Nearing Midnight: The Age of Accountability Question
Some time ago I received an email in which the correspondent expressed his adamant belief that there is no such thing as the “age of accountability”-i.e., he declared that those under such a fictitious age will not automatically be transported into Heaven by Christ’s shout at the time of Rapture.
I replied that he had touched on a topic that is a hot issue with yours truly. On this, I give no quarter, whatsoever. But, through experience in dealing with the issue, I am fully aware that no matter what evidence I offer to the contrary, those who accept 1 Corinthians 7:14 as dealing with children and the Rapture consider it a verse that stands alone as proving their point that only children with at least one saved parent will go to Jesus in the Rapture. And, most won’t change on that.
Here is that Scripture: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”
Even the great Dr. John Walvoord believed this Scripture indicates that only the child below the age of accountability who has at least one “saved” parent will go to Christ when He calls the Church to Himself.
I’m name-dropping, I guess, but I asked my good friend, Dr Walvoord (he wrote a number of chapters for my books and we were indeed good friends and talked by phone and in person on occasion), if he could give any other Scriptures that backed up the contention that this verse indicated as he believed. He thought for a moment and shook his head no. “No, I can’t,” he said somberly. I no longer debate the matter when given a contrary opinion, but respond one time and one only.
This is a salvation matter between Jesus Christ and the child (an eternal matter-not a matter dealing with physical life and death). It is not a matter of earthly relationship (child to parent) and religion (to church affiliation) or morality (to personal conduct).
Children who have died physically and children who will be taken in the Rapture have in common the fact that they were/will be instantly with the Lord. This is because they are seen in God’s merciful economy as innocents, considering the factors as dealt with in this treatment of the subject. Most importantly, it is an INDIVIDUAL matter-God dealing one on one, not collectively or corporately with the salvation issue.
Acceptance of Christ is based upon a decision to accept or reject. If a person doesn’t have-and has never had-the ability to accept or reject because he or she doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand, they cannot accept or reject.
The Bible says that those who know to do good and do it not-to them it is sin. Conversely, I believe that the whole body of Scripture presents the case that if one doesn’t know they are lost because of sin, they are not condemned. But, when maturity that brings understanding comes (and the Holy Spirit draws them, convicting them of sin), they must accept God’s offer of reconciliation.
The very character of God, as presented throughout the entire Word of God, is at stake. All in Christ will go at the Rapture. Paul says “all will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” What does this mean-“all” that are “in” Christ? It refers to the fact that all who are redeemed by the shed blood of Christ are a part of the Body of Christ-the Church. The child-even though born into sin because of Adam’s disobedience-is “in” Christ before he/she is able to comprehend God’s salvation provision. None who are in Christ will have to face the wrath of God during the coming Tribulation (Daniel’s seventieth week).
One area of Scripture regarding the wrath of God that addresses the position of all in Christ-thus the Rapture-is found here in 1 Thessalonians: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (2 Thessalonians 5:9-10). During this Age of Grace (Church Age), all who are born and have not reached the age of understanding-thus accountability-will go to Christ when they die. This is totally in keeping with God’s character, again, as plainly laid out in God’s holy love letter to mankind.
All of the children who have died-before maturing to the point of being able to make decisions regarding salvation-are now with Christ. To God’s holy praise, that includes every one of the millions upon millions of babies this evil world system has aborted and continues to murder. This number of “innocents” includes every child who has been slain in wars throughout history or who have died due to other causes.
The Scripture that talks about the name being blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life deals with this, I’m convinced. The names of all who are born are in that book, I believe. Once the child reaches the age he/she realizes Christ is the way to salvation, but rejects God’s way (John 14:6) have their names blotted out. They are written back in when salvation does occur in the only way God prescribes.
And, I’m convinced that not one child born after the Rapture into that horrendous, seven-year era will ever reach that age. Thus, all children born following that event will go to be with the Lord-either upon their deaths, or during the sheep/goats judgments following the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus. As a matter of fact, read Jesus’ words here: “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” (Matthew 24:19).
Jesus is talking here about the Tribulation era-the last seven years of human history before His Second Advent. The Lord mentions two age classifications: 1) children who are in the womb, and 2) those who are so young that they are still at the mothers’ breasts.
There is no mention even of toddlers-i.e., these children have been conceived or born during the Tribulation period. And Jesus is talking here about halfway through the seven-year period.
All children below the age of being able to make decisions on the salvation matter will go to be with Jesus-I have absolutely no doubt, after studying the matter for forty-plus years.
I respect thoughts and beliefs of others on the matter. But as ol’ Dr. J. Vernon McGee used to say with a chuckle, “You have room to disagree, but if you want to be right, I’m sure you’ll want to come along with me.” ( I say this, even though Dr. McGee, like Dr. Walvoord, most likely held to the generally accepted seminary line that 1 Corinthians 7:14 indicates contrary to my position. I don’t recall Dr. McGee’s belief on this issue.)
We will see the truth of it when we stand before Christ. I believe that time is not far distant.
Categories: Forgiveness and Salvation Through Jesus Christ