The other day in a Bible study class at church the question arose as to
whether or not a baby would be saved, if this baby died, seeing and knowing that
babies do not have the ability to personally accept Jesus as their Savior.
Most everyone in our group agreed that the baby would be saved, but no
one could recall any scriptures at the moment to base our conclusion upon even
though most of us knew we had been taught about the age of accountability.
For me I just couldn't leave this issue unsettled, so I decided to search out
the scriptures for myself.
Now for the readers of this study who have never heard of this teaching on the age of accountability it simply states that there is a period of time in EVERY persons life beginning at birth or conception depending on when you believe life begins and ending age where each person BECOMES accountable for what they do, but when is this ENDING age where everyone BECOMES accountable to God???...well this is where those that believe that there is indeed an age of accountability cannot completely agree upon, that is to say at what “age” a person BECOMES accountable to God.
Anyway BEFORE a person reaches this age when one BECOMES accountable to God they are in an age of innocence before God, which simply means that God does not hold them responsible or "accountable" for their actions during this period of time from conception to what ever this age a person reaches which is WHEN they BECOME accountable to God. One of the things in this study that we will learn is the age that the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible, teaches as the AGE of WHEN a person BECOMES accountable to God.
However, while there are some that do in fact believe in this period of time that babies and children are NOT held accountable to God there are ALSO those who believe that all of mankind is born in original sin and THEREFORE ALL of mankind are sinners from the very moment of birth. The doctrine of original sin states that ALL of mankind are BORN with the GUILT of the original sin of Adam' and Eves SIN of disobedience when they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that God commanded them that they could not eat. Therefore according to this doctrine of original sin ALL of mankind are supposedly born as SINNERS with the GUILT of sin and the sentence of DEATH. And consequently since NO sinner shall enter the kingdom of heaven, then ANY baby that DIES, even though they have not yet learned right from wrong shall also NOT enter heaven according to the beliefs of some who teach this doctrine of original sin.
So in order to ease the minds of those who were in fear of the babies going to hell another doctrine or teaching was introduced into the church where it was needful to baptize infant babies and this would cleanse the baby of the guilt of this so called inherited original sin. So then, in order to hold on to this teaching of original sin others began to believe that IF people are baptized as a baby and then die as a baby or young toddler, then they would be saved because of the faith of the parents or the ones who baptized them.
Now whenever two or more sides that oppose each other concerning biblical teachings or doctrines it is because certain scriptures have been misinterpreted in some way as to mislead us to the true meaning of these verses of scriptures. So in order to settle these controversies, at least in my own heart and prayerfully in your heart as well, I have searched for the truth with God's word as being my foundation alone and therefore casting aside the traditions and doctrine of men.
Sometimes it is necessary to put aside any preconceived ideas that we may have, because they will hinder us in arriving at the TRUTH, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So it is the purpose of this study to find if the Bible truly teaches that there is in fact an age of accountability, OR to see if this teaching on this age spanning from conception to a certain age where a person then BECOMES accountable is just a man made doctrine as well? And if the doctrine of accountability is in fact a BIBLICAL teaching, then WHAT is this age that mankind becomes accountable to God to be held responsible for the own sin? Only one of these teachings can be the TRUTH, so therefore one must be rejected and the other embraced. In other words, either we are BORN SINNERS and therefore GUILTY of Adam's original sin at birth the very moment we are conceived in the womb or brought forth as a new born infant baby. OR we are born INNOCENT before God the very moment we are conceived in the womb or brought forth as a newborn infant baby.
Let us begin this study in God's word by quoting two scriptures that SEEM to directly oppose and contradict each other.
“Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
“Moreover your little ones, (babies and toddlers) which you said should be prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.”
So what can we learn from these two scriptures? Psalms 51:5 seems to be teaching us that we are born in sin and if this is true, then if a baby or young child dies, then they would die in a sinful state and therefore do not enter the kingdom of heaven.
BUT what does Deuteronomy 1:39 teach us? This verse seems to declare that our little ones, that is to say our babies and toddlers AND our children which means our older children have no knowledge between good and evil and therefore will go into the promise land which is a type or figure of heaven. So because God says that they have no knowledge of good and evil, then God does not hold them responsible or accountable to the disobedience that they have in OUR eyes as he does those who were older and knew better and still disobey him.Therefore in the eyes of God he views these babies, toddlers and young children as being INNOCENT and lets them pass on over into the promise land, because in God's eyes they were NOT being disobedient even though to US they may seem to be disobedient to God. The word of God says that WE look on the OUTWARD appearance of man whereas God looks upon the HEART of these little ones.
So then, which verse is CORRECT? Well it APPEARS that we have a contradiction in the word of God. But do we actually have a contradiction or is it just a DIFFERENCE of HOW we have come to INTERPRET certain verses in the word of God?
Now again when scriptures seem to directly oppose each other, then controversy arises between believers depending upon which verse each one of us focuses our attention upon. Most Christians sit in church or under the teaching of others who read selected verses of scripture to support or in some cases ATTEMPT to support their point of view and they just take it all in as being the truth of God's word, because a verse of scripture is used to try and back up what they are being taught by the pastor or Sunday school teacher. Again many Christians seldom, if ever, go to the Bible and search the word of God diligently to find out for themselves to see if what they are being taught is the truth of God's word.
Now this is not to say that we are INTENTIONALLY being taught false doctrine and are thereby deceived, because many who teach the word of God simply REPEAT what they themselves have been taught by others believing it to be the truth, even though it may not be the truth of God's word.
