Email from the Edge – Advocate & Accountability

J.A. Clark –

Post Date: 4-20-08
In today's modern world, where there is no evidence at all of anyone responsible for their own actions, it's not a big surprise that when you mention the word 'Accountability', everyone looks at you as if you are a wild eyed pistol waver. When you mention the word 'Accountability', they either point you to the accounting office down the hall or they quickly respond 'not my job' or 'don't look at me. I didn't do it'. That's not what accountability is. According to Websters dictionary, the word accountability means 'the state of being accountable, liable or answerable'. This post is in direct response to an email I received from H.A. asking 'if everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) then what happens to children when they die prematurely? What happens to mentally handicapped people and people that have never heard about the Gospel of Jesus Christ?' These are all excellent questions that deserve an honest and Biblical answer. We, as human beings, are accountable to many people. Bosses, fellow employees, etc. This post is going to concentrate and explain what the Bible teaches when an individual becomes accountable for their own soul. More specifically, is a human being accountable if that individual does not have the mental capacity to fully understand the concept of sin and how it directly affects the disposition of ones soul or spirit? When I say 'mental capacity' I am referring to infants, young children and those who have mental handicap disease. Although there is not specific Bible verses that tell us the age of accountability or whether mentally handicapped people will go to heaven or hell when they die, we can find some very important information that will help us determine what God's plan is for this important topic. It is very important to remember, as mentioned above, ALL have sinned and fallen short of the the glory of God. ALL, according to God, is EVERYONE. It doesn't say ALL except for the small children and infants. Romans 3:23 clearly reads 'ALL have fallen short of the glory of God'. That little three letter word, 'ALL', really throws a monkey wrench into everything. Or does it? Let's do a little research on this subject. The first Bible scripture that jumped out at me when beginning my research for an answer to when a child becomes accountable is in Matthew 2:41-49, where Jesus visits the temple in Jerusalem at the age of 12. We need to remember that Jesus teaches by example. There are literally dozens of parables in the New Testament that Jesus uses to teach the reader how to live their lives. Jesus Christ himself said in John 13:13-15 that he is an example. Therefore, because Jesus is an example of how everyone should live, then it would hold true

that because Jesus visited the temple in Jerusalem at age of 12, listening and asking very important questions of the teachers, that a child of 12 years old would be the age a child is held accountable to God for his choices in life. Let's take a look at what the Bible says about young children and their accountability. Everyone knows the story of Moses and how he saved his people from Egyptian slavery, with the help of Almighty God. Everyone knows about how they had to wander around the desert for 40 years without entering the land God promised them because they did not follow the commandments of God. But, did you know that God did not punish everyone out of that group of people that did the wandering? In Deuteronomy 1:34-39, God gives a roll call on who could enter this promised, holy land. Caleb and Joshua were the two specific individuals that God allowed to enter this promised land and then in verse 39 God says 'And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it and they shall possess it.' It is quite clear what God is saying here. Children do not have knowledge of good or evil. These children were blameless and were not held accountable to God for disobeying His commandments. The children's parents were, however, guilty of breaking God's law and were justly punished for this disobedience. Isaiah 7:15-16 prophesies that even Jesus, as a child, will refuse the evil and choose the good. This prophetic statement indicates that there is a point when a child becomes a certain age that he is accountable for his or her sin. Now, let's move on and look at some additional examples on what the Bible says about infants and children in relation to what their accountability is. In 2 Samuel 13, the story is told of King David's adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. King David is fasting and praying to God that He might spare his sick, illegitimate child, however, God had already informed King David (through the prophet Nathan) that the child would die because of David's sin with Bathsheba. In 2 Samuel 13:23 King David makes a remarkably calm and lucid statement in light of his recent loss. King David says, after his servants ask why he quit praying and fasting, King David responded that '. . . I shall go to him [his dead infant son], but he will not return to me'. This verse clearly indicates that David, when he dies, will be with his child and his child's spirit was in God's presence. David knew this because he was confident that he would also be with his Lord when he died as indicated in 1 Kings 2:10, King David 'slept with his fathers.' One last thought on this subject that deals with the salvation of those people who are mentally handicapped. This thought comes from 1 John 2:1-6, 'My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says '"I know Him" but does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked'. I realize this is a long quote, but it is necessary to quote this passage so that the entire context can be seen and explained further. I really like this passage of the Bible. It has all the major components in it to satisfy my peace of mind that Jesus Christ has taken the entire responsibility of my sin and will be my Advocate before the court of God. An Advocate is one who is justified to represent and plead the case for another. In other words, Jesus Christ is going to bat for me when I stand before God and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-13). Why has Jesus been chosen to be the Advocate of the entire world, whether they have been born again or not? Because Jesus Christ was the only human born that was completely

