 year old daughter of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are too many unknown variables.

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