So then, do these two scriptures actually contradict each other. Well, when they are taken out of their “context” they certainly SEEM to oppose each other, but if we examine each scripture more closely when they are kept in the CONTEXT from which they are found, then we will find that one is the truth of God's word and the other one is being viewed incorrectly. Let us take a closer look at each verse to determine the truth, for it is the TRUTH we seek and not just simply to prove our OWN interpretation of God's word.
Psalms 51 is a psalm of David who is full of remorse and he is baring his soul to God of his sin. First we should take into consideration that these are the words of David speaking to God and NOT God speaking to us, as in the INTERPRETATION of this verse by those who teach the doctrine of original sin declaring that ALL of mankind are shaped in iniquity, and that every mother conceives their children in sin and therefore every human being is born as a SINNER. You see just because there is a verse in the Bible that SEEMS to make a clear statement does NOT always mean what it SEEMS to be saying. Let me explain what I mean by this. For example; there is a verse in the Bible found in that PLAINLY states that Jesus has a DEVIL, but we know from the rest of the Bible that this is NOT the TRUTH. However, IF you did not know these other verses you may be deceived by false teaching. I know that this example is far to this side of being extreme, but none the less these is a VERSE in the Bible that PLAINLY states that Jesus has a DEVIL so why listen to him. Please read John 10:19,20, which plainly states that Jesus has a devil and is mad.
"There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
20. And many of them said, He has a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?"
Again you may think that this is an extreme example and they no one would ever teach that Jesus has a devil, but the point that I am trying to make is that some preachers and teachers of the Bible will quote a verse or two of scripture that are taken OUT of the context where they are found and say something like. "Here is what the BIBLE plainly teaches." And then they add their OWN INTERPRETATION to what they themselves have been falsely taught by others or what they themselves have incorrectly concluded that verse to mean.
Now getting back to the verse in question found in Psalm 51 when we read the CONTEXT we find that David is simply relating his innermost being of how he FEELS inside. In my own words, ('David is saying, Against you only Oh' God have I sinned. I just seem to keep messing up my life. It seems as if I have been sinning against you even from the womb.') Now I know these are not the exact words that David uses, but if you will bear with me you will see that this is what David is relating to God from his heart.
Many of these verses in Psalms 51 are FIGURATIVE in speech and are NOT to be taken literally. Even Biblical scholars teach us that many of the Psalm are written in a POETIC language. In other words, many parts of the Psalms are in some ways like PARABLE where not every word and phase can be interpreted in a literal sense. This should become quite clear as we continue this study in God's word to learn the TRUTH. For example look at verse number 8 in Psalm 51, which says,
“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which you have broken may rejoice.”
We all know that bones, broken or not, cannot in and of themselves rejoice. This is simply a FIGURE of SPEECH just like verse 5. You see, in verse 8 David felt as if God had broken his bones, he did not literally mean that God broke his bones and that David want God to LITERALLY make his BONES rejoice. This is POETIC language. One interpretation of verse 8 may be that David ached deep within his inner most being and was praying to God to restore his joy that he once had before his transgression against God. Likewise in verse 5 David did not literally mean that he was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin, it just felt to him as if he was conceived in sin. You see, both of these verses in Psalms 51 are just figures of speech. They are POETIC language.
Now some of you, even though you will agree that verse 8 of this same psalm may be a figure of speech, you will still not accept that verse 5 is a figure of speech, but that it says what it says and it means what it means, that we are all born in sin, BECAUSE of what you have previously been taught for so many years. Again I say to you, before we can arrive at the TRUTH of God's word we must all lay aside our PRECONCEIVED ideas or views that we have been taught, whatever they may be.
David in Psalms 51 is relating to us a prayer or petition that he has spoken to God. At this point or time in David's life he had sinned and was under great condemnation.
However, if we take a look at Psalms 139, which is another Psalm that is ALSO written by David, we will find something quite different. First let's see what it says in verse number 4,
“For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, you know it altogether.”
From this verse you see that God remembers and knows what David said in Psalms 51 about being shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin. Then God hears David going on to say in verses 13 and 14 of Psalm 139, which is the very OPPOSITE of what some have INTERPRETED Psalm 51:5 to mean.
“For you have possessed my reins; you have covered me in my mothers WOMB. I will PRAISE you; for I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. MARVELOUS are your works; and THAT, my soul knows right well.”
Now at this point or time in David's life he is in better spirits, of a joyous heart, and NOT under the condemnation of his sin. In other words, David is more in his “right mind”, so to speak. and sees more clearly that all of God's creation and works are MARVELOUS and that he himself is fearfully and WONDERFULLY made FROM his mother's WOMB. David no longer sees himself as being formed in iniquity and conceived in sin, but RATHER joyously proclaims to God that he is FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE and THAT FACT that he was WONDERFULLY MADE from his mother's WOMB and that God COVERED him in his mother's WOMB David proclaims that he KNOWS RIGHT WELL!
So then, WHICH passage of scripture is CORRECT? Either David and ALL of mankind are MADE SINNERS by God from the WOMB as some have INTERPRETED Psalms 51:5 to mean, OR as David proclaimed in Psalm 139 that he KNOWS RIGHT WELL that David and ALL of mankind are WONDERFULLY MADE by God and that ALL his works are MARVELOUS.
Is the Bible contradicting itself or is it just an INCORRECT interpretation of Psalms 51:5 that CONTRADICTS the more clear passage of scripture found in Psalm 139? The Jews were wrong when they FALSELY ACCUSED Jesus of having a DEVIL, so in the same way IF David was TRULY accusing God that he was BORN in sin, and later on PLAINLY states that he is FEARFUL and WONDERFULLY made, then WHICH of these testimonies of David are we to view as being the TRUTH of the whole word of God?
James 3:8 and 9 says,
“But the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we MEN, which are made after the SIMILITUDE of God.”
