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Appointment with Eternity #5

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This is another reason why I try to ask the million-dollar question everyday, either with words or Gospel tracts. Here it is: “If you died today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” Yes, even kids need to know. (See article below.)

Is there an “Age of Accountability” for kids? Is it proper to witness to children?

Some Christians believe in an “age of accountability.” This is supposed to be some God-determined age where God holds people responsible for their sins.

My question: Where is this in Scripture and what exactly is that age? If it can’t be conclusively determined that there is a specific age, should we not tell everyone, regardless of how young, that they will also be held accountable for the things done while in the body (using discretion and age-appropriate language, of course)?

My daughter D.D. really started to understand Christ’s suffering on the cross in a new way after watching the end of the DVD, “The Gospel of John.” She said that she didn’t want to go to Hell, so we talked to her about sin, repentance, righteousness and Judgment—and this was when she was only seven-years-old. Though she asked Jesus to forgive her at age three, we aren’t taking any chances; we will continue to bring up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Jonathan Edwards was serious about converting children at an early age. In Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell by John H. Gerstner, I read this:

If the best doctrine to present to sinners is Hell, the best time is childhood [according to Edwards]. The number of special meetings for children that Edwards held, as well as the diligent attention he gave to the salvation of his own family, shows his persuasion of this point.

His approach to the children was basically the same as the approach to their parents. They too were in danger of judgment and must learn to free the wrath that is to come upon them as well as upon older sinners. They were “young serpents” who had not yet learned to bite, but were full of poison. They were no different in nature from their parents. They too were “children of the devil.” Neither can they “bear hell among the devils,” and they must beware of this dread judgment to which they are exposed.

“Supposing, children,” he exhorts. “you could now hear the cries of other wicked children that are gone to hell—Come therefore hearken to me—If you won’t hearken but will go to hell…”

“Many persons,” he warns the young people, “never get rid of the guilt of the sins of their youth, but it attends them to their graves and goes with them into eternity.

“So that you get nothing by spending your youth in sin, but are great losers for the present besides the danger that you incur of having your souls full of the sins of your youth when you die and then lying down with [them] in the grave and going with you to God’s judgment seat and into eternity.”

***Read about what happened at our church when I preached Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” last summer.***

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