[Papercut Press] 2001-09-05 - Age of Accountability

Summer Questions: 15

Romans 14:12: So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.

The Question: "My daughter is about to have a baby. My wife says the baby has to be baptized, due to the fact we are all born with original sin. Then my question to her is the age of accountability. I was baptized at the age of 10, because I went forward at church camp. My daughter is now asking questions & I have not found the age of accountability in my Bible, only original sin. Searching."

First, you have not found the age of accountability in the Bible because it is not there. Scripture does, as you say, tell us that we are all born in Adam's sin, Romans 5:12-21. However, as far as an age of accountability -- like three, seven, two, or whatever - Scripture is silent. I don't see an age of accountability in Scripture.

Regarding Baptism and whether you infant baptize or believer baptize, this is largely a measure of the tradition you are in, and hopefully, your personal convictions based upon your study of the Word of God. Different branches of the Christian Church hold to various understandings as to when to baptize and why. "The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves." Romans 14:22

Rather than looking for an age of accountability, I would rather like to focus on the fact that anyone who can read this has, if there is such a thing, reached the age of accountability. We are all responsible for our actions. A great passage here is 2 Samuel chapter 12. This is where Nathan rebukes David for sleeping with Bathsheba, killing her husband Uriah, and then taking Bathsheba for his wife. The consequences for David's sin were not only the loss of a child, but also that David would never see a time when his house was not at war. In addition, Nathan told David that his sin would be made known to all.

Rather than focus on an age of accountability, I would like to emphasize that we are all responsible for our own acts. Another passage to look at here would be Ezekiel 18. Our experience is that we can get away with things, often, for at least a little while. But this passage would have us think otherwise. Nothing escapes God's notice and this passage is very sobering if taken to heart. "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them, he will die." Ezekiel 18:24

Just as we are accountable in our personal lives for our actions, so also are we accountable before God for how we live, believe, and follow Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:31 is a great reminder to us that, "...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Francis Schaffer published a pamphlet many years ago with a great title, "How shall we then live?" This is a question we ought to be taking to our hearts and the Bible every day. How shall we live? As those who are accountable before the Lord and each other, there are probably few other questions that are more relevant.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com