without sin. Jesus lived his short life as a human without committing one sin. You heard me - not one sin. This alone propitiates or 'satisfies' God's Holy court of judgment. Crickey, I can't go a couple of hours without my sinful ways shining through. Thank you Jesus for being my Advocate! I can call Jesus Christ my Advocate because I have made the mindful choice of believing in Him and that He died and was resurrected for me and the rest of the world. If a normal adult does not make this choice to have Christ as their personal 'Advocate' and this same individual makes the choice of not following Christs example in the Holy Gospel, then they become, by default, their own Advocate before the Great White Throne Judgment. In other words, the individual that makes the negative choice against Jesus Christ is doomed and will be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). Therefore, it is clear from reading 1 John 2:1-6 that for Jesus Christ to become someone's Advocate, they must choose Christ as their Advocate and they must live the example that Jesus Christ taught in the Bible's New Testament Gospel. There are those individuals, from time to time, that are 'ushered' into God's court that do not have the mental capacity to be their own advocate, either because they are a child or from being mentally handicapped. There is only one capable of pleading their case. Only Jesus Christ can fill this position. He has paid His 'legal dues' so to speak. Jesus Christ will automatically be assigned as the Advocate of a child or mentally handicapped person that has died before they could either develop or have the mental power and faculty to chose their Advocate. So, although the Bible does not specifically say 'children below a certain age and mentally handicapped people are automatically in God's presence upon their death', the Bible scripture quoted above does give us a relatively clear perspective on what will occur. The Bible does reference that there is an age of accountability witnessed by Jesus himself as a boy of 12 entering into the temple in Jerusalem. There are also Biblical references to children not being accountable because they do not have knowledge of good or evil. And finally, in 1 John 2:1-6, there is the fact that Christ himself is an Advocate for all sinners and will represent those who do not have the mental capacity to choose their Advocate. If all this stuff is confusing, just remember Psalms 100:5, 'For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.' In other words, God will be just and righteous ALWAYS and FOREVER! To finish up H.A's question of what happens to those who do not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a verse in Revelation quickly answers this question. In Revelation 14:6, John writes 'Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.' This Bible scripture references the end-time prophecy of the 144,000 sealed individuals chosen by God Almighty to witness to the world in the final three and a half years which Jesus Christ called the 'Great Tribulation' (Matthew 24:21). Their specific task is to ensure that every person on the earth has the opportunity to hear and then either accept or reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What an exciting time we live in! Have you made the choice to assign Christ as your personal Advocate? If you have, are you following his example on a daily basis? I pray that if you have Christ as your personal representative that you are following his example. Are you unsure if you want to make that commitment to have Christ as your Advocate or you don't know what part of the yellow pages to look in to find this legal representative willing to go before God the Father and plead your case? If not, go to and find out how easy it is to reserve Christ as your personal Advocate. I must warn you. Time is very short. We are not waiting for the end-time to occur. We, my friends, are living IN the end-time right now! Don't believe me, check out my post on Closer to Armageddon.

It will open your eyes in astonishment on how close we are to the Second Coming of Christ. Oh yea, almost forgot to mention. I really, really enjoy receiving email with tough questions. Send them to and I'll hop right on an answer for you. Every day that goes by I am looking up, around, in and out. Christ is coming soon!

Copyright © 2008,