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What Does the Bible Say About..The Age of Accountability?

What age does a child become accountable for his salvation? Meaning what is the cut off age for children to get to heaven? Is it 13 since Jesus was of a Jewish heritage?

Answer

Jesusí Jewish heritage would have nothing to do with the question for two reasons. First, the practice of bar mitzvah at age thirteen only dates back to the Middle Ages, so Jesus may not have gone through any special ceremony at age thirteen. Luke 2 may indicate that he underwent a question and answer session at age 12, but whether this was a special ceremony to declare him an adult is not known. Second, Jews were born into Judaism and did not make a choice to be Jews. Christians, on the other hand, require faith and a conscious desire to follow God in order to be in Godís kingdom. (Please see my answer at What Does the Bible Say About..Salvation?.)

Generally, a child is accountable for his salvation when he understands what sin is, that he has sinned and needs the sacrifice of Jesus, and seeks forgiveness of sins through immersion in water. I have known eight-year-olds who were accountable. On the other hand, my thirty-year-old retarded son is unable to understand any of that. Most children I know are accountable for their actions somewhere between ages nine and thirteen. The Bible gives no specific age.