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Is the Age of Accountability Biblical? - Tim Conway

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    Of course, I should have expected
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    that this one was coming.
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    Age of accountability.
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    Si - he says, "A five year
    old missing girl's body
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    was found recently encased in cement
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    along a river bed in Michigan."
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    Now, at this point, Si heard a news event.
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    He's using that as kind of a launching pad
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    for his question.
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    He's making some assumptions now.
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    "Let's assume this child
    never heard the Gospel.
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    Could a Christian rightly comfort
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    the parents of this child
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    by saying that the child
    went immediately into Heaven?
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    Do all children under a certain age
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    go to Heaven?
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    Do children go to hell
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    if they never heard the Gospel?
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    Is there an age of accountability?"
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    Now, bottom line,
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    the Bible does not say.
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    But the Bible does say some things
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    about some things that we can glean from
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    and make some dogmatic statements.
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    So, the first thing that
    I would say is this:
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    The Apostle Paul said this.
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    2 Timothy 3:15 - maybe some
    of you know this verse.
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    "The sacred writings..."
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    speaking of the Bible.
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    He says, "they're able to make you wise
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    for salvation through
    faith in Christ Jesus."
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    Well, why would I read that?
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    Because the Bible wasn't given
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    to answer every question
    that we can possibly ask.
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    But you know what the Bible was given for?
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    It was given for us who can think
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    and can reason
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    to know the way by which to be saved.
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    The fact is the Bible wasn't given
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    specifically to tell us how people
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    who can't reason might be saved
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    if they could be saved.
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    It's given to those who can reason.
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    "The sacred writings are given
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    to make a person wise for salvation."
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    And you see, a lot of times,
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    people get caught up with questions
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    that they want answers for,
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    but you know what's more important?
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    The most important thing for Si
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    is to know the way of life
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    and to make sure that he has it.
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    But now, that doesn't mean
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    that this question about children
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    doesn't have practical use.
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    I'll guarantee you, it has pastoral use.
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    When you come across a mother
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    that's lost a little child,
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    what are you going to tell them?
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    You know, is there anything we can say
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    to comfort them?
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    Okay, you know where
    people typically go here?
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    They typically go to David.
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    Some of you guys know
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    that David had an illicit
    relationship with Bathsheba.
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    That's usually well-known.
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    He committed adultery.
    He committed murder.
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    But, there was a child born.
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    You folks know about the child.
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    2 Samuel 12:23
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    You know that David was fasting.
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    He was fasting asking God to preserve
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    the life of this little child.
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    He saw some servants whispering.
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    He figured, well, the child's dead.
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    He went and washed himself.
    He went and ate.
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    They wondered, well, this is odd.
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    Why did you fast then,
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    and now the child's dead?
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    It seems like you would fast and
    pray now? You would mourn now?
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    He said, "now he's dead.
    Why should I fast?
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    Can I bring him back again?
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    I shall go to him,
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    but he will not return to me."
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    And a lot of people have gone there
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    and they say, well, see,
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    David was a man after God's own heart.
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    We know David is a saved man.
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    We know David is in glory.
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    If David is going to go
    to where the child is
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    and David is a saved man,
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    then the child must have been saved.
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    Now that's how folks would reason.
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    One thing I would say
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    in the Old Testament is
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    that they didn't have a super developed
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    theology of heaven and hell.
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    Now listen, some things are said
    in the Old Testament like this:
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    God said - now think about this -
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    the same logic could be used
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    in other places.
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    Such as, think about Abraham.
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    Is Abraham in Heaven?
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    Prove it.
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    Luke 16 - that's a good one.
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    Lazarus went to Abraham's bosom, right?
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    Which means Abraham was on the good side.
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    And Jesus said too, many will
    come from east and west
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    and they'll sit down
    and they'll recline
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    in the Kingdom of Heaven with Abraham
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    and Isaac and Jacob.
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    Obviously, he's there.
