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← Is the Age of Accountability Biblical? - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 2 created 06/27/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Of course, I should have expected
  2. that this one was coming.
  3. Age of accountability.
  4. Si - he says, "A five year
    old missing girl's body
  5. was found recently encased in cement
  6. along a river bed in Michigan."
  7. Now, at this point, Si heard a news event.
  8. He's using that as kind of a launching pad
  9. for his question.
  10. He's making some assumptions now.
  11. "Let's assume this child
    never heard the Gospel.
  12. Could a Christian rightly comfort
  13. the parents of this child
  14. by saying that the child
    went immediately into Heaven?
  15. Do all children under a certain age
  16. go to Heaven?
  17. Do children go to hell
  18. if they never heard the Gospel?
  19. Is there an age of accountability?"
  20. Now, bottom line,

  21. the Bible does not say.
  22. But the Bible does say some things
  23. about some things that we can glean from
  24. and make some dogmatic statements.
  25. So, the first thing that
    I would say is this:
  26. The Apostle Paul said this.
  27. 2 Timothy 3:15 - maybe some
    of you know this verse.
  28. "The sacred writings..."
  29. speaking of the Bible.
  30. He says, "they're able to make you wise
  31. for salvation through
    faith in Christ Jesus."
  32. Well, why would I read that?
  33. Because the Bible wasn't given
  34. to answer every question
    that we can possibly ask.
  35. But you know what the Bible was given for?
  36. It was given for us who can think
  37. and can reason
  38. to know the way by which to be saved.
  39. The fact is the Bible wasn't given
  40. specifically to tell us how people
  41. who can't reason might be saved
  42. if they could be saved.
  43. It's given to those who can reason.
  44. "The sacred writings are given
  45. to make a person wise for salvation."
  46. And you see, a lot of times,
  47. people get caught up with questions
  48. that they want answers for,
  49. but you know what's more important?
  50. The most important thing for Si
  51. is to know the way of life
  52. and to make sure that he has it.
  53. But now, that doesn't mean
  54. that this question about children
  55. doesn't have practical use.
  56. I'll guarantee you, it has pastoral use.
  57. When you come across a mother
  58. that's lost a little child,
  59. what are you going to tell them?
  60. You know, is there anything we can say
  61. to comfort them?
  62. Okay, you know where
    people typically go here?

  63. They typically go to David.
  64. Some of you guys know
  65. that David had an illicit
    relationship with Bathsheba.
  66. That's usually well-known.
  67. He committed adultery.
    He committed murder.
  68. But, there was a child born.
  69. You folks know about the child.
  70. 2 Samuel 12:23
  71. You know that David was fasting.
  72. He was fasting asking God to preserve
  73. the life of this little child.
  74. He saw some servants whispering.
  75. He figured, well, the child's dead.
  76. He went and washed himself.
    He went and ate.
  77. They wondered, well, this is odd.
  78. Why did you fast then,
  79. and now the child's dead?
  80. It seems like you would fast and
    pray now? You would mourn now?
  81. He said, "now he's dead.
    Why should I fast?
  82. Can I bring him back again?
  83. I shall go to him,
  84. but he will not return to me."
  85. And a lot of people have gone there
  86. and they say, well, see,
  87. David was a man after God's own heart.
  88. We know David is a saved man.
  89. We know David is in glory.
  90. If David is going to go
    to where the child is
  91. and David is a saved man,
  92. then the child must have been saved.
  93. Now that's how folks would reason.
  94. One thing I would say
  95. in the Old Testament is
  96. that they didn't have a super developed
  97. theology of heaven and hell.
  98. Now listen, some things are said
    in the Old Testament like this:
  99. God said - now think about this -
  100. the same logic could be used
  101. in other places.
  102. Such as, think about Abraham.
  103. Is Abraham in Heaven?
  104. Prove it.
  105. Luke 16 - that's a good one.
  106. Lazarus went to Abraham's bosom, right?
  107. Which means Abraham was on the good side.
  108. And Jesus said too, many will
    come from east and west
  109. and they'll sit down
    and they'll recline
  110. in the Kingdom of Heaven with Abraham
  111. and Isaac and Jacob.
  112. Obviously, he's there.
  113. Right? I mean, Romans 4 is all about that.
  114. Right? He was justified by faith.
  115. He's a justified man.
  116. Okay, here's what God says to him
  117. in Genesis 15:15.
  118. He says, "you shall go to
    your fathers in peace.
  119. You shall be buried in a good old age."
  120. Now here's what God said to him.
  121. You're going to go to your fathers.
  122. Okay? Logical deduction,
  123. all his fathers must be in Heaven, right?
  124. And yet the Bible distinctly
    tells us that's not the case.
  125. The Bible tells us that his father
  126. and his father's father -
  127. Joshua 24:2 -
  128. "Joshua said to all the people,
  129. thus says the Lord, the God of Israel,
  130. long ago your fathers lived
    beyond the Euphrates.
  131. Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor,
  132. they served other gods.
  133. God took our father Abraham
    from beyond the river
  134. and led him through
    all the land of Canaan."
  135. You know what?
  136. Basically, all the forefathers of Abraham
  137. were idolaters.
  138. And there's no indication that
    they turned to the Lord.
  139. So I mean, the very point that it's said
  140. that he's going to be with his fathers,
  141. a lot of times they had this mindset
  142. that you know, the dead
  143. are kind of going all to the same place.
  144. And they talked that way.
  145. In fact, you know what
    comes to my mind right off -

