What is the age of accountability for kids?

Scripture: Isaiah 65:20
What is the age accountability for kids? Children mature in the understanding of right and wrong at different ages. The general age you find in the Bible is 12 years old.
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Caller:  My question is I’d heard at one point a discussion about children who die before they are the age of accepting Christ, or maybe they hadn’t heard about the Lord as being their Savior, going to Heaven.  And I was kind of wondering where would that be in the Bible, and also what age would be a cutoff?

Pastor Doug:  Well two good questions.  One is, and I’ll start with the second part, what might be the age of accountability?  Is that what you’re asking?  At what point does a child –

Caller:  Correct.

Pastor Doug:  Well in the Bible, it doesn’t specify a specific age because God looks on the heart and let’s face it, children mature in their understanding of right and wrong at different ages.

God is not like the government who says well you’ve reached this birthday – now I’m going to judge you differently.  He looks at their comprehension.

And the general age you find in the Bible will be somewhere around 12.  That’s when Jesus went to the temple.  That’s when Jews bar mitzvah their children at 13.  And you notice that during puberty, they start to understand some of the spiritual ramifications of right and wrong, the eternal consequences.

I mean it’s not fair to take a seven year old and consign them to eternal death for sins that they just didn’t understand what the consequences were or to treat them the same way as someone who’s more mature and does understand.

So generally speaking, when they’re old enough to be baptized, which is usually somewhere between nine and 16, depending on how fast they mature, that’s when they would be reaching that age of accountability.

And your second question is, are all the children who die in assuming a saved condition, do they instantly go to Heaven, or are you asking all children go to Heaven?

Caller:  Children before the age of what we would define as accountability, and where would that be in the Scriptures?  That’s just kind of what I wanted to know.

Pastor Doug:  Well of course, you look in Isaiah chapter 65 verse 20, and it tells us that there are children in Heaven.  I think you’ll find in um, is that the one Art where it says that the child plays on the hole of the venomous serpent?  Or is that Isaiah 11?

Co-Host:  That’s Isaiah 11.  Isaiah 65 and verse 20 says, “There shall be no more an infant of days, nor an old man who hath not filled his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.”  So it makes a reference here to children in Heaven.

Pastor Doug:  Children in Heaven – and then you’ve got Malachi chapter 4 [verse 2], which says, “…They shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.”

They’re going forth from the New Jerusalem and growing up, treading upon the wicked under their feet.  So this is speaking of the New Earth.

Growing up means they must be resurrected as children and be growing up in Heaven.  So I think there are an abundance of references that there will be children in Heaven.  Does that answer your question?

Caller:  Yes it does.  Thank you very much for your time.

Pastor Doug:  Ok. Good.  Happy customer

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