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    Right? I mean, Romans 4 is all about that.
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    Right? He was justified by faith.
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    He's a justified man.
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    Okay, here's what God says to him
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    in Genesis 15:15.
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    He says, "you shall go to
    your fathers in peace.
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    You shall be buried in a good old age."
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    Now here's what God said to him.
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    You're going to go to your fathers.
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    Okay? Logical deduction,
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    all his fathers must be in Heaven, right?
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    And yet the Bible distinctly
    tells us that's not the case.
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    The Bible tells us that his father
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    and his father's father -
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    Joshua 24:2 -
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    "Joshua said to all the people,
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    thus says the Lord, the God of Israel,
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    long ago your fathers lived
    beyond the Euphrates.
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    Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor,
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    they served other gods.
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    God took our father Abraham
    from beyond the river
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    and led him through
    all the land of Canaan."
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    You know what?
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    Basically, all the forefathers of Abraham
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    were idolaters.
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    And there's no indication that
    they turned to the Lord.
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    So I mean, the very point that it's said
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    that he's going to be with his fathers,
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    a lot of times they had this mindset
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    that you know, the dead
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    are kind of going all to the same place.
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    And they talked that way.
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    In fact, you know what
    comes to my mind right off -
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    I wasn't thinking about it earlier -
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    when the witch at Endor raised up Samuel,
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    didn't Samuel - now is Samuel in Heaven?
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    We would say yes, he was a righteous man.
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    Saul, I believe, was a lost man.
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    And yet, you know what
    Samuel says to Saul?
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    You're going to be where I am tomorrow.
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    And I don't believe that
    that's an indication
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    that Samuel was an apparition -
    a demonic apparition.
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    And I don't think it necessarily means
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    that Saul was a saved man.
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    I believe what it means is
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    there's an abode where they go to.
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    Anyways, all that being said,
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    I don't think that David saying -
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    because see, we have this kind of talk
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    in the Old Testament that really showed
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    that they had this idea that the dead
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    kind of went to the same place.
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    You don't find this distinction
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    between heaven and hell
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    really vividly set forth
    in the Old Testament.
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    They did not have an accomplished
    theology of that there.
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    So I don't believe that you can make
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    with these other things -
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    the witch at Endor
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    and this thing said about Abraham -
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    it's very similar language.
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    And I think you could come
    to the same kind of deductions,
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    which you obviously don't want to come to,
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    if you start using that same reasoning
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    with these other cases.
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    And we could probably multiply these.
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    I know that in Chronicles and Kings,
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    it likewise says things about
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    even maybe wicked kings
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    going to the place of their fathers
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    or sleeping with their fathers.
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    And some of those
    fathers were righteous men.
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    Some of those fathers
    were not righteous men.
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    I think it was just a way
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    that the Old Testament
    saints viewed things.
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    So I say, you know, I don't think
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    you can dogmatically
    prove anything by that.
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    Now what can we prove?
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    What can we say dogmatically?
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    I can tell you this,
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    children from the womb are not innocent.
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    We can prove that beyond
    any shadow of a doubt. How?
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    Well, it's a simple test.
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    We've already said tonight, Romans 3:10.
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    "None is righteous."
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    That includes every little child,
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    and in fact, David himself says,
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    "I was brought forth in iniquity."
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    Psalm 51:5, "...and in sin
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    did my mother conceive me."
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    You know what? Little children
    are conceived in sin.
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    Little children are not righteous.
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    Little children are not innocent.
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    Little children are conceived in sin.
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    From day one, the moment they're conceived
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    it's in sin.
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    Let me tell you something else
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    that's dogmatic.
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    Little children die.
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    You say, well, that's obvious.
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    But, hey, the wages of sin is what?
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    Death.
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    Why do little children die?
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    If they're innocent, why do they die?
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    Well, we've already established,
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    they're not innocent.
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    There's none righteous.
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    We know that everybody
    is conceived in sin.
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    They die.