  146. I wasn't thinking about it earlier -
  147. when the witch at Endor raised up Samuel,
  148. didn't Samuel - now is Samuel in Heaven?
  149. We would say yes, he was a righteous man.
  150. Saul, I believe, was a lost man.
  151. And yet, you know what
    Samuel says to Saul?
  152. You're going to be where I am tomorrow.
  153. And I don't believe that
    that's an indication
  154. that Samuel was an apparition -
    a demonic apparition.
  155. And I don't think it necessarily means
  156. that Saul was a saved man.
  157. I believe what it means is
  158. there's an abode where they go to.
  159. Anyways, all that being said,

  160. I don't think that David saying -
  161. because see, we have this kind of talk
  162. in the Old Testament that really showed
  163. that they had this idea that the dead
  164. kind of went to the same place.
  165. You don't find this distinction
  166. between heaven and hell
  167. really vividly set forth
    in the Old Testament.
  168. They did not have an accomplished
    theology of that there.
  169. So I don't believe that you can make
  170. with these other things -
  171. the witch at Endor
  172. and this thing said about Abraham -
  173. it's very similar language.
  174. And I think you could come
    to the same kind of deductions,
  175. which you obviously don't want to come to,
  176. if you start using that same reasoning
  177. with these other cases.
  178. And we could probably multiply these.
  179. I know that in Chronicles and Kings,
  180. it likewise says things about
  181. even maybe wicked kings
  182. going to the place of their fathers
  183. or sleeping with their fathers.
  184. And some of those
    fathers were righteous men.
  185. Some of those fathers
    were not righteous men.
  186. I think it was just a way
  187. that the Old Testament
    saints viewed things.
  188. So I say, you know, I don't think
  189. you can dogmatically
    prove anything by that.
  190. Now what can we prove?

  191. What can we say dogmatically?
  192. I can tell you this,
  193. children from the womb are not innocent.
  194. We can prove that beyond
    any shadow of a doubt. How?
  195. Well, it's a simple test.
  196. We've already said tonight, Romans 3:10.
  197. "None is righteous."
  198. That includes every little child,
  199. and in fact, David himself says,
  200. "I was brought forth in iniquity."
  201. Psalm 51:5, "...and in sin
  202. did my mother conceive me."
  203. You know what? Little children
    are conceived in sin.
  204. Little children are not righteous.
  205. Little children are not innocent.
  206. Little children are conceived in sin.
  207. From day one, the moment they're conceived
  208. it's in sin.
  209. Let me tell you something else

  210. that's dogmatic.
  211. Little children die.
  212. You say, well, that's obvious.
  213. But, hey, the wages of sin is what?
  214. Death.
  215. Why do little children die?
  216. If they're innocent, why do they die?
  217. Well, we've already established,
  218. they're not innocent.
  219. There's none righteous.
  220. We know that everybody
    is conceived in sin.
  221. They die.
  222. That's one of the great evidences
  223. that there is indeed guilt
    associated with them.
  224. And then let's just think about
  225. the Romans 5 argument of Paul.
  226. Just the fact that, listen to this,
  227. you guys know this.
  228. 1 Corinthians 15:22 gives us
    some of the same information
  229. that Romans 5 gives us.
  230. "As in Adam all die,
  231. so also in Christ shall
    all be made alive."
  232. The fact is, all in Adam die.
  233. Why? Because all in Adam have sinned.
  234. All in Adam are guilty of Adam's sin.
  235. All in Adam are condemned.
  236. All in Adam are under the judgment of God.
  237. You know what the Scriptures say?
  238. We were children of wrath
  239. like the rest of mankind.
  240. You know what that means?
  241. All the rest of mankind -
    children of wrath.
  242. Little children are conceived
  243. children of wrath.
  244. They're in Adam.
  245. They're guilty of Adam's sin.
  246. They're guilty of original sin.
  247. They are under the condemnation of God.
  248. Death is a reality in their lives.
  249. Death is a wage of sin.
  250. Clearly, they die.
  251. Clearly, the implications of sin
  252. are upon their life.
  253. Clearly, they're not
    conceived in innocence.
  254. Clearly, their conceived in iniquity.
  255. Those things we know to be true.
  256. I'll tell you something else.