Sometimes we speak things in ignorance and curse other men including ourselves, just as David did in Psalms 51:5, when he spoke of himself as being shaped in iniquity, by speaking contrary to what GOD says about us. In other words, sometimes we can be really hard on ourselves and in God's eyes curse our self by saying things like, I am nothing but a no good sinner, I have been sinning from birth and no matter what I try to do I always end up sinning. It is just the way I am. I must have been born a sinner so I have to accept that I am only human and it is my very nature to sin. This is what the preacher keeps telling me so it must be true.
Now some of you may think that what I just said is again to the side of being extreme, but the truth of the matter I and many of you as well have heard those who are gay or homosexual say that they are BORN the way that they are and that this is who they are so why fight it any longer. They simple believe the lie of the devil and accept that they were BORN with the NATURE of being a homosexual. But I assure you that God's word of TRUTH teaches us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made after the SIMILITUDE of God. We were created in the image of God and we all know that God is NOT a SINNER. So a thousand times NO! We are NOT BORN with a SINFUL NATURE! Nor are we born with the GUILT of Adam's original sin as the doctrine of original sin falsely teaches.
There have been times that I have heard Christians confess or profess that they are sinners, but they themselves are unknowingly cursing themselves by continually confessing that they are SINNERS saved by grace or that they are sinners just like the rest of the world only forgiven, when all the time GOD says that we are made in the righteousness of him through his Son Jesus and a NEW creature created in Jesus Christ unto good works. If only we would just BELIEVE and WALK in this RIGHTEOUSNESS. The TRUTH of the matter is that we are no longer sinners, but we ARE in fact NEW CREATURES in Christ Jesus and the old sinful man is past away and all things have become new. Well that is another study in and of itself. For a deep understanding in this area please read the study entitled "HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE FREE FROM SIN".
But for now let us continue. In the latter part of this verse in James chapter 3 where the word of God tells us that we are all made in the SIMILITUDE of God. This means that we are created, made, formed, SHAPED, fashioned, and born in the likeness and image of God in which there is no sin.
Look at Genesis 1:27
“So God created man in his OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
And in verse 31 the word of God goes on to say,
“And God saw EVERYTHING that he made, and behold, it was VERY GOOD...”
Then in Genesis 9:6
“...for in the IMAGE of God made he man.”
So since we are created in God's very own image, then how can anyone conclude that all of mankind is born in sin, seeing that God saw that everything that he made was VERY GOOD; not just good, but VERY GOOD and would reproduce after it's kind.
We are barely started in this study, only looking at a few verses of scripture, and it is already clear to me that those that teach ORIGINAL SIN have NOT considered and taken into account the WHOLE word of God. I cannot impress upon you, the reader, enough to hear the WHOLE MATTER, before you form an opinion or make a judgment. We must always hear and weigh ALL the evidence before we can WISELY choose what we are to believe.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 says,
“Lo, this ONLY have I found, that God has made man UPRIGHT; but they have sought out inventions.”
If one is truly honest with themselves and are genuinely seeking to know the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING but the TRUTH, then they CANNOT conclude from Psalm 51:5 that all men are born in sin and therefore are sinners from the time that they are born, IF they consider the WHOLE word of God.
You see, this is a FORCED interpretation of this verse of scripture. For if this verse is to be taken “literally”, then David would be contradicting himself, even in this SAME passage of scripture.
Take a close look at this verse 5 in the whole context of Psalm 51 where we find that David is repenting before God. David knows in his heart that HE HIMSELF has sinned against God, but in verse 5, again IF taken “literally”, then David would be BLAMING God for his sin. In essence David would be accusing God saying, you made me this way God, you formed me in iniquity from the womb, in sin did my mother conceive me, it is not my fault, I cannot help but sin for I am just a sinner born into sin.
Surely anyone seeking the TRUTH can see that this is not the case. God did not form us in iniquity and all men are NOT born as sinners. We are born UPRIGHT before God, then we are DECEIVED and lead astray by the enemy Satan, called the devil, the DECEIVER of the whole world.
Look at what Paul says in Romans 7:9
“For I was ALIVE without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
You see, Paul is saying that there is a time in our lives, when sin is not imputed to us, that is to say, that God does NOT hold us accountable for our ignorance. It is this age of innocence that Paul is telling us about in this verse in Romans.
Here is whats Acts 17:30 says on times of ignorance.
“And in the times of this ignorance God WINKED AT; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.”
Now lets go back to Deuteronomy 1:39 and examine the TRUTH that NO man is born in sin and henceforth is NOT a sinner from the moment of birth and therefore is not held accountable before God until they know to refuse evil and choose good, or they reach the age that God deems man to be accountable.
Deuteronomy 1:39 says this,
“Moreover your little ones (your babies and toddlers) which you SAID should be a prey, AND your children, (your older offspring) which in that day (the day that they were babies, toddlers and children when their parents disobeyed God) had NO KNOWLEDGE between GOOD and EVIL, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.”
First of all this passage of scripture, that is to say, the entire context of where this scripture is found is relating the account of the people of Israel coming out of the land of Egypt and going into the land of promise which many agree is a type, shadow or figure of heaven.
Read verses 21 through 39 for yourself, but in my own short version, God promises the people of Israel a good land flowing with plenty and tells them to go and possess it. But instead of believing God and immediately obeying him by going in and possessing the land they send spies into the land to see if they are able to possess the land. This shows doubt and unbelief. They spied out the land for forty days and only two of the Israelites returned with a good report. These two men were Joshua and Caleb, which believed God that they could possess the land, and because they believed God, then God allowed only these two who were adults at this time to go in thither and possess it. But for the rest of the ADULT people of Israel, who knew just like Joshua and Cabled how to CHOOSE between GOOD and EVIL, they were made to wander in the wilderness for forty years, one year for each day they spied out the land in fear, because these CHOOSE to doubt and NOT believe God. Now the EVIL was not solely that they sent spies into the land, because Joshua and Caleb were among these spies as well. What the Bible calls EVIL is to say or do the opposite of what God has said or commanded to do. Yous see God calls the report of the other spies and EVIL report, because they said that they could NOT possess the land even thought God told them to go and possess the land. So the EVIL is their UNBELIEF and DISOBEDIENCE to God's word.