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    That's one of the great evidences
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    that there is indeed guilt
    associated with them.
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    And then let's just think about
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    the Romans 5 argument of Paul.
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    Just the fact that, listen to this,
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    you guys know this.
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    1 Corinthians 15:22 gives us
    some of the same information
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    that Romans 5 gives us.
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    "As in Adam all die,
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    so also in Christ shall
    all be made alive."
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    The fact is, all in Adam die.
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    Why? Because all in Adam have sinned.
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    All in Adam are guilty of Adam's sin.
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    All in Adam are condemned.
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    All in Adam are under the judgment of God.
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    You know what the Scriptures say?
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    We were children of wrath
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    like the rest of mankind.
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    You know what that means?
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    All the rest of mankind -
    children of wrath.
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    Little children are conceived
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    children of wrath.
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    They're in Adam.
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    They're guilty of Adam's sin.
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    They're guilty of original sin.
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    They are under the condemnation of God.
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    Death is a reality in their lives.
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    Death is a wage of sin.
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    Clearly, they die.
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    Clearly, the implications of sin
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    are upon their life.
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    Clearly, they're not
    conceived in innocence.
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    Clearly, their conceived in iniquity.
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    Those things we know to be true.
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    I'll tell you something else.
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    God had infants slaughtered.
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    That's another thing we know
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    absolutely for certain.
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    I'll just give you one instance -
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    1 Samuel 15:3, "Go and strike Amalek
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    and devote to destruction
    all that they have.
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    Do not spare them.
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    Kill both man and woman,
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    child and infant."
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    I mean, I'm in Judges now,
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    but I just recently read through Joshua.
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    I was imagining what
    it would have been like
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    to have been an Israelite
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    going into those Canaanite villages
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    where they were told to destroy everybody.
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    I mean, folks, when those
    walls of Jericho came down,
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    there was only one lady
    and her family spared.
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    Everybody else, under the sword.
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    You think about going in with the sword.
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    You've got pregnant mothers.
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    They slaughtered them on the spot.
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    You've got a little infant -
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    they slaughtered them.
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    And that was God ordained.
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    Now you think about God
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    having little children put to death.
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    Does that speak of innocence?
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    But then let's go here,
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    we know that the Bible teaches us as well
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    God is good. Psalm 52:1.
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    "The goodness of God endures continually."
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    How about this? "God is just."
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    Deuteronomy 32:4.
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    "God is a God of faithfulness
    and without iniquity.
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    Just and upright is He."
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    And you know what?
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    God didn't need to offer mankind
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    any way of salvation, and yet He does.
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    And we know that Scripturally.
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    God has offered man a way of salvation.
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    Call upon the name of the Lord
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    and you will be saved.
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    I'll tell you what,
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    little children, little infants,
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    little children in their mother's wombs,
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    cannot call on the Lord.
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    They don't have the faculties to believe.
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    And I'll tell you this,
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    if there is another way of salvation,
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    God never tells us it.
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    Right?
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    There's only one way of salvation
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    we know of in all the Scripture.
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    And little children are incapable of it.
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    Right? I can dogmatically say that.
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    How shall I be saved?
    Call upon the name of the Lord.
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    They told the Philippian jailer,
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    "believe on the name
    of the Lord Jesus Christ
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    and thou shall be saved."
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    There's one way given among men.
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    It's in Christ and it's
    by faith in Christ.
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    There is no other way.
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    There's no other way given in Scripture.
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    It can't be argued.
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    Little children do not have the faculties.
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    There are little children
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    aborted in their mother's wombs,
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    or miscarried in their mother's wombs,
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    at a day after, at a month after,
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    at a week after conception.
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    There's no faculty there
    for them to believe.
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    At least, that we know of.
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    Not that we can imagine.
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    There are people born retarded
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    that we can't imagine have faculties.
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    If there is another way of salvation,
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    we don't know about it.
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    But then let me say this,
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    and this is really the last thing
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    I would say on this subject.