  257. God had infants slaughtered.
  258. That's another thing we know
  259. absolutely for certain.
  260. I'll just give you one instance -
  261. 1 Samuel 15:3, "Go and strike Amalek
  262. and devote to destruction
    all that they have.
  263. Do not spare them.
  264. Kill both man and woman,
  265. child and infant."
  266. I mean, I'm in Judges now,
  267. but I just recently read through Joshua.
  268. I was imagining what
    it would have been like
  269. to have been an Israelite
  270. going into those Canaanite villages
  271. where they were told to destroy everybody.
  272. I mean, folks, when those
    walls of Jericho came down,
  273. there was only one lady
    and her family spared.
  274. Everybody else, under the sword.
  275. You think about going in with the sword.
  276. You've got pregnant mothers.
  277. They slaughtered them on the spot.
  278. You've got a little infant -
  279. they slaughtered them.
  280. And that was God ordained.
  281. Now you think about God
  282. having little children put to death.
  283. Does that speak of innocence?
  284. But then let's go here,

  285. we know that the Bible teaches us as well
  286. God is good. Psalm 52:1.
  287. "The goodness of God endures continually."
  288. How about this? "God is just."
  289. Deuteronomy 32:4.
  290. "God is a God of faithfulness
    and without iniquity.
  291. Just and upright is He."
  292. And you know what?
  293. God didn't need to offer mankind
  294. any way of salvation, and yet He does.
  295. And we know that Scripturally.
  296. God has offered man a way of salvation.
  297. Call upon the name of the Lord
  298. and you will be saved.
  299. I'll tell you what,
  300. little children, little infants,
  301. little children in their mother's wombs,
  302. cannot call on the Lord.
  303. They don't have the faculties to believe.
  304. And I'll tell you this,
  305. if there is another way of salvation,
  306. God never tells us it.
  307. Right?
  308. There's only one way of salvation
  309. we know of in all the Scripture.
  310. And little children are incapable of it.
  311. Right? I can dogmatically say that.
  312. How shall I be saved?
    Call upon the name of the Lord.
  313. They told the Philippian jailer,
  314. "believe on the name
    of the Lord Jesus Christ
  315. and thou shall be saved."
  316. There's one way given among men.
  317. It's in Christ and it's
    by faith in Christ.
  318. There is no other way.
  319. There's no other way given in Scripture.
  320. It can't be argued.
  321. Little children do not have the faculties.
  322. There are little children
  323. aborted in their mother's wombs,
  324. or miscarried in their mother's wombs,
  325. at a day after, at a month after,
  326. at a week after conception.
  327. There's no faculty there
    for them to believe.
  328. At least, that we know of.
  329. Not that we can imagine.
  330. There are people born retarded
  331. that we can't imagine have faculties.
  332. If there is another way of salvation,
  333. we don't know about it.
  334. But then let me say this,

  335. and this is really the last thing
  336. I would say on this subject.
  337. Romans 1:18,
  338. "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven
  339. against all ungodliness and
    unrighteousness of men
  340. who by their unrighteousness
    suppress the truth.
  341. For what can be known
    about God is plain to them
  342. because God has shown it to them.
  343. For His invisible attributes,
    namely His eternal power
  344. and divine nature have
    been clearly perceived
  345. ever since the creation of the world
  346. in the things that have been made,
  347. so they are without excuse."
  348. Can I tell you something?
  349. God damns men who have
    never heard the Gospel.
  350. God damns men that have never
  351. heard the name of Jesus Christ.
  352. And He is absolutely just in doing so.
  353. You know why?
  354. Because what can be known about God
  355. has been revealed in the creation
  356. so that they are without excuse.
  357. What I would say is this,
  358. definitely, God tells us
  359. and He wants to make it clear
  360. that those that don't hear
  361. are justly condemned
  362. and they are without excuse.
  363. Now the case could be made for children
  364. that they have an excuse.
  365. They never had an opportunity
  366. to reject the light.
  367. So it may be that in light of that,
  368. they have an excuse by which
  369. God in His mercies - and
    because they're in Adam,
  370. what Christ did on the cross,
  371. although they may not have ever committed
  372. any of their actual sin,
  373. condemnation came upon
    all men through Adam.
  374. And you know what?
  375. It may be that in the death
    of Christ on that cross,
  376. it may be that He
    cancelled out Adam's sin.
  377. And it may be that there is a way
  378. that God has made that we know not of
  379. and is not expressly
    declared in the Scripture
  380. because they are without excuse.
  381. But you see, all I'm trying to say
    is what the Scripture says.
  382. And men, oh boy, they are
    so dogmatic on both sides.
  383. You can go talk to one
    of our favorite missionaries
  384. over in China,
  385. and he does not believe
    it's consistent with God
  386. that God would have them struck dead
  387. and then usher them straight into glory.
  388. He believes there's an inconsistency.
  389. And yet on the other hand,
  390. one of our other favorite
    patron saints of old,
  391. Charles Spurgeon was dogmatic
  392. that all children -
  393. and of course, I think
    the safe thing to say
  394. is all elect children are in Heaven.
  395. Because the fact is that when you
  396. boil it all down,
  397. and I know John MacArthur
    wrote a book on it
  398. and he's dogmatic,
  399. and I know John Piper just recently
  400. lost a little grandchild
  401. just right after it was born.
  402. And he doesn't get real dogmatic.
  403. I've heard him before, he appeals
  404. to this text in Romans
  405. that maybe they have an excuse.
  406. The fact is I've given you some things
  407. I think we can be dogmatic about,
  408. and there's just some things we can't be.