Many people believe that children who have not reached the age of accountability go to heaven when they die. Others believe they don’t go to heaven since they are born with the original sin. What then does the Bible say, do children go to heaven?
Children go to heaven according to Jesus and some scriptures in the Bible. In Matthew 19:13-14, Jesus told his disciples to allow the children to come to him. He added that children and those with characters of children have a place in the kingdom of heaven. Children had a special place in Jesus’ heart during his days.
Does the Bible specify children’s eternal destination when they die? What is the age of accountability? Does God hold children accountable for sin? If children are born with the original sin, how can they go to heaven when they die? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more.
Does the Bible specify children’s eternal destination when they die?
Many verses show that the Bible specifies children’s eternal destination as heaven when they die. Some of the verses are not very specific, but when interpreted, their context is that children will be in heaven when they die. Other verses are specific that children have a place in heaven.
Matthew 19:13-15 states, “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.” This verse is specifically that children have a place in heaven when they die. When Jesus said that for such belongs the kingdom of heaven, he meant that those innocent like children and with characters like children own a kingdom in heaven. We learn that Jesus promised children would go to heaven for they are innocent.
2 Samuel 12:23 says, “But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” These are the words of David after his child died. When David learned that his son had become sick after his birth, he fasted and prayed to God so that he could live. However, the child died, and instead of David mourning and being sad, he collected himself up and rejoiced in the Lord. David was a faithful king who had favor in God’s eyes. When he says that he would be the one to meet his son, we learn that the child had gone to heaven. David would go to heaven since he always repented of his sins. We, therefore, learn from David’s words that children go to heaven when they die.
What is the age of accountability?
The age of accountability, also known as the age of innocence, means that God does not hold children accountable for sin until they reach an age where they can differentiate between good and evil. Just like a parent cannot ground a toddler when they refuse to share their toys because they don’t know it is bad, God also cannot condemn a child because they do not know how to live according to His will.
When one becomes of age, one gets to choose whether to lead a righteous life or a sinful life. At this age, they become accountable for whatever they do, and God can even punish them if they choose to be sinful. According to the Jewish culture, a child becomes responsible for their sin at the age of 13. However, this depends on the child’s upbringing and moral values. Some children get to know what is right and wrong at an early age. God knows everyone, and He knows when you are at the age of accountability. Therefore, he knows the sins one is responsible for and that one is not responsible for.
Does God hold children accountable for sin?
According to various scriptures, God does not hold children accountable for sin. A child does not know what is right or wrong. According to Matthew 19:13-14, the Bible suggests that Jesus said that those innocent, like a child, hold a place in the kingdom of heaven. This shows that God will not punish children since they are innocent and holy. They will receive the kingdom of God for eternity. Jesus was implying that we should try to be like children who are innocent in the eyes of God.
Also, according to Romans 1:19-21, the Bible implies that humans don’t have an excuse as to why they do not believe in God, for God has clearly shown his nature and love to them. It says that they know about God but refuse to follow his righteous ways and choose to live in the dark. Although the Bible does not say that God will not hold children accountable for their sins, from these verses, we learn that God only holds those who can see and understand his nature but refuse to believe in him accountable for their sins.
Children cannot see and understand the concept of God since they cannot know that there is a supreme being they should believe. They don’t understand they need to follow the teaching of Jesus Chris; hence cannot be held accountable if they don’t do certain things. However, when they are old enough and taught the ways of the Lord, they get to choose whether they want to believe in God or not; hence, they are held accountable for their sin.
If children are born with the original sin, how can they go to heaven when they die?
In the book of Genesis, we witness Adam and Eve committing a sin and God condemning and punishing them. This is said to be the original sin since it was committed by the first people God created. It is, therefore, believed that every child is born a sinner since they inherit the original sin from Adam and Eve. However, that is not the case since many verses show that one cannot inherit sin and that God forgave everyone when Jesus died on the cross. Therefore, children go to heaven since they have committed no sins because the original sin was forgiven when God sacrificed his only son for the salvation of mankind.
The concept that the original sin was forgiven through the death of Jesus comes from Romans 3:23-25. It states, “for fall have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because, in his divine forbearance, he had passed over former sins.” From this verse, we are assured that the former sin is forgiven. Therefore, God cannot hold a child cannot be held accountable for the original sin. This cleanses the child of all sins; hence can go to heaven when they die.
Also, according to 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The Bible implies that Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man. Therefore those that will go to heaven will be through Jesus Christ. In Mathew 19:13-14, Jesus said that those who live like children would go to heaven. This is because Jesus found children to be righteous and innocent. If Jesus is the way to heaven, then he has already granted children a place in the kingdom of heaven. This means that it does not matter whether they have the original sin; Jesus already made room for them in heaven.
Ezekiel 18:20 states, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the father’s iniquity, nor does the father suffer for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” This verse says that sin is not inheritable. Therefore, a child cannot inherit the original sin from Adam, just like they cannot inherit a sin committed by their father since they did not commit it. If a child cannot inherit the original sin, they are, therefore, able to go to heaven since they are righteous in the eyes of God.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.