So we see a principle here, those who BELIEVE God's word, RECEIVE from God, and those who choose UNBELIEF, do not receive from God. For more understanding of this principle please read the study entitled "BIBLE MEANING OF FAITH"
However, God made an EXCEPTION for the babies, toddlers, and children. God did not require these little ones to have faith. God said,
“Moreover your little ones (your babies and toddlers)...AND your children (your older children) which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.”
The reason God made this exception to allow the little ones, which we would say in our terminology of today, your babies and toddlers was because they did not know any better. But the babies and toddlers were not the only exception, God said AND not ONLY your little ones, but also your older children shall go in and possess the land. And again the reason God made this exception was BECAUSE they had no knowledge between good and evil. Also keep in mind that these who went into the promise land, which again is a type of shadow of heaven were no longer babies and children by the time the enter the promise land. Remember that they wandered in the wilderness with their parents for forty years. Some say one year for every day they spied out the land.
Any way the point of this passage of scripture shows us that God did NOT hold these little ones ACCOUNTABLE for the sins of their parents, because they had no knowledge of good and evil. So then, what does the Bible say to be this “age of accountability”? In other words, how old are children still considered to be children without a good understanding between good and evil in the eyes of God? Remember God looks upon the heart and we are talking about in GOD'S EYES and not our own eyes. In other words, one must understand that it is what God thinks and says and NOT what you or I think it should be.
Numbers 32:11 and 12 says
“Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from TWENTY years and UPWARD, shall see the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Issac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: save Caleb...and Joshua...”
So then, in GOD'S eyes, NOT MAN'S eyes, but in God's eyes everyone under the age of TWENTY years old or up to the day that they turned twenty years of age were NOT held ACCOUNTABLE for the sins of the people of Israel and were allowed to enter into the promise land because they had NO KNOWLEDGE between good and evil. So likewise we can conclude that all children under the age of twenty years are considered children in God's eyes and INNOCENT before Almighty God where they are NOT held accountable for their deeds.
Now here is where we sometimes get a little heated, because of what we have been taught previously. We tend to rationalize beyond the word of God and say things like, “Your not going to tell me that a teenager does not know right from wrong.”
No, I am not, but this is what the word of God says. Yes, I agree, IF a parent is a Christian and teaches his or her child all along the way of this child's development of growing up, then these particular children who have been TAUGHT right from wrong and what the will of God is for their lives, then these children will know right from wrong. And depending upon what they have been TAUGHT it may be that even some of these children may even also fully grasp the true consequences if they choose the wrong instead of choosing the good, but ultimately ONLY God knows the heart of each individual.
It is Almighty God who has chosen to extend mercy and grace to all who are under the age of twenty years old, and NOT US. After all, ONLY God knows the heart of each individual. So then, as for ME, I am NOT going to JUDGE whether or not a person who DIES under the age of twenty to be LOST, unless I personally KNOW that this person has made Jesus Lord and savior of their life and then they have went back into their SINFUL lifestyle and DIED in their state of living IN SIN. But even then they could have REPENTED at the very moment before they drew their last breath. ONLY Almighty God knows their heart. So then, for the comforting of those who have lost a child I am going to side with the WHOLE word of God that leads me to believe that Almighty God has made the CHOICE to NOT HOLD these little ones ACCOUNTABLE for their deeds.
Now again, it may be that if some accept Jesus at a young age and have been TAUGHT knowledge to refuse evil and to choose good, because they have good Christian parents who have taught them the word of God from when they became old enough to learn, then these particular children MAY be held accountable for the knowledge that they possess. Clearly the Bible teaches us that we are to walk in the light that we have. Therefore I lean to believe that God does not honor this verse IF a person were to intentionally use this verse out of context as a license to sin. So therefore, if you are a teenager and you are reading this study, then don't get any wrong ideas that you can do what ever you want to do and God will not hold you accountable. He that KNOWS to do RIGHT and does it NOT to THAT person it IS SIN! Do NOT be DECEIVED!
The word of God says in James 4:17
“Therefore to him that KNOWS to do good, and does it not, to HIM (or HER) it is sin.”
Only God truly knows the heart. But it seems for certain in the case of those who do not have Christian parents and have no knowledge of God, then they will only be held accountable for what they know. They may not meet OUR standard of RIGHTEOUSNESS, but the word of God teaches us that those that do RIGHTEOUSNESS are RIGHTEOUS even as he is righteous. Please read 1 John 3:7 which says,
" Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he (speaking of Jesus) is righteous."
There is a verse in Revelation 3:24 where Jesus seems to be “cutting some slack” so to speak, to some in the church of Thyatira.
“But unto you I say, and unto the REST in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have NOT KNOWN the depths of Satan, as they speak, I will PUT upon you NONE OTHER BURDEN.”
In other words I will not hold you responsible for you have not known the depths of Satan.
Also I might add, if someone is exposed to the gospel of Jesus and hears the word of God concerning salvation, then they are held responsible for this knowledge. If they do not accept it and believe it then they are condemned already.
Look at John 3:17 and 18 which says,
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is NOT condemned: BUT he that BELIEVES NOT is condemned already, because he has NOT believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Now first, one must hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, before one can believe in the only begotten Son of God.
