Friday, February 27, 2009

The Age of Accountability

My children and I talk often about living your life for God. Everyone has pretty much heard "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it" Proverbs 22:6 (KJV).
Though most of us can say we know some adults who were raised in the church and once they became adults, turned away never to go back. I am trying to convince my kids that is the exception not the rule. We frequently talk about being ready when Jesus returns and this, of course, has taken our conversations to, "How old are you when you are no longer considered an innocent child?" This may have been a sneaky way of asking how long they can get away with doing things they know are not right. I have heard many of Christians say twelve-years old and I always wanted to know where they got that number, so I thought I would look into it.
I found that this belief probably came from the fact that Jewish boys have their bar-mitzvah at thirteen and since Jesus was a Jew he must have done this too. However, this tradition only dates back to the middle ages so He may not have participated in any such ceremony. Luke 2:42 indicates he went to a feast when he was twelve-years old, but it is unknown if there was a ceremony to declare him as an adult.
To be a Christian requires faith and a conscious desire to follow God. When are they old enough to make that decision on their own? The Bible gives no specific age and I think it varies from child to child. A person is accountable for their salvation when they understand what sin is, that they have sinned, and that they need to seek forgiveness from Jesus. I think most children are able to grasp this between the ages of nine and thirteen.
I am trying hard to teach my children to live life for God every day that they wake up so that we are always pleasing to Him. Even on the days when they don't feel like it and peer pressure rears its ugly head. Yes, even on the days when I don't feel like it either.

1 comment:

momstheword said...

My kids both accepted Christ at a very young age. But my prayer since that time has always been that they would get it from their head to their heart. It's always such a blessing to see your kids faith grow.