THE MOMENT OF ACCOUNTABILITY
For years there has been a vigorously debated discussion within the Church as to the age of accountability. At what moment does a person assume full personal responsibility for his/her decisions and actions before God? Some would advocate a specific age (eg. 4 or 5) while others give more latitude depending on mental, maturity, geographic, and religious factors.
The Bible is clear about these facts.
1. God is just and fair to all. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
2. All have sinned and fallen short of his established ideal. (Rom.3:23) Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, in this same way death (separation from God) came to all men, because all have sinned.” Each one of us was born with a sin nature and we cannot change that reality. Because of this,
3. We all need a Saviour. We cannot save ourselves. “Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That’s why he doesn’t answer your prayers or let you see his face.” (Isaiah 59:2 CEV) The good news of the gospel is that, “Christ died for sins once for all… to bring you to God.” (I Peter 3:18) (See also John 14:6; Acts 4:12)
4. God’s gift of salvation must be personally received. (John 1:12; 3:16)
But at what age and/or on what basis will a just God hold a person accountable? And do their conditions matter?
Oswald Chambers, in his classic devotional book “My Utmost for His Highest,” sheds wonderful light on this issue. He first states (October 5), “In the Cross of Jesus Christ God redeemed the whole human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin.” A wonderful fact! However, he then adds: “The condemnation is not that I was born with the heredity of sin, but if when I realize Jesus Christ came to deliver me from it, I refuse to let Him do so, from that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. At that moment we are without excuse!” (John 3:18)
While through Christ’s death salvation is made available to all provisionally, it only becomes ours actually when we believe. The central sin for which mankind will be judged is “Christ rejection.”
The critical moment of accountability, regardless of age or location, is therefore that moment when, within the individual there is the ability to both comprehend sin and sin’s remedy in Jesus Christ. And God alone is the ultimate judge of that. (Exodus 33:19)
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:35, 40) It couldn’t be clearer.
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
John 3:16-18; II Corinthians 13:5; Isaiah 7:14-16a; John 15:22; 16:7-8; II Tim. 1:5; 3:13-15