Look at Romans 10:13 and 14,
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have NOT HEARD? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
So what about all the people that do not have a chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus concerning salvation? Well this is a rather lengthy answer in and of itself which I will deal with in another study. For now let us return to the controversy between those that believe in the age of accountability and and those that believe that all men are born in sin and therefore are held accountable at birth.
Those that believe in original sin also use Psalms 58:3 to support their point of view.
“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”
Just as we could not take Psalms 51:5 “literally” likewise we cannot take this verse literally. It is obvious to everyone that a newborn baby cannot speak either the truth or lies when they are first born. They simply cannot speak coherently anything at birth. So again this language is figurative and in essence says that we SEEM to go ASTRAY from the moment we are born, soon beginning to speak lies.
Also notice this verse says that we go astray. You see, in order for someone to GO ASTRAY one must FIRST be in an UPRIGHT state in the eyes of God. And this is exactly what the Bible teaches, that we are born upright before God. Then we LEARN to refuse evil and choose the good. Ca you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, the IF the doctrine of original sin were true and we all were BORN with the GUILT of Adam's sin, then we would ALREADY be ASTRAY from God the very moment that we are born. One cannot GO astray from God if they were never in an upright and innocent state before God from the start. The Bible teaches us that we must first LEARN to refuse the evil and to choose the good before we are held accountable for our actions.
Some may argue when their child does something bad and say, "Now I know for a fact that I did not teach my child that!", then they FALSELY conclude that children are just born with this nature to do bad things. I have heard people say, I have never had to teach my child to do something bad, they just seem to know it already", and may also falsely conclude and say something like, "So then, if they were not born with this nature, then how did they get it?" leaving those that hear such thing with the wrong idea that the only other choice is to conclude that they must have been BORN with a SINFUL NATURE.
Now I agree that this is a good question. So HOW then did you yourself LEARN to do things that are wrong? Exactly, the enemy came along and WHISPERED in your ear and you listened to him. But as you got older you grew wiser, well supposedly you grew wiser and you don't keep making the same mistakes over and over. Anyway most of us have LEARNED not to listen to this voice, because we found that that this voice is the voice of the enemy, which always lies to us. Well this is the way that the Bible teaches us that the enemy Satan the devil works, but some of us even as adult have not FULLY learned all the wiles and trickery of the devil. Yes I agree that no GOOD parent will teach their child KNOWINGLY to do wrong, but this does NOT mean that the child did NOT LEARN his of her behavior and therefore must have been BORN with their SINFUL behavior.
I remember going to the store one day and my little two year old daughter saw a tantrum being displayed by a much older child around the age of 7 or 8 throwing herself in the floor and kicking and screaming until her mom gave into her fit and gave her what she wanted. Soon after this incident my little two year old threw herself on the floor kicking and screaming and I promptly snatched her up into my arm and said I know were you LEARNED that and this kind of behavior is NOT acceptable. She never again threw another tantrum, because she was properly TAUGHT that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated. Now I am persuaded that the enemy brought to her remembrance of what she saw this other girl doing and that voice of the enemy that we all hear in our minds told her that if she did this, then she would get what she wanted as well. So I ask you, what two year old would question a voice or idea coming to his of her head that he of she could have anything they want if they just scream loud and long enough in front of their parents and even more so when other people are around. The truth of the matter is that our behavior is LEARNED and the enemy of our sous plays a very key role to make sure that our learned behavior is SINFUL. So again a thousand times NO! we are NOT BORN with a SINFUL NATURE that compels us to sin, but rather it is Satan the devil that is the INFLUENCE in the world that compels mankind to sin. Please read the study "THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN" for an in depth study exposing this doctrine of devils.
So then, temptation comes or this voice comes and places these thoughts in our mind, then we either go astray and choose the evil, or we choose to resist the temptation to disobey God's commands and remain faithful to God by our obedience to his word. It is a learning process, so hang in there. The more you learn, then the less you will be DECEIVED by the enemy. For more understanding on this subject please read the study entitled "WEAPONS OF THE ENEMY SATAN."
Even Jesus needed to LEARN to refuse evil and to choose the good.
Isaiah 7:16 says,
“For BEFORE the child shall KNOW to REFUSE the evil and CHOOSE the good, the land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both her kings.”
Now while this verse of scripture is a prophecy referring to Jesus as a child, BEFORE he knows to refuse the evil and choose the good, where the “he” is referring to Jesus, this verse also includes every child. You see, even Jesus was TAUGHT by his heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit of his God and had to LEARN obedience and how to refuse evil and to choose the good. we know from God's word that Jesus read the scriptures to learn the ways of God. Please look at these following scriptures.
God did not simply “zap” his Son Jesus with the Holy Spirit, so to speak, whereby Jesus instantaneously became fluent in the knowledge of how to walk in the Spirit of God. Little by little Jesus grew stronger and stronger in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
John 8:28 says it like this
“...I do nothing of MYSELF, but as my Father had TAUGHT me, I speak these things.”
Jesus was TAUGHT by the Father the same way God teaches us and that teaching is through the Holy Spirit and the word of God.
Luke 4:18 says that Jesus was anointed or empowered to PREACH the Gospel the SAME way Jesus instructed the church to wait to be empowered BEFORE going out to try and preach the gospel in their own strength, and this empowerment comes through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, (ask yourself why?) because he has ANOINTED me (again why was Jesus anointed?) to PREACH the gospel....”
Isaiah 50:5 tells us that God opened the ear of Jesus to hear, that is to say, his spiritual ear, to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus was not rebellious, but learned obedience, even unto death on the cross.