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    Romans 1:18,
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    "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven
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    against all ungodliness and
    unrighteousness of men
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    who by their unrighteousness
    suppress the truth.
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    For what can be known
    about God is plain to them
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    because God has shown it to them.
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    For His invisible attributes,
    namely His eternal power
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    and divine nature have
    been clearly perceived
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    ever since the creation of the world
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    in the things that have been made,
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    so they are without excuse."
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    Can I tell you something?
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    God damns men who have
    never heard the Gospel.
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    God damns men that have never
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    heard the name of Jesus Christ.
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    And He is absolutely just in doing so.
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    You know why?
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    Because what can be known about God
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    has been revealed in the creation
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    so that they are without excuse.
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    What I would say is this,
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    definitely, God tells us
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    and He wants to make it clear
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    that those that don't hear
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    are justly condemned
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    and they are without excuse.
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    Now the case could be made for children
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    that they have an excuse.
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    They never had an opportunity
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    to reject the light.
  • 15:47 - 15:53
    So it may be that in light of that,
  • 15:53 - 15:56
    they have an excuse by which
  • 15:56 - 16:00
    God in His mercies - and
    because they're in Adam,
  • 16:00 - 16:04
    what Christ did on the cross,
  • 16:04 - 16:06
    although they may not have ever committed
  • 16:06 - 16:09
    any of their actual sin,
  • 16:09 - 16:14
    condemnation came upon
    all men through Adam.
  • 16:14 - 16:18
    And you know what?
  • 16:18 - 16:22
    It may be that in the death
    of Christ on that cross,
  • 16:22 - 16:29
    it may be that He
    cancelled out Adam's sin.
  • 16:29 - 16:32
    And it may be that there is a way
  • 16:32 - 16:35
    that God has made that we know not of
  • 16:35 - 16:38
    and is not expressly
    declared in the Scripture
  • 16:38 - 16:42
    because they are without excuse.
  • 16:42 - 16:45
    But you see, all I'm trying to say
    is what the Scripture says.
  • 16:45 - 16:48
    And men, oh boy, they are
    so dogmatic on both sides.
  • 16:48 - 16:51
    You can go talk to one
    of our favorite missionaries
  • 16:51 - 16:53
    over in China,
  • 16:53 - 16:59
    and he does not believe
    it's consistent with God
  • 16:59 - 17:02
    that God would have them struck dead
  • 17:02 - 17:05
    and then usher them straight into glory.
  • 17:05 - 17:06
    He believes there's an inconsistency.
  • 17:06 - 17:08
    And yet on the other hand,
  • 17:08 - 17:10
    one of our other favorite
    patron saints of old,
  • 17:10 - 17:12
    Charles Spurgeon was dogmatic
  • 17:12 - 17:14
    that all children -
  • 17:14 - 17:17
    and of course, I think
    the safe thing to say
  • 17:17 - 17:23
    is all elect children are in Heaven.
  • 17:23 - 17:25
    Because the fact is that when you
  • 17:25 - 17:27
    boil it all down,
  • 17:27 - 17:29
    and I know John MacArthur
    wrote a book on it
  • 17:29 - 17:30
    and he's dogmatic,
  • 17:30 - 17:33
    and I know John Piper just recently
  • 17:33 - 17:35
    lost a little grandchild
  • 17:35 - 17:38
    just right after it was born.
  • 17:38 - 17:41
    And he doesn't get real dogmatic.
  • 17:41 - 17:43
    I've heard him before, he appeals
  • 17:43 - 17:44
    to this text in Romans
  • 17:44 - 17:47
    that maybe they have an excuse.
  • 17:47 - 17:50
    The fact is I've given you some things
  • 17:50 - 17:52
    I think we can be dogmatic about,
  • 17:52 - 17:54
    and there's just some things we can't be.
Title:
Is the Age of Accountability Biblical? - Tim Conway
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
18:05

English subtitles

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