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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, I believe that this question is answered by reasoning together. Parents are reponsible for a child's every movement and action until the child reaches an age of accountability. After this point, the child begins to take responsibility for their own actions, with the parents still watching over them. As they are successful in this stage of life, the parents ease out of the picture and the child is now considered an adult. This is the natural progression of life. (Rather, this is how it should be. I realize there are many exceptions to this and we, as a society, have drifted very far away from this established order.) So is it in the spiritual realm. As parents, our spiritual walk with Jesus Christ covers our children until they reach the age of accountability where they can make an informed choice to follow the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. It is an awesome responsibility and privilege to be a parent. To have a small child and lead them to Christ, bringing them to the realization that the God they feel, Who made everything they see, loves them so much, He sent His Son to die for them.. if there were nobody else, Jesus still would have come just for them... To watch a child's face light up with the understanding of God's great love for them is such a blessing. It makes all the trials of life disappear in an instant. Children are such a blessing! If you are reading this, and God lays it on your heart... may I suggest foster care? There are literally thousands of little children that have no place to call home. No one to tell them of God's love.. Contact your local department of children services. The life you help, could one day... Say.. "thank you for giving to the Lord, I'm a life that was saved..." Be Blessed, Lena
Before I address the judgment part of the question, it’s important to comment of the “born into sin” doctrine. The inherited original sin doctrine is mainly based on one text: Psalm 51:5. Although the text itself says “in sin” the argument made is that David here claims to have been born with sin. And from this, some theologians, have concluded that this sin must refer to Adam’s sin which was inherited by all human race. However, the context of Psalm 51 and the rest of the Bible does not support such conclusion. David, in his grief over his own sin, laments the very condition of the world into which he was born; plagued by sin and the fact that even his own mother was not free from its influence. The Bible explicitly talks about man's inherent carnal nature (Job 5:7), which predisposes us to sin, but the idea that Adam's guilt was also imputed to his descendants is absent from the Scriptures. After sin, Adam's weakened sinful nature was passed on to his children through the laws of heredity, making it impossible for them not to sin as long as they remained in an unconverted state. But this doesn’t mean that we all share Adam’s guilt and the Bible makes a very important distinction between the inclination to sin and the guilt of inherited sin (Ezekiel 18:20). Now, are the children going to be judged? It depends on their level of understanding and ability to discern between right and wrong. The Bible, it doesn’t specify an age of accountability because God looks on the heart not birth certificates and children mature in their understanding at different ages. Even our imperfect and sometimes capricious system of justice takes into accounts the level of maturity of a defendant. Due to the level of preparation and sophistication, a court might decide to judge a 12-year old as an adult, while an older child could be judged under the much lenient juvenile laws. Yet, age 12 or 13 could be generally found in the Bible as age of accountability. That’s when Jesus went to the temple and at 13 is when Jews bar mitzvah their children. It’s during the puberty years when most children start to understand some of the spiritual ramifications of their actions. And that is the age when most Protestant denominations allow the baptism of children. Belief and repentance is required for baptism and it's difficult to imagine how a newborn can repent or believe anything (Mark 16:16: Acts 2:38). Jesus Himself said that “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3) and “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14). Paul also makes a similar statement in 1 Corinthians 7:14. Isaiah 11:6; 65:20, clearly tells that there will be children in Heaven that they were resurrected as children and be growing up in Heaven. So, there are many references pointing to the fact that there will be children in Heaven and very possible that some will be judged and some might not.
First let's establish that we are all a bunch of sinners: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Rom 3:23 "As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one'" Rom 3:10 "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves..." 1 John 1:8 Secondly everyone stands condemned, not for Adam's sin, but because all of us share his fallen life: "Through one transgression [Adam's sin] there resulted condemnation to all men" Rom 5:18 Note that Paul didn't state that all men stand guilty of transgression because of Adam's sin. Transgression or guilt involves volition and small children cannot cognitively know of God's law. Therefore there is a difference between transgression, which requires a knowledge of the law, and being born a sinner. Infants are sinners just not guilty sinners. They stand condemned, not because of transgression, but because they share in Adam's fallen life. We are all born in sin. What does that mean? We are all born self-centered. We are born indwelt by iniquity, which simply means we are born bent-to-self or selfish. Try taking a toy from a 4 year old and see what happens. He doesn't want to share. Why? He was born in the likeness and image, not of God, but of fallen Adam. See Genesis 5:1-3 All of us are the multiplication of Adam's life. That alone means we belong to a condemned race. Since we are born without God's Spirit dwelling in our spirit our minds are immediately made captive to our fallen natures. Thus we sin from the womb even though we aren't aware of it. That's our predicament "in Adam". Now the good news: "Through one act of righteousness (Christ's) there resulted justification of life to all men." Roman 5:18 Through Christ's doing, dying and resurrection, all men have been legally justified - not by faith - but by Christ. Thus there resulted justification of life to "all men". Does that mean we are not born sinners? No! We are sinners - we just aren't born guilty sinners (i.e., transgressors) up and until we reach the age of accountability. Then, and only God knows that time, we become transgressors and guilty of sin. At this point we need to accept, by faith, what Christ has already accomplished in Himself. This is justification by faith. If we persistently reject the gospel we will remain "under the law" (under the curse). To remain under law is death - the 2nd death.
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