“The Lord has OPENED my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and the spitting”
Verse 4 of this same chapter we see that God the Father TAUGHT Jesus the wisdom of the scriptures so that he may do his Father's will.
“The Lord God has given me the tongue of the LEARNED, that I should know HOW to speak a word in SEASON to him that is weary: he wakens my ear morning by morning, he wakens my ear to HEAR as the LEARNED.”
You see, Jesus LEARNED little by little, day by day, morning by morning. God TAUGHT Jesus by his Holy Spirit and led Jesus by his Spirit to speak forth his word in due season to the weary, the broken hearted, the sick and the lame. Jesus' EMPOWERMENT of the Holy Spirit was a LEARNING process that came little by little over time, just like it does for us. Sometimes Jesus perceived things and sometimes he did not.
Hebrews 5:8 says it like this,
“Though he were the Son, YET LEARNED he obedience by the things he suffered.”
Even through Jesus was the Son of God he needed to LEARN to obey the Holy Spirit of God little by little through the trials and temptations that he went through through his entire life. We know that Jesus was tempted in all points just as we are tempted.
Hebrews 2:18 says,
“For in that he HIMSELF has suffered (ask yourself how did Jesus suffer?) being TEMPTED, he is able to succour them (help or aid) them that are tempted.”
Yes we all know Jesus suffered greatly the crucifixion, the death on the cross, but Jesus also suffered BEING TEMPTED. The Spirit of Christ is with us to encourage us by saying, "Hey, I have been where you are now, and I know that it is tough, but you can overcome this, don't give into this temptation or despair. You were not born with a so called NATURE to sin, so don't be deceived by those who say that you are only human, Hey I was human too. I went through the same type of things you are facing and the Holy Spirit strengthen me to overcome these things. The very SAME Holy Spirit live within YOU and is GREATER than the enemy that is in the world. So resist the enemy as I did using God's written word and the enemy will flee from you." If you would like to learn more on the humanity of Jesus please read the in-depth study entitled "JESUS THE SON OF MAN".
I said all of this to drive home the TRUTH that Jesus, as well as ALL of mankind, were born UPRIGHT and are pure in God's eyes from the moment of birth. And to make it clear that Jesus had to LEARN to REFUSE evil and to CHOOSE the good just as all of mankind has to learn to refuse evil and to CHOOSE the good.
Look again at Isaiah 7:16,
“For BEFORE the child shall KNOW to REFUSE the evil and CHOOSE the good...”
You see, there was a time BEFORE Jesus as well as we ourselves knew or had the knowledge to refuse evil and to choose good. Therefore during this time or period in our lives God does not hold us accountable in the same way that he holds us accountable when we become mature adults and have learned the true consequences of choosing evil.
Let us continue to defuse the controversy between those that believe in original sin that states that all men are born sinners and therefore we are sinners from birth, and those that believe that God does not hold babies and children accountable in the same way that he holds us as adults accountable. Those that teach the total depravity of mankind and that we are born as sinners also use the following two scriptures in combination to add more support to their point of view.
“...for the imagination of a man's heart is evil from his youth.”
“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
Now when one sees the word “whether” they generally think that two OPPOSITES are being discussed, such as whether a child's works are good or whether the child's works are evil, where good and evil are opposites.
However, if you look closely at this verse in Proverbs chapter 20 you will find that the doings or works are NOT opposites, but rather they are BOTH the same in nature. Also I want you to notice that the doings of the child is KNOWN as BOTH PURE and RIGHT, and NOT evil and bad as some have falsely taught us to believe.
The Hebrew word that is translated as “whether” here in this verse may also be translated as “though”, “surely”, “yet”, and “verily”, which means truly. So this verse may also read as,
“Even a child is known by his doings, SURELY or truly his work be PURE, and verily or truly it be RIGHT.”
Now as for Genesis 8:21 this verse does not mean that man is born as a sinner, but simply means that from the time a man is young (not an infant) he or she is exposed to the temptations of the enemy, and they are continually vexed with evil thoughts or imaginations, particularly when there is no instruction to do right.
The context where this verse in Genesis chapter 8 is found is talking about right after God destroyed the world by a great floor and only Noah and his family were saved. Evil grew worse and worse and man was sorely vexed as in the day of Sodom and Gomorrah. God looked and saw that mans heart had become evil and had now become evil EVEN from his youth. In other words, it was back then in the days of Noah like it is becoming more and more today where evil and crime that were once only committed by ADULTS are now being committed by younger and younger children each passing day.
You see, the word of God does not teach that man is born evil or totally depraved, but rather the CLEAR word of God teaches that man is born UPRIGHT, then as the child grows his or her thoughts BECOME evil, because they are deceived and led astray by the enemy, by that little voice that comes along side and whispers in their ear to do evil. The surrounds of the child also great effect what the child LEARNS by his of her surroundings. Lot was VEXED by his SURROUNDINGS of Sodom and Gomorrah continually the Bible says and there is no doubt in my mind that many in Sodom and Gomorrah BECAME to be homosexuals BECAUSE of their SURROUNDINGS. The Bible also says that a little leaven or false teaching will leaven or spread to the whole lump. In other words, if we entertain or we are exposed to sin long enough, then we will become more complacent and acceptable to sin. And if we continue in this complacency to sin we are more likely to be draw into the sin that surrounds us.
Look at Genesis 6:12 right before the great flood.
“And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had CORRUPTED his way upon the earth.”
The word “corrupt” means to pervert that which is GOOD and to change the ORIGINAL form of, to taint or infect. In other words man is infected with sinful imaginations by the whispering voice of the enemy, Satan. Now a child's doings may seem or appear wrong or sinful in our eyes, but in God's eyes their work is both pure and right, because they have not yet learned to refuse evil and choose the good.
