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The Age of Accountability

Daily Reading: Romans 7

Scripture Focus: I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. (Romans 7.9)

Devotional Thought: As a young lad of 14, I entered "newness of life" when I was adopted. Today, I want to go back a few more years in my childhood to discover another important spiritual reality. It's reflected in Paul's claim: "I was once alive apart from the law..." What does that mean? Paul remembered that he, as a young lad, had lived in a state of innocence. The Psalmist had written centuries before, "You [God] made me trust you at my mother's breasts. On you I was cast from my birth" (Psalm 22.6-11).

Paul and the Psalmist both allude to the fact that young children - before "the age of accountability" - are covered by the grace of God and stand guiltless before the Lord, "alive apart from the law." Children who die in this state - even though they have not been saved and baptized - are still "redeemed by the blood of the Lamb."

How do the innocent become guilty? The blameless become culpable? Paul said, "When the commandment came, sin came alive and I died." That is the age of accountability. This does not mean a child does not sin before that time. Anyone who has had a two year old knows that! God does not hold a child accountable for things they do not understand to be sinful. When a person realizes, however, that he or she stands responsible before God - when the commandment comes - at that moment, sin becomes a reality in their life, and spiritual death comes.

But, thanks be to God, a child, a teenager or an adult can confess their sins, and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the grace of God that covers our sins! Thank you, that even as small children, your grace covers us. Help us, O Lord, when we come to realize sin in our lives, to confess it and to receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ the Righteous One. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 19.1-6

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

2 Day to day pours out speech,

and night to night reveals knowledge.

3 There is no speech, nor are there words,

whose voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tent for the sun,

5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,

and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.

6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,

and its circuit to the end of them,

and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

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