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The Age of Accountability

  1. The Bible teaches accountability (Acts 10:34-35)

  2. The Bible does not teach inherited sin; the age of accountability does not occur at birth. (Ezekiel 18:20)

  3. When does one become accountable?

  4. Is there a chronological age?

  5. If there is no certain age, how can one know when one is held accountable for their sins?

Factors Involved

  1. Chronological age

  2. Knowledge of good and evil

  3. Capable of believing, repenting, and confessing

  4. Able to understand abstract ideas – forgiveness, eternal life, sin, guilt

  5. Able to realize the consequences of their choices and actions

    1. 2-year old with a loaded gun

    2. 14-year old with a loaded gun

  6. Accountability always involves responsibility

  7. If a young person can explain 1 John 2:15-16, they may have reached a state of responsibility to God.

Assessing Accountability

  1. Joshua 22:22-24 – God requires an account

  2. Joshua 22:25-29 – Must be done for the right reasons

  3. Psalm 10:13 – Some think they are not accountable

  4. Romans 14:10 – This accountability is personal

  5. Romans 14:10 – It is directed toward God

  6. There comes a time when innocent children mature and their innocence is replaced with accountability.

Applying Accountability

  1. Knowing that one day they will be accountable:

    1. Teach them God’s plan of salvation

    2. Not memorize 5 steps

  2. Teach them that God has a plan:

    1. God loves them

    2. God wants them to be saved

    3. Jesus came to die in our place

  3. Do not confuse what we know as adults with what children should know

  4. When should parents start this teaching?

    1. 2 Timothy 3:15

    2. 1 Samuel 2:18

    3. Luke 2:41-52

Accepting Accountability

  1. At some point children must accept personal responsibility

    1. Ecclesiastes 12:1

    2. Psalm 10:13

  2. At the same time – parents must accept that their training is completed.

  3. The child is now responsible for its own actions, choices, and decisions.

Concepts I Reject

  1. Children need forgiveness at birth

  2. Children are evil, lost, depraved the moment of birth

Concepts I Accept

  1. Children are born free from guilt, in a state of innocence

  2. Adults must learn to have a childlike heart

Baptism Not Needed

  1. If a child is free from sin, innocent, not guilty – Baptism is not needed

  2. Baptism has a purpose –

    1. Remission of sins – Acts 2:38

    2. Wash away sins – Acts 22:16

  3. Without guilt of sin – baptism has no value or purpose

  4. When does one reach this age of guilt?

    1. Make a conscious choice to rebel against God

    2. They feel guilt for their decision and action

    3. They know that a correction or change must occur

    4. They understand that without baptism, the guilt will remain

At what age do they become accountable?

  1. Not a chronological age

  2. Awareness of guilt

  3. Understanding that their choices create guilt

  4. Understanding of some biblical information

    1. No account includes children being baptized

    2. “Household” baptisms include people with faith

    3. Acts 16:34 – Jailer

    4. Acts 10:43 – Cornelius

  5. Matthew 3:1-2, 5-6

  6. Matthew 4:17

  7. John 3:22-23

  8. John 4:1-3

  9. Repentance was fundamental to the message of John and Jesus

  10. People responded by confessing their sins

  11. In response to their repentance and confession of sins, they were baptized

  12. Mark 1:4

  13. Acts 2:38

Why are children requesting baptism?

  1. Afraid – wrong motivation for obedience

  2. Seen others – feel that it is expected of them

  3. Friends – Only one in class not baptized

  4. Family – Older family members were baptized at my age

  5. Preachers, Teachers – God commands, I want to obey

  6. Trouble, Unstable home – Children think that baptism will solve their home troubles, keep the parents together, make the home better

  7. Attention – Some want attention

  8. Seek security – Baptism is seen as a way to be secure

  9. Over simplified obedience – We make sound as if – A + B + C = heaven. There is more to being a Christian than faith and baptism.

    1. A 5-year old can memorize the 5 steps

    2. He loves God; He wants to obey God.

    3. Should this 5-year old be baptized?

      1. Nothing to do with conversion, salvation

      2. Nothing to do with repentance

      3. No concept of guilt

      4. How can one be saved if they are not lost?

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