You see, something has to FIRST be GOOD before it can be CORRUPTED. So IF what many of us have been TAUGHT is true, that all mankind is born with the nature of sin, and are sinners from birth, then mankind would have ALREADY been corrupt, and would not have needed to corrupt his ways. However, the CLEAR word of God says that mankind has corrupted his WAY. Therefore man's WAY was GOOD before he CORRUPTED his natural way which he was born with by listening to the voice of the enemy and disobeying God.
Another scripture used by those that teach that all men are born in sin is Ephesians 2:3
“...and were by nature the children of wrath.”
They claim this verse means that all men by their very nature are the children of wrath. In other words, some falsely teach that all men have a sinful nature and they go on to say that we are born with this sinful nature.
Well let us examine this verse more closely and see its' true meaning, again by keeping this verse in its' context. We will start with Ephesians 2:2 which says,
“Wherein in times past you walked according to the course of this world, ACCORDING to the PRINCE of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of DISOBEDIENCE: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others.”
What Paul is saying here is that at some point in every one's life they gave into that evil spirit that works in all the children of disobedience. That is to say, that at some point in our lives, each and every one of us, gave into the temptation that came from Satan to cause us to disobey God and become “children of disobedience”. First of all you have to be at some point in your life in a state of either obedience or a state of innocence where you are not held accountable, BEFORE you can BECOME disobedient.
Now the word “children” here does not literally mean a child, as in youth, but rather means in essence “nature”. The word of God says in 1 John 3:8 says,
“He that commits sin is of the devil;...”
Then in verse 10 we read,
“In this the children of God are manifest (that is to say, are made known), and the children of the devil.”
This short passage is saying that those that do righteousness are righteous and because of their righteous works they are clearly seen or known as the “children” of God, that is to say that they bare the fruit, the characteristics or the nature of God. In the same token those that sin are known or shown to be the “children” of the devil, because they bare the fruit or “nature” of the devil.
So when Ephesians 2:3 says
“...and WERE by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
It does NOT mean that when we were children, as in our youth, that we were born with the nature of sin and therefore were children of wrath. But rather, the true meaning of this verse says that WHEN we allowed the spirit that works against all of mankind to get men to corrupt themselves and disobey God by deceiving us, and we GIVE INTO these temptations and we are found to be living in sin and following the course of this world who's god is Satan, then it was at this time in our lives that we also were children of wrath, because we bore in our behavior at that time WHEN we were living in sin the "NATURE" of the devil even as others who have corrupted themselves by disobeying God.
Those that teach that all men are born with a sinful nature and are sinners from birth also use the following two scriptures to support their view.
1 Corinthians 15:21 and 22
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."
Now on the surface these two verses seem to be saying that death passed upon all men because of one man's sin, and that all of mankind inherited involuntarily a sinful nature because Adam's original sin.
But is this truly what this scripture is saying? Now if this statement were in fact true that we involuntarily INHERITED a sin nature, BECAUSE of, or for the very reason of ONE man's sin and are AUTOMATICALLY made to be sinners at birth, THEN the rest of this same verse must ALSO be true, because how can the first part be true and the last part be false since they say in essence the same thing in comparison.
Let me explain. The first part says that by ONE man's sin death passed upon all men, which those that teach the original sin doctrine state or INTERPRET that this means that all men are born in sin and therefore have a sinful nature and are totally depraved sinners from birth, BECAUSE of ONE man's sin, namely Adam's. And consequently there is nothing we can do about this, because supposedly we are all BORN with this sinful nature and have INHERITED this so called sin nature AUTOMATICALLY.
Now the last part of this SAME passage of scripture says in verse 15 the very next verse,
“...so ALSO is the free gift, For if through the OFFENCE of ONE (Adam's sin) many be dead, MUCH MORE the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by ONE man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many.”
Then in verse 18 we read,
“Therefore as by the offence of ONE judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, EVEN SO by the righteousness of ONE the free gift came UPON ALL MEN unto the justification of life."
So if the first part of this passage that says, “for by ONE man's sin death passed or came upon all men” is to to be interpreted as meaning that all men involuntarily and AUTOMATICALLY inherit a sin nature by being BORN with a sinful NATURE, then the last part ALSO has to be interpreted in the same manner. “EVEN SO (or in the same manner) by the righteousness of ONE the free gift came (or is passed) upon ALL MEN unto the justification of life.” In other words, f one INTERPRETS the first part of this passage of scripture to mean that ALL of mankind are AUTOMATICALLY MADE to be SINNERS by the sin of the ONE man Adam, then one must ALSO interpret the rest of this passage of scripture to mean that ALL of mankind is AUTOMATICALLY MADE to be the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God by the ONE man Jesus Christ.
Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our lord Jesus Christ, that one cannot INTERPRET one part of this verse one way to fit their OWN theology and then interpret the other part another way because it would disagree with their OWN theology. So once again, if the first part of this verse is to be INTERPRETED, as saying because of Adam's sin, then all men are born with a sin nature and thereby are sinners from birth, then the second part must also to be interpreted as by the righteousness of the ONE man,Jesus Christ, then ALL of mankind are made righteous AUTOMATICALLY. In other words ALL men inherit involuntarily the righteousness of God and are AUTOMATICALLY saved, because of the righteousness of one man, Jesus.
Now we know from the rest of the Bible, the WHOLE word of God, that this obviously cannot be true. And likewise from what I have shown you in this study of God's word that the first half of this verse of scripture we are looking at ALSO CANNOT be interpreted the way that those who teach original sin interpret it, BECAUSE this interpretation of ORIGINAL SIN goes against or is contrary to the WHOLE word of God.
