THE AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:13-14)

Although there are other false doctrines as fatal to the soul as infant baptism, which gives a false assurance of salvation to scores of unbelievers whose parents or guardians had them baptized as babies, there are none more monstrous, since the flip-side of this false doctrine teaches the eternal damnation of all who die unbaptized in infancy or childhood. Granted, the Church of Rome, due to its unwillingness to consign unbaptized infants a place among the damned in Hell, conjured up “Limbo,” a fanciful halfway house of “mildest punishment” somewhere between God’s Heaven and the Lake of Fire.  Still, no fabricated Limbo can provide a facelift to this repulsive doctrine that eternally banishes all who die in childhood innocence from the presence of God simply because they’ve not be dabbed, dripped, sprinkled or smeared with water in some empty church ritual.

The innocence of a child is one of the few fragrant flowers to be found in this fallen world. Unfortunately, it quickly withers at the age of accountability.

One of the biblical definitions of sin is to know to do good and to do it not (James 4:17). There comes a time in all of our lives when we know to do good, but willfully and intentionally choose to do wrong. It is at that moment, when we deliberately and knowingly decide to do wrong (what we want) rather than right (what God wants) that we become guilty before God and accountable to Him. Although this age of accountability eventually comes to us all, it comes to some sooner than others. It is not something that we all celebrate on our twelfth birthday.

With the age of accountability comes the loss of our childhood innocence. Once our childhood innocence is lost, we are confronted with the peril of our lost soul, a peril that puts us in desperate need of a Saviour. It is then, and not until, that the Spirit of God begins to convict us of our sin and convince us of our need of Christ.

There is no need to concern ourselves over the fragrant buds of childhood innocence which God picks to adorn His eternal Heaven. “The kingdom of Heaven,” as Our Lord assured us, “belongs to little children.” No infant or child who dies in childhood innocence can be kept from Christ’s eternal embrace, regardless of whether or not they’ve been baptized or christened.

 “I rejoice to know that the souls of all infants, as soon as they die, speed their way to Paradise.” (Charles Spurgeon)