Now to me I see that the Bible plainly teaches us that it is death that is PASSED upon ALL men in much the VERY SAME way in which eternal life is PASSED upon mankind. The TRUTH of the matter is that we are given the CHOICE to which INFLUENCE or which VOICE we will OBEY. The word of God clearly shows us this truth in many places. Romans 6:16 plainly states,
"Know you not that to whom you YIELD yourselves servants to OBEY, his servants you are to WHOM you OBEY; whether of sin unto DEATH, or of OBEDIENCE unto righteousness?"
You see, when Adam sinned then Satan became the god of this world. Because of Adam's disobedience, then Satan was allowed to bring death into the WORLD. The verse goes on to say that sin is NOT IMPUTED without the law, but nevertheless death REIGNED or ruled over in the world from Adam to MOSES. So when the law came then mankind got some reprieve so to speak, but the law was just a type or shadow for the perfect solution that was yet to come. To me if those that teach the doctrine of original sin use this verse to demand that death is PASSED upon all men to mean that we are BORN with a sin NATURE and are SINNERS from the moment we are BORN, then we must ALSO use this same verse to teach that being born in sin with a sin nature ENDED with MOSES, because this verse says that death REIGNED or ruled from Adam TO MOSES.
No my dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ the Bible clearly teaches that we are NOT born with a sin nature as some teach by the false doctrine of original sin. The verses used to support this false doctrine are misinterpreted, taken out of context, and sometimes even twisted by using only PART of the verse to fit the theology of those that teach the FALSE doctrine of original sin.
The Bible teaches that we are born upright, pure and right, and then we are drawn away by the adversary the devil and deceived into disobeying God.
The word of God teaches that any disobedience against God is sin. Therefore by disobeying God we ourselves henceforth CHANGE our natural nature that is pure and right into a nature that is unnatural to us from birth.
As I said before, we are known by the fruit we bear, henceforth we are sinners, because we willfully choose to sin, and are NOT born as sinners with a sin nature as some teach. When we refuse to keep or retain God in our lives and willfully choose to sin, THEN it is at this time that we go against our nature and the NATURAL use of how God made us.
Look at Romans 1:25-32
“Who CHANGED the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. For this cause God gave them up to vile affections; for even their women did CHANGE the NATURAL use into that which is AGAINST NATURE:”
In other words, they themselves CHANGED that which was their ORIGINAL NATURE in which they were BORN, and in which God created in them and THEN they themselves made their GOOD and PURE and UPRIGHT NATURE in which they were BORN with to become UNNATURAL. That is to say against the way they were BORN by NATURE and again the way God made them was pure and upright. In other words they THEMSELVES perverted and corrupted their original NATURE that they were born with.
Now I know that it is easier to BLAME being born with a sin nature, than it is to endure SOUND doctrine and place the blame where it belongs, upon our self. I have heard homosexuals say that they were BORN that way and there is nothing that they can do about it. But the WORD of God says that they are DECEIVED into believing a lie to leave the NATURAL use of their body, the way that they were BORN, BOTH PURE and UPRIGHT, because they did not want to retain God in their knowledge.
“And likewise also the men, LEAVING the NATURAL use of the women, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemingly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with ALL unrighteousness, fornication,wickedness,covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of god, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without NATURAL affection, implacable, unmerciful.
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which COMMIT such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but have pleasure in them that do them.”
God did not create us with a sinful NATURE nor did we inherit a sinful NATURE because of Adam's original sin. We are NOT born sinners, NOR are we born with a sinful nature. The Bible does not teach this. It is AGAINST our NATURE to sin. So if you are wrestling with the lies of the enemy of your soul that is trying to convince you that you were BORN a homosexual, then I want to encourage you to fight and RESIST these lies of the devil and put your trust in God's word that teaches us that sin shall NOT have dominion over you. Please understand that I am not single out those that are wrestling with the sin of homosexuality, but rather I am speaking to all of mankind that is wrestling with sinful desires that the enemy is trying to convince you that this is just your NATURE and who you are so stop trying to fight it. The devil knows that if he can get you to stop RESISTING his lies, then he can KEEP you under his bondage living in sin. You do NOT have a NATURE to SIN. This is a LIE of the enemy Satan the devil.
In fact, that which is NATURAL for us, is to do good and work the works of righteousness. Please look at the next chapter in Romans 2:14,15 which says,
“For the Gentiles, which have NOT the law, do by NATURE the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their CONSCIENCE also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”
The Gentiles were considered by the Jews to be sinners, but this verse says that even without the written law that was given to the Jews that the Gentiles by their very NATURE obeyed what was in the law of God. This fact that we by our very own nature try to obey God and that we have a CONSCIENCE that compels us to do good and refuse the evil clearly shows us that we are NOT born with original sin and are sinners at birth as some have falsely taught us.
This false doctrine of original sin was not taught by the disciples and the early church or the first century. In fact this FALSE doctrine of original sin did not enter the picture until around the third century, and then it was NOT generally and widely accepted among church leaders until the fifth century, when it mas made a dogma of the Catholic church.
And those of you who know a little of church history, know that the church leaders made the doctrines and the members blindly followed. The general congregation back then did not have the opportunity to search out the TRUTH as we do today. It was the CLERGY that told the people what they were to believe and not believe during this time in history when Catholicism seemed to dominate the church. So I encourage you not to waste your freedom that you have been blessed with in today's world to search the word daily to see if what you are being taught is in fact the TRUTH of God's word by continuing to BLINDLY follow the doctrines and commandments of MEN. But rather I exhort you to be like the men at Berea that we read about in the books of Acts who searched the word of God daily to see if what they were being taught was the TRUTH of God's word. May God bless you richly as you seek the TRUTH of his Holy word.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